Brazil beats Cameroon 4-1 to reach knockout round

Brazil

BRAZILIA: Neymar scored twice in the first half to lead Brazil to a 4-1 win over Cameroon on Monday, helping the hosts secure a spot in the second round of the World Cup.

Fred and Fernandinho added second-half goals for Brazil, which advanced from Group A.

Neymar opened the scoring off a low cross by midfielder Luiz Gustavo in the 17th minute, deftly side-footing the ball home from close range, then restored the lead with a low right-foot strike from the top of the penalty area in the 35th after a pass by left back Marcelo.

Midfielder Joel Matip had equalized for already eliminated Cameroon with a tap-in from inside the area in the 26th.

Fred found the net in the 49th and the substitute Fernandinho struck in the 84th.

 

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De Kock shines again but rain washes out third ODI

PRETORIA: Quinton de Kock became the fifth batsman to hit three centuries in three one-day internationals, but persistent rain at Centurion forced the third and final match of the series between South Africa and India to be abandoned on Wednesday.

De Kock followed up his 135 and 106 in the first two games by hitting 101, while AB de Villiers hammered 109 as South Africa posted 301-8.

However the rain swept in during the innings break and the players were unable to take the field for India’s reply, leaving South Africa to settle for a 2-0 series victory.

The 20-year-old De Kock’s innings made him the first wicketkeeper to achieve the feat of three tons in as many games, and also gave him the record for most runs in a three-match bilateral series.

While his first two centuries in the series had been breezy affairs, De Kock faced a more challenging situation on Wednesday after Ishant Sharma (4-40) claimed two early wickets to reduce the hosts to 28-3.

The left-hander dug in admirably alongside his captain De Villiers – and enjoyed some fortune when he was dropped on 37 and 43 – as the pair added 171 for the fourth wicket to put South Africa back in charge.

De Kock passed the 330 runs by New Zealand’s Martin Guptill in a three-match series against England this year, and joined Zaheer Abbas (1982), Saeed Anwar (1993), Herschelle Gibbs (2002) and De Villiers (2010) on the list of batsmen to score three one-day hundreds in a row.

Sharma ended the knock when he bowled De Kock with a slower ball, but he could not stop South Africa from taking 45 runs in the batting powerplay.

De Villiers struck five sixes in his 101-ball innings, and after he was trapped lbw by Umesh Yadav, David Miller took over the six-hitting responsibilities.

Miller struck three sixes in his unbeaten 56 off just 34 deliveries, as a couple of late wickets for Mohammed Shami (3-69) failed to prevent South Africa from reaching the 300-run mark.

That put South Africa in a strong position to record a series whitewash, but the inclement weather ensured it was not afforded the opportunity to do so.

The two teams now turn their attention to the two-match test series, which gets underway at the Wanderers next Wednesday.

Arsenal revival continues, Liverpool make it two

LONDON: Lukas Podolski claimed a brace as Arsenal kicked their Premier League campaign into gear on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Fulham at a sodden Craven Cottage.

Arsene Wenger’s side were beaten at home by Aston Villa on the season’s opening day, but they beat Fenerbahce 3-0 in mid-week in the first leg of their Champions League play-off and carried that momentum into Saturday’s game.

Heavy downpours in west London made for a saturated playing surface, but it did not stop Arsenal taking the lead in the 14th minute when Olivier Giroud gathered a low shot from Aaron Ramsey and stabbed the ball past Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale.

Podolski made it 2-0 four minutes before half-time when he side-footed home after Stockdale saved from Theo Walcott, and the Germany forward sealed victory in the 68th minute by gathering a pass from Santi Cazorla and arrowing a shot into the bottom-right corner.

Darren Bent pulled one back for the hosts in the 77th minute, tapping in a low cross from Dimitar Berbatov to mark his debut with a goal following his loan move from Villa.

“It’s never easy to play away or win away and we did it in a convincing way,” Arsenal manager Wenger told BT Sport.

