Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr and Al-Shabab reach semifinals of King Salman Cup – Arab News
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr and Al-Shabab qualified for the semifinals of the King Salman Cup for Arab Clubs on Sunday, after defeating Morocco’s Raja Casablanca and the UAE’s Al-Wehda respectively.
Al-Nassr defeated Raja 3-1 in Abha, while Al-Shabab won 5-4 against Al-Wehda on penalties, after the match ended in a goalless draw.
Al-Nassr’s goals were scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, Sultan Al-Ghanam and Seko Fofana, while Raja’s Abdullah Mado was responsible for an own goal.
In the semifinals on Wednesday, Iraq’s Al-Shorta will meet Al-Nassr in Abha and the two Saudi Arabia clubs, Al-Hilal and Al-Shabab, clash in Taif.
Whitewashed in each of their last five test tours of Australia, optimism will be in short supply for Pakistan ahead of a three-match series starting in Perth next week, with new captain Shan Masood’s task made even more difficult by a depleted bowling corps.
The last time Pakistan won a test Down Under was in late 1995 when nearly half of the current side were not even born, and in Pat Cummins-led Australia they face the reigning world test champions.
Pakistan’s unpredictability means they can never be ruled out but their chaotic buildup to the series makes the tourists tough to back in Australia.
Masood inherited the test captaincy from Babar Azam, who stepped down as all-formats skipper last month in the wake of their failure to make the semifinals of the 50-overs World Cup in India.
Pakistan were not exactly spoiled for choice for the role but in Masood they have a level-headed leader who can shoulder the burden of the test captaincy while allowing Babar to focus solely on being the team’s batting bulwark.
A major concern for Pakistan is their bowling unit, which is usually their strong suit.
Pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi has not looked the same since returning from a knee injury and is a lesser force without Naseem Shah, recovering from a shoulder injury, operating from the other end.
Pakistan could do with the rapid pace of Haris Rauf but he has declined an offer to be part of the test squad — the limited-overs specialist opting instead to play in Australia’s franchise-based Big Bash League.
Masood has asked for 400-plus totals from his batters but that will not be easy on lively Australian pitches against the likes of Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
“It’s the pace and bounce in Australia, along with their pace attack and Nathan Lyon, which you want to get used to and put under pressure from the word go because they’ve dominated world cricket for a while,” Masood said.
The Pakistan captain will hope to have set the tone for their tour with an unbeaten double hundred in the ongoing tour match in Canberra.
All of a sudden cricket has been impacted by an outbreak of controversies. Amongst them have been a fierce dispute between former colleagues in the Australian men’s team, the loss of free-to-air viewing rights in Australia and the appointment of a disgraced Pakistani cricketer as an advisor on national selection.
On Dec. 4, the International Cricket Council announced that Amazon Prime had been awarded the broadcast rights in Australia for all ICC tournaments for the next four years, starting on Jan. 1, 2024.
This means that Australian cricket fans will need to have a Prime Video subscription if they wish to watch Australia’s men’s and women’s teams playing in ICC competitions, including Under-19 World Cup events. There are 11 of them up to the end of 2027. None of the tournaments will be held in Australia. This has provided an opportunity for the ICC and Amazon Prime to avoid so-called Australian anti-siphoning rules.
Unsurprisingly, the establishment of a paywall has been greeted with outrage. The CEO of Free TV Australia, the industry body which represents all free-to-air Australian TV networks, condemned the move, saying that “all Australians deserve the right to share our great sporting moments for free, and that right is in serious jeopardy.”
That view seems to be shared by the federal communications minister, Michelle Rowland, who has recently introduced a bill to parliament that updates anti-siphoning laws. Once in law, free-to-air services must be offered first refusal for important sporting events.
This measure may not go far enough. The Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice, as the anti-siphoning legislation is known, was first introduced in 1992 when the concern was related to subscription TV securing sports rights. The protective provisions apply to senior Australian cricket teams playing in Test, one day and T20 matches in Australia, New Zealand and the UK between Australia and England. Discussion has been reawakened as to whether this geographical coverage should or can be expanded.
