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Cricket cracker to hammer blow




The Asian Games wrapped up on Sunday after two weeks of thrilling sporting highs and lows in Hangzhou.

AFP Sport highlights five memorable moments from the Olympic-sized event, which features 12,000 athletes in 40 sports across 54 venues:


Nepal became the first men’s team to score more than 300 runs in T20 international cricket as they rewrote the record books against part-timers Mongolia.

They bludgeoned 314-3 in their 20 overs, beating the previous highest of 278-3 by Afghanistan against Ireland in 2019.

Teenager Kushal Malla crashed the fastest T20 international century, off 34 balls, and ended up 137 not out off 50.

Dipendra Singh Airee finished the innings in ridiculous fashion. He raced to his fifty off nine balls, another T20 world record, with eight sixes.

Nepal’s 26 sixes were also the most scored in a T20 innings.


ESports made its debut as a medal event at the Asian Games — a key step that could lead to inclusion in the Olympics.

Audiences of overwhelmingly young spectators packed out a 4,500-capacity arena in the hope of catching one of their heroes, with the most popular undoubtedly South Korea’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.

China made history with the first eSports gold, beating Malaysia in the smartphone game Arena of Valor.

“The audience who loves eSports and the veterans in the eSports industry have been looking forward to this for a long time,” said China’s captain Luo Siyuan.

South Korea’s red-faced rollerskater Jung Cheol-won had nowhere to hide after coasting into an early celebration, a “big mistake” that cost gold.


As Jung, the anchor in the 3,000m relay, raised his arms to celebrate, Taiwan’s Huang Yu-lin lunged his skate forward to cross the line first by one-hundredth of a second for what he called a “miracle” victory.

“While you were celebrating, I was still fighting,” said Huang.

“I made a rather big mistake,” said a sheepish Jung. “I am very sorry. I apologise to my teammates and to our fans who supported us. It’s all my fault.”

China’s Wu Yanni went into the women’s 100m hurdles final as one of the favourites in front of a packed home stadium on the country’s national day.

But a false start earned her a red card that she furiously protested, along with India’s Jyothi Yarraji, who was also ejected for reacting to Wu and moving before the gun.


Both hurdlers were eventually allowed to race, with Wu finishing second behind teammate Lin Yuwei and Yarraji coming third.

Wu was then disqualified long after the celebrations in the stadium had ended, with Yarraji upgraded to silver.

“It’s completely messy,” said Yarraji.

An athletics official suffered a broken leg after being hit by a hammer hurled during competition by Kuwait’s Ali Zankawi.

Huang Qinghua was sitting on a chair outside the throwing circle when Zankawi aborted his attempt, with his 7.26kg (16lb) hammer flying into the protective netting and smashing into the official’s right leg.


Huang was carried out of the arena on a stretcher and had surgery in hospital.

Zankawi visited the unfortunate Huang the next day in hospital to apologise.

“Thank god the hammer hit the ground before it hit his leg,” told AFP.

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Haris Rauf’s BBL participation uncertain as PCB delays NOC: report




Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf’s participation in the Big Bash League 2023-24 is met with a potential hurdle as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to delay the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required for his engagement in the league.

According to ESPNCricinfo, Rauf’s NOC is likely to face a delay until at least December 11, just four days after the start of the BBL. There is no confirmation of an immediate issuance thereafter.

The explanation for the delay revolves around the ongoing National T20 Cup in Pakistan, scheduled until December 10, which the PCB expects Haris Rauf to fully engage in.


Last week, Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s recently appointed chief selector, disclosed that Rauf had declined participation in Pakistan’s Test series in Australia scheduled for December-January.

Wahab openly expressed his displeasure at Rauf’s decision, with both sides differing on the events leading up to this point. Reportedly, the 30-year-old cited his inexperience in Test cricket as the reason for not agreeing to play in Australia. Rauf conveyed to Wahab that focusing on his white-ball game and fitness would be more beneficial.

Rauf’s potential absence from the BBL could raise concerns, especially for Melbourne Stars, who had enlisted him as a key player. Initially, it was expected that Rauf would only miss the BBL during Pakistan’s five-match T20 series in New Zealand in mid-January. However, further delays may disrupt the league’s plans.

Melbourne Stars had introduced special memberships named “House of Rauf” for the initial three games at the MCG this year, along with a dedicated seating zone called Haris Rauf Bay.

Ongoing delays in Rauf’s NOC issuance may raise concerns among Pakistan’s centrally contracted players in general. Two more players, Usama Mir (Melbourne Stars) and Zaman Khan (Sydney Thunder), are also selected for the league.


Contract discussions between the PCB and the players faced obstacles, partly due to disagreements over the number of foreign leagues players could participate in annually. They seem to have settled on a limit of two leagues, contingent on the PCB issuing an NOC for participation.

The BBL is set to start from December 7, 2023, to January 24 2024.