“We had a disappointing result against Villa and it was important to respond, and we’ve had two convincing wins, first against Fenerbahce and again today here.”

In-form striker Daniel Sturridge scored his eighth goal in his last seven league games to give Liverpool a 1-0 victory over Villa at Villa Park.

The England international had scored the only goal of the game in Liverpool’s opening 1-0 win over Stoke City and he repeated the trick with a neatly taken 21st-minute effort.

Jose Enrique’s drilled pass from the left was dummied by Philippe Coutinho and Sturridge slipped between a pair of Villa defenders before rounding goalkeeper Brad Guzan and poking the ball into the roof of the net.

Villa’s best chance of an equaliser fell to Christian Benteke late on, but the Belgian’s well-struck half-volley drew a fine full-length save from Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

“Second half, of course you expect a wee bit more pressure from them, and Simon made a couple of terrific saves. It was about the three points today and we got the three,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports.

“Since January we’ve been getting better and better. We’ll play better than we did today, but what’s important now is that the mentality in the group is to win, and win together.

“It’s only the first couple of games, but we’ve shown a lot of really good signs and we just need to keep it going.”

Elsewhere, Stoke came from behind to deny promoted Crystal Palace their first points of the season with a 2-1 win at the Britannia Stadium. Marouane Chamakh side-stepped Robert Huth to put Palace ahead in the 31st minute with his first league goal since September 2011, but two goals in four second-half minutes from Charlie Adam and Ryan Shawcross gave Stoke the points in manager Mark Hughes’s first home game.

Hull City fared rather better than their fellow promoted side, with Robbie Brady’s 22nd-minute penalty enough to secure a 1-0 win at home to Norwich City despite new signing Yannick Sagbo’s first-half red card for an off-the-ball tussle with Russell Martin.

“The boy was silly – it was a rush of blood,” said Hull manager Steve Bruce.

“He’s done something stupid, but we have got away with it today.” An 88th-minute goal from centre-back Jose Fonte earned Southampton a 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland, who had taken a third-minute lead with a header from former Juventus midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez had to content himself with a 0-0 draw in his first competitive home game, as West Bromwich Albion claimed a point at Goodison Park in the absence of striker Nicolas Anelka, who is on compassionate leave following a personal bereavement.

“We had the chances to win the game, we deserved a win and we deserved three points. We were magnificent off the ball,” said Martinez.

Newcastle United once again left Arsenal target Yohan Cabaye out of their squad as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to West Ham United.

On Sunday, Manchester City visit Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur host Swansea City, before the first major head-to-head of the campaign on Monday, when Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea travel to champions Manchester United.

Shehzad, Hafeez heroics give Pakistan series win over Zimbabwe

HARARE: Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez shared a 143-run partnership with Ahmed Shehzad and then took three crucial wickets to set up a 19-run win over Zimbabwe in the second Twenty20 international on Saturday, clinching a 2-0 series win for the tourists.

Zimbabwe finished on 160-6 in 20 overs chasing Pakistan’s 179-1.

Shehzad hit 98 not out and Hafeez an unbeaten 54 for the bulk of Pakistan’s total, with their 143-run stand for the second wicket coming off just 86 balls as Zimbabwe’s bowlers were battered for the 14 overs the pair were together.

Hafeez also made a key contribution with the ball to claim the first three Zimbabwe wickets with his offspin, including top-scorer Hamilton Masakadza for 41. Elton Chigumbura hit 35 not out from 19 balls at the end in a losing effort for Zimbabwe, which got slightly closer than the first game on Friday, when the hosts lost by 25 runs.

Zulfiqar Babar took 2-21 to back up Hafeez’s three wickets for Pakistan.

Shehzad won the man of the match and man of the series awards after his second straight half-century of the series.

The opener’s 98 on Saturday came off just 64 balls and he just missed out on a maiden T20 century after needing three runs off the last ball of the innings to go to three figures. He only managed a single having already smashed six fours and six sixes in his brutal knock.

