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BRIEFS

Windies, NZ make semis

Castries: West Indies and New Zealand played unbeaten to top their groups on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the inaugural world double wicket cricket tournament at St Lucia’s Beausejour Cricket Grounds.

The two teams will be joined by Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Saturday’s play produced both disappointment and excitement. The clash between West Indians Carl Hooper and Chris Gayle and Pakistanis Wasim Akram and Shahid Afridi, which had been billed as the match of the tournament, ended in an anticlimax when Pakistan conceded the match after Afridi suffered a back injury. Later England’s big-hitting Andrew Flintoff belted 12 sixes, but was out four times and had his score reduced by 40. England’s 112 was the highest of the tournament so far.

19-yr-old in Aussie squad

Perth: Rookie defender Mark Knowles helped Queensland to a 4-3 win over Western Australia in Sunday’s domestic hockey championship and was rewarded with a surprise inclusion in the Australian squad for upcoming series against India and Pakistan. Australia coach Barry Dancer included 19-year-old Knowles and six of his state teammates in the 24-man squad. Troy Elder fired three goals in the win over Western Australia to cement his place for the May and June series.

A notable omission was defender Daniel Sproule, who was not considered after announcing his retirement after 188 matches for Australia.

Becks’ healing touch

London: England soccer superstar David Beckham could play a key role in the battle to win hearts and minds in Iraq when the fighting stops. A report in The Sunday Express said the Football Association (FA) was looking at ways to use soccer in general and Beckham in particular to bring peace to the war-torn country.

“Iraqis worship England Premiership sides and their biggest hero is the England football captain,” The Sunday Express wrote on Sunday. “Now the Football Association is looking at ways of using the beautiful game to bring peace to the shattered country.”

A spokesman of the ministry of defence said, “It is a global language. I am sure we will see more matches between our forces and locals.”

Uefa condemns Alex Ferguson

London: Uefa have condemned Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s attack on the Champion’s League quarter final draw as “unfortunate and silly”.

Ferguson, whose side face defending champions Real Madrid on Tuesday, hinted in the British media that the draw was loaded to keep teams from the same country apart. “The remarks are unfortunate and silly”, Uefa spokesman Mike Lee said on Sunday.

“The draw is open. It’s done in front of television cameras and all the club representatives, including those from Manchester United. These comments don’t fit with reality,” Lee added. As well as 1999 winners United against Real Madrid, last month’s draw paired AC Milan with Ajax, Inter Milan against Valencia and Juventus versus Barcelona.

Martin wins

Tokyo: Camilla Martin swept aside China’s Xie Xingfang to win her first Japan Open badminton women’s singles title on Sunday. The world number seven from Denmark, who eliminated three Chinese including world number one Zhang Ning and Pi Hongyan, who now plays for France, on her way, completed her collection of Chinese scalps with an 11-1, 11-5 win.

n Cricket, Sharjah Cup, Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe live from 4pm on TEN Sports n Soccer, Premier League from 9am on ESPN n Golf, Best of PGA from 8.30pm on ESPN n Formula One, 2003 World Championships from 4.45pm on STAR Sports


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