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The moment one steps inside the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, it becomes obvious that one is in a cricket-mad nation.Hanging from the ceiling is a huge red banner that reads “20 times the welcome”, followed by the flags of the participating nations and the West Indies Cricket Board and Cricket Ireland.The ICC World Twenty20 that begins on Tuesday is indeed the flavour of the island nation, and cardboard cut-outs of the Sri Lankan cricketers adorn the entire 35km stretch of the road between the airport and the city centre.People from all walks of life are discussing Sri Lanka’s prospects of finally breaking the jinx of finishing runners-up in two successive ODI World Cups and the 2009 World T20, and they’ll get the opportunity to see how well their heroes have prepared on the opening day when they take on Zimbabwe in Hambantota on Tuesday.Sri Lanka is one of the toughest places to tour, not just because of the conditions but also the home team’s mastery over them.Featuring the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, ICC Cricketer of the Year Kumar Sangakkara, captain Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis, there is no doubt they will be among the favourites for the title.However, the fourth edition promises to be the most open in the short history of the World Twenty20, with six to seven teams of the 12 looking strong on paper.An overkill of India-Sri Lanka matches in the past few years hasn’t reduced the fans’ eagerness to see the superstars from the neighbouring country in action, with Monday’s India-Pakistan warm-up match being a talking point for many here.advertisementIndia’s batting looks capable enough with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni showing form in the two warm-up games, as Monday’s performance showed, the bowlers will need to step it up a few notches.Pakistan look strong, especially after their build-up series win against Australia, but inconsistency remains their Achilles heel.Sri Lanka’s Group C mates South Africa are the other contenders for the ‘favourites’ tag.They have got together a squad that has hardly any chinks, but the other ‘C’ word- choking that they will need to lay to rest.West Indies players have often been accused of being Twenty20 mercenaries, but their best lineup can give any team nightmares about facing them.Big-hitting stars like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo are expected to be backed up well by the all-round capabilities of Andre Russell and the ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year, mystery spinner Sunil Narine.The Australians and the English can never be discounted either, no matter how fragile their new-look sides may seem on paper.The format is one that is imprinted on the mind of every Indian cricket fan like a recurring nightmare since the first round exit in the 2007 ODI World Cup- four groups of three teams each leading into Super Eights- and one mistake can draw curtains on the big teams’ campaigns.Three factors that each team will need to take into account are the pitches, which aren’t expected to be as spinner friendly as usual; the weather, which is expected to be fickle over the next week or so; and the improved ability of countries like Bangladesh and Ireland to cause upsets.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Giannis Antetokounmpo goes 17/17 at free throw line, powers Bucks past Wizards View comments FILE – In this Friday, March 16, 2018 file photo, Baylor’s Lauren Cox, left, and Moon Ursin (12) defend as Grambling State guard Shakyla Hill (5) handles the ball in the second half of a first-round game at the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)GRAMBLING, La. — Shakyla Hill became the first player in NCAA history with two career quadruple-doubles, finishing with 21 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists and 10 steals Saturday night in Grambling State’s 77-57 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.The senior guard got her first one nearly 13 months ago on Jan. 3, 2018, against Alabama State. That was only the fourth one accomplished in NCAA Division I history.ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. The other official quad-double was by Ramona Jones of Lamar against Central Florida on Jan. 14, 1991. ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Hill got her 10th steal with 52 seconds left.“I am just so blessed,” Hill said. “To be able to record a quadruple-double once was something special, but to do it again, words cannot describe how I am feeling. I want to thank my teammates for the support and helping me achieve this record.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesBefore Hill’s achievement last year, the last quadruple-double was by Soja Tate of Arkansas State against Mississippi Valley State on Jan. 27, 1993. Tate had 29 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals.Veronica Pettry of Loyola Chicago had 12 points, 10 rebounds, 22 assists and 11 steals for the first official quadruple-double on Jan. 14, 1989. Steals didn’t become an official NCAA stat until 1987-88 and assists became an official stat just two years earlier. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIES ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes
MIAMI — A cousin of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to plead guilty to drug charges, the last defendant whose case is pending in the federal government’s Biogenesis of America investigation.New court documents show that Yuri Sucart will change his plea at a hearing next Friday before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. Sucart is charged in a seven-count indictment with testosterone distribution and conspiracy to distribute the performance-enhancing substance.Sucart was among those charged in connection with the now-closed Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables operated by Anthony Bosch, who posed as a doctor. Baseball’s investigation esulted in the suspensions of 14 players, including Rodriguez for all of last season.Bosch and the others have pleaded guilty. Bosch received the longest sentence at four years in prison.If Sucart pleads guilty, Rodriguez would not have to testify in open court.TweetPinShare0 Shares