It is too late for the timescale of the ICC/Prime deal. Social media comments have been quick to blame the minister and Cricket Australia for this to happen. Neither has any involvement or power in the broadcast deals which the ICC arranges. However, the introduction of Prime, as the fourth major broadcaster of cricket in Australia and the first which is entirely on-line, has added to the melange of cricket viewing options for Australian audiences.
They have been used to a 15-year long joint venture for ICC tournaments between Foxtel and Channel Nine, which ended with this years ODI Final. Cricket Australia’s domestic broadcast rights have been held by a partnership between free-to-air broadcaster Seven and pay TV channel Foxtel since 2018, when Channel Nine lost out after forty years of dominance. A new seven-year domestic rights deal was signed in January 2023 by Seven and Foxtel.
They, along with Foxtel’s video streaming subscription service, Kayo, will broadcast Australian men’s Tests and all women’s internationals on home soil. They will also show both the men’s and women’s Big Bash. Fox Cricket and Kayo broadcast Australian men’s limited-overs internationals on home soil, non-Ashes Australian men’s internationals and women’s outside of Australia.
The once dominant Channel Nine has the rights to broadcast the England v Australia Ashes series scheduled to played in England in 2027 and 2031. Domestic men’s and women’s competitions are broadcast by Cricket Australia’s Live app and, with selected matches shown on Fox and Kayo. At least for the next four years, the broadcasting landscape for Australian audiences looks stable if not wholly acceptable, given the new loss of free-to-air.
This means that audiences will have to pay for all international limited-overs cricket played by Australia’s men’s and women’s teams. The next ICC event scheduled to be hosted in Australia is the T20 World Cup in 2028, after the timeframe of the Amazon deal. The battle is on to preserve an Australian way of life — the opportunity for all to enjoy free TV coverage of iconic sporting events,
Alongside this development, two former colleagues in the Australian men’s team have locked horns. Mitchell Johnson, who retired in November 2015, has criticized the decision of opening batter David Warner to choreograph his retirement. Warner announced his plans on June 3, 2022, targeting the third test against Pakistan in Sydney in January as his Test swansong.
Johnson thinks it wrong that a player can attempt to influence team selectors in this way. He argues that Warner’s recent performances do not justify his selection. Furthermore, Johnson has rekindled the tensions over Warner’s involvement in a ball-tampering incident in South Africa in 2018 over which Johnson feels that Warner displayed insufficient contrition.
Current colleagues have come to Warner’s defense and former players have commented that the affair paints a bad image for Australian cricket. Johnson also criticized the chair of selectors for being too close to the players, implying that this is a contributory factor to Warner’s continuing presence in the team. When Warner made his original announcement, it did appear to be rather presumptuous. Johnson has a point, but he could have expressed it in a less vituperative manner. It seems that he may have been prompted into action by a text which he received from Warner on another issue.
In Pakistan, those who replaced the leaders of the men’s team in the 2023 World Cup caused an embarrassment by appointing a former captain, Salman Butt, as a selection consultant. Butt received a five-year ban from cricket and served a seven-month prison sentence for spot-fixing in Test in 2010. A wave of criticism from commentators, journalists and ex-players, caused the chief selector to reverse his poorly judged appointment after one day.
Two of the three controversies are not good for the image of two countries — Australia and Pakistan. Whether the ICC’s broadcasting rights deal will damage its image will take longer to be emerge. No doubt, the ICC will be happy with the undisclosed funds it has generated, but incurring the wrath of Australians, seemingly without consultation, may have unintended consequences.
DUBAI: The FIA has confirmed its choice of suppliers for the Gen4 race car set to debut in season 13 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in 2026-2027.
Formula E is just nine seasons old, having debuted in 2014, but the on-track technology has undergone revolutionary changes.
The tender process saw Formula E and the FIA evaluate bidders on various technical specifications. As with the Gen3, the Gen4’s process saw sustainability take centerstage, covering emissions and resource consumption. Gen4 will be a net-zero race car by design, like its predecessor.