Hafeez’s half-century was off 40 deliveries and the pair carved Zimbabwe’s attack apart from the sixth over after Nasir Jamshed was out for 23 and Pakistan was 36-1.

Seamer Shingirai Masakadza was the only wicket taker with 1-42 and six of Zimbabwe’s seven bowlers went for more than seven runs an over.

Shehzad clubbed sixes in the 19th and 20th overs to race toward his century but was thwarted right at the end when, on 97, he could only clip the ball to midwicket for a single. Pakistan still had enough.

Zimbabwe openers Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza shared a 50-run opening stand, but Hafeez removed Sibanda, captain Brendan Taylor and Masakadza in the space of 45 runs to dent Zimbabwe’s hopes.

Babar dismissed Sean Williams and Timycen Maruma in the space of three balls to leave Zimbabwe reeling at 104-5 and the home team couldn’t recover despite Chigumbura’s two fours and two sixes near the end. The countries also will contest three one-day internationals and two tests on the three-week tour.

Afridi urges fans to appreciate Pakistan’s win over Windies

KARACHI: All-rounder Shahid Afridi Thursday urged Pakistan to savour their one-day and Twenty20 wins over the West Indies and forget allegations of fixing.

Pakistan beat the West Indies 3-1 in the five-match one-day series, and clinched both the Twenty20s on the tour which finished on Sunday.

But the wins were clouded by controversy after British newspaper The Mail on Sunday claimed the one-day matches could be investigated by the sport’s international anti-corruption unit.

Asked about the claims, Afridi said: “I don’t know about any allegations, but I would say ‘Savour the win when you have done well and forget any other thing’.”

Team manager Naveed Cheema denied the allegations.

“These are baseless allegations and anyone can investigate,” said Cheema.

“The discipline of the players was exemplary and that showed on the results.”

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal also urged people to give Pakistan credit.

“Sometimes they must appreciate us,” he said. “Why people take our wins lightly and allege strongly is unfathomable.”

Pakistani cricket has an unenviable history of corruption and fixing. Three international players served jail terms in England for arranging no-balls to order during the Lord’s Test of 2010.

Afridi said Pakistan’s wins were much-needed after a lacklustre tour of South Africa and a poor Champions Trophy performance earlier in the year.

Pakistan lost all three Tests and the one-day series 3-2 in South Africa.

They crashed out of the first round of the Trophy after losing all three group matches.

“This win was very much needed after what happened in South Africa and England and I am sure this will go a long way in improving the image of the team and the players,” said Afridi, who became the first batsman to hit 400 international sixes.

Pakistan next tour Zimbabwe in August where they play two T20s, three one-dayers and two Tests.

Pakistan triumph over Windies to clinch T20 series

KINGSTOWN: Pakistan held off a desperate late surge by the West Indies to take the second and final Twenty20 international by 11 runs at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent on Sunday.

In restricting the hosts to 124 for nine in reply to their total of 135 for seven, the tourists took the series 2-0 and moved up to second in the international rankings behind Sri Lanka.

West Indies, the world T20 champions, dropped to fourth in what was yet another setback following hard on the heels of the 3-1 loss to the Pakistanis in the preceding one-day international series.

“It was a tough tour and credit must be given to everyone associated with the squad for the success that we have enjoyed here,” said a delighted Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez, who also played a key role with the ball in dismissing the dangerous but out-of-form Chris Gayle cheaply for the second time in two days.

“When we saw the pitch, we knew, with our four spinners, that any total of 135-140 would have given us a chance, and so it worked out.”

An unbeaten 46 by man of the match Umar Akmal and 44 from opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad paced Pakistan to a total that was always going to be challenging on a slow, turning surface ideally suited to the sub-continental team.

Spinners Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree shared five wickets for the West Indies in what would prove to be an ominous precursor of the task the home side had to face in the quest to get a share of the honours.

After looking dead and buried at 17 for four though, the Caribbean side fought back through the middle of their innings thanks to a battling top score of 35 from Dwayne Bravo and an aggressive 28 from Sunil Narine.