Spark Racing Technology will continue to supply the chassis to Formula E, as it has done since inception.
Podium AT, an Italian company, will become an FIA World Championship single supplier of batteries for the first time.
Marelli will provide front powertrain, extending the Italian brand’s longstanding relationship with the FIA. Bridgestone will provide the tires, marking the manufacturer’s return to an FIA World Championship for the first time in 15 years.
Season nine saw Formula E’s third great leap and the introduction to the Gen3 era, with the new car previewed and launched at the 2022 Monaco E-Prix and hitting the track for the first time in Valencia, at testing, later that year.
The Gen3 is lighter, smaller, faster and more sustainable than previous cars, and incorporates a number of cutting-edge features. It is also the most efficient race car on the planet, with almost 50 percent of the energy it expends recaptured for use through the rear and a new front powertrain, for up to 600 kilowatts total regeneration.
Before the Gen4 debut, the Gen3.5 will hit the track in seasons 11 and 12.
Activation of the front powertrain in drive and use of four-wheel drive in certain scenarios, softer compound, and bodywork tweaks are all on the table as possibilities — with lap times projected to be several seconds faster than is currently possible with Gen3.
SYDNEY: Cameron Bancroft hit 53 and Marcus Harris 49 against Pakistan Thursday in their quest to become Australia’s new Test opener, but neither was able to push on and make a big score.
They helped the Prime Minister’s XI reach 149-2 at stumps in Canberra to trail by 242 in Pakistan’s only warm-up match before the three-Test series starting in Perth next week.
The visitors declared at 391-9 after captain Shan Masood completed a double century, having resumed day two of the four-day game at Manuka Oval on 156, smashing 14 fours and six in his 201 not out.
South Australian quick Jordan Buckingham took 5-80.
Billed as a “bat-off” to replace David Warner, Bancroft and Harris got the nod to open ahead of Matt Renshaw, who is also a contender to fill the void left by the veteran when he retires.
Warner has indicated he plans to quit the longer format after the third Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January, his home venue.
Bancroft, best known for his role in the notorious “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal in 2018, was patient in building a half-century before he was trapped lbw by Khurram Shahzad.
Harris, who has been in and around the Test side since his debut in 2018, fell short of his 50 when caught by Shahzad at mid-off from the spin of Abrar Ahmed.
Renshaw was not out 18 and Cameron Green was unbeaten on 19.
DUBAI: Ahead of the 35th edition of the 2024 Hero Dubai Desert Classic, organizers have confirmed that the Junior Dubai Desert Classic will return in January for a second time, to help young golfers in the UAE and beyond gain competitive experience.
Hosted by Hero Dubai Desert Classic in collaboration with Emirates Golf Federation, registration is now open for the 2024 tournament which will take place on Jan. 13 and 14 at Emirates Golf Club.
The first event took place this year, which saw Briton Joe Jones take the title by two strokes.
The youth tournament, open to players aged 18 and under, will take place just a few days before golf’s top stars compete in the senior event from Jan. 18 to 21.
As part of the 36-hole tournament, golf’s young amateurs will each play one round on the famed Faldo and Majlis courses, with access to the driving range, locker rooms and lounges.
Simon Corkill, executive tournament director of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, said: “The game of golf is growing at a rapid pace across the globe, and it’s no different in the Middle East region with a large number of young players taking to the courses every week.
“As organizers of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, we are committed to nurturing young talent and developing the sport’s stars of tomorrow regularly and the 2024 Junior Dubai Desert Classic reaffirms this. Not only can juniors look forward to a unique opportunity of playing in world-class facilities in a professional-like tournament setting at the Emirates Golf Club but playing against the best young talents in the region will help their game to the next level.”
Organizers have confirmed the winning player will enjoy a range of exclusive prizes, including invites to the Faldo Series Grand Final 2024 and the Shubhankar Sharma Junior Invitational Final 2024.







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