However it was Kieron Pollard who brought the match back to life in a pivotal 17th over bowled by Zulfiqar Babar that featured spectacular hitting before the left-arm spinner effectively decided the fate of the match with two wickets in two balls.

Pollard launched two mighty sixes and drilled two fours off the first four deliveries, further enlivening an already boisterous crowd as they sensed the possibility of a miraculous victory.

But Zulfiqar held his nerve and the big-hitter’s attack could not be sustained.

He sliced a catch to deep cover and off the next delivery, Bravo also swung hopefully to be snared at wide long-off.

After his sensational debut in the first match on Saturday when he took three wickets and then hit a six to win the match off the final ball, Zulfiqar was the deserving man of the series as he also contributed useful scores of 14 and 11, both unbeaten, in the two matches.

Any flickering hope that the West Indies had of getting to the target was effectively extinguished in the next over, although there was still more drama.

Captain Darren Sammy heaved at Saeed Ajmal and skied a straightforward catch that was floored in a collision between the bowler and the advancing wicketkeeper Akmal.

His luck ran out three balls later when attempting again to clear the boundary and Shahid Afridi took the catch at long-off.

“When Asian teams come to the Caribbean, maybe we shouldn’t be giving them these types of wickets,” said a disappointed Sammy in reflecting on the pitches not only for the T20s but also for the preceding ODIs in Guyana and St Lucia.

“It suited them more than it helped us. At the end of the day though, they played the better cricket.”

Tino Best blasted a couple of sixes that still kept the West Indian faithful hoping against hope.

But left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir, whose early burst accounted for Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels to catches at the wicket, ensured that Pakistan did not completely fall apart in the final over of the match.

Teams:

West Indies – D. Sammy (captain), C. Gayle, J. Charles, M. Samuels, L. Simmons, D.J. Bravo, K. Pollard, D. Sammy, C. Barnwell, S. Narine, T. Best.

Pakistan – Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Hammad Azam, Umar Amin, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Asad Ali.

Umpires: G Brathwaite and J Wilson

TV umpire: P Nero

Match referee: D Boon

Reserve umpire: D Butler

Shahid Afridi, Babar heroics seal thrilling win for Pakistan

KINGSTOWN: Thirty-four-year debutant Zulfiqar Babar took three key wickets then struck a six off the final ball of the match to give Pakistan a two-wicket victory over West Indies in the first Twenty20 international on Saturday.

Babar dismissed Marlon Samuels (25), Lendl Simmons (6) and Dwayne Bravo (25) to finish with three for 23 from his four overs in West Indies’ 152 for seven at Arnos Vale Ground in St Vincent.

The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals in their run-chase but were always up with the required rate and, with the scores tied and one ball to go, Babar launched Samuels over the mid-off boundary to seal the win.

Kieron Pollard (49 not out) showed a welcome return to form as he anchored the West Indies innings after they had won the toss and elected to bat.

Pakistan lost early wickets in their reply, but Umar Amin, also playing his first T20 international, smashed 47 in 34 balls before he was stumped off the bowling of Samuels.

Shahid Afridi took Pakistan close, scoring 46 from just 27 deliveries, including launching his 400th six in all international cricket.

With Pakistan needing six off the last over, Samuels took his team to the brink of a super over, before bowling a full toss that Babar smashed for six from the final delivery.

“It was a great effort from the players, I was really happy to see the desire to win and really happy with the contributions of the debutants and Shahid Afridi. It was a tough chase, we had to be positive,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said.

The second and final match of the series will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

Teams:

West Indies: D. Sammy (captain), C. Gayle, J. Charles, M. Samuels, L. Simmons, D.J. Bravo, K. Pollard, D. Sammy, S. Narine, T. Best, S. Gabriel.

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Hammad Azam, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan.

Umpires: G Brathwaite and P Nero TV umpire: J Wilson Match referee: D Boon Reserve umpire: D Butler