Ajdin Hrustic's late deflected strike sealed a 2-1 victory over the United Arab Emirates that put Australia one win away from the World Cup.

The Socceroos could not muster a shot on target in the first half of a do-or-die play-off at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and they were indebted to Mat Ryan for twice denying Harib Abdalla Suhail at his near post.

Australia got into their stride after break and were in front when Jackson Irvine turned in Martin Boyle's cross from close range with 53 minutes gone.

The UAE were level four minutes later when Caio Canedo fired into the roof of the net from six yards out with his left foot after Suhail's cross caused panic in the Socceroos defence.

Craig Goodwin missed a great chance to put Graham Arnold's side back in front, but the decisive moment came six minutes from time as Hrustic let fly with a powerful left-foot strike that hit Ali Salmeen and gave goalkeeper Khalid Eisa no chance.

Australia will face Peru in an intercontinental play-off at the same venue next Monday, with the winner sealing their place in the showpiece in Qatar. The UAE's wait for a first World Cup appearance since 1990 goes on.

Stafanie Taylor’s Tornadoes Women claimed the inaugural FairBreak Invitational T20 title with an emphatic eight-wicket win over Falcons Women at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the UAE on Saturday.

Tornadoes Women captain Sophie Devine called right at the toss and asked the Falcons to bat first before the Tornadoes had the Falcons reeling at 59-4 in the 10th over.

An unbeaten 92-run fifth wicket partnership between South African Marizanne Kapp (67 not out) and Hong Kong’s Mariko Hill (30 not out) then propelled the Falcons to a respectable 151-4 off their 20 overs.

Thailand’s Chanida Sutthiruang led the bowling for the Tornadoes with 2-19 from three overs.

The Tornadoes completed the chase without stress as captain Sophie Devine (51) and Sterre Kalis (44) shared in an opening partnership of 76 before Stafanie Taylor (34 not out) and South African Sune Luus (18 not out) steered them to 152-2 with five balls to spare.

 

West Indies Women all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, produced a fine display to help the Warriors Women secure a 54-run win over Deandra Dottin’s Barmy Army Women in the FairBreak Invitational T20 tournament at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the UAE on Thursday.

Matthews first struck a well-played 52 off 35 balls to help the Warriors post 156-6 off their 20 overs after the Barmy Army won the toss and elected to field first.

She wasn’t the star of the day with the bat, however, as South African Mignon Du Preez shone with an excellent 75 not out off 54 balls including six fours and three sixes.

Dottin took 1-11 off two overs for the Barmy Army before leaving the field with a slight injury.

Matthews then returned to pick up 2-3 off three overs to combine with Sri Lanka’s Udeshika Prabodhani (2-17 off two overs) and restrict Barmy Army Women to 102-8 off their 20 overs.

Pakistanis Fatima Sana (34) and Rumana Ahmed (26 not out) were the top scorers for the Barmy Army Women.

Warriors Women finish their tournament with one win from five games, while the Barmy Army Women will now move on to the semi-finals alongside Spirit Women, Tornadoes Women and Falcons Women.

 

A solid all-round effort from captain Stafanie Taylor propelled Tornadoes Women to a 13-run victory over Warriors Women in the FairBreak Invitational T20 Tournament at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the UAE on Friday.

Dutchwoman Steere Kalis (58), New Zealand captain Sophie Devine (48) and Taylor (31 not out) combined to help Tornadoes post 152-3 off their 20 overs after Warriors won the toss and elected to field first.

West Indies vice-captain Hayley Matthews was the pick of the Warriors bowlers with 2-33 from her four overs.

The Warriors chase was very top-heavy as openers Georgia Redmayne from Australia (48), Matthews (21) and captain Sindhu Sriharsha from the USA (35) were the only significant contributors as they eventually stumbled to 139-6 off their 20 overs, losing by 13 runs.

Malaysian captain Winifried Durasingam bowled beautifully to pick up a crucial 3-24 from her four overs while captain Taylor chipped in with 1-18 off three overs.

 

Deandra Dottin’s 80 not out proved to be insufficient to prevent her Barmy Army Women from going down by eight wickets to Falcons Women in the FairBreak Invitational T20 Tournament, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in the UAE on Friday.

The hard-hitting West Indian’s innings came off just 59 balls and included 12 fours and two sixes.

Dottin, alongside England captain Heather Knight (20) and South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt (17), helped Barmy Army Women get to 152-3 off their 20 overs.

The Falcons then needed only 17.3 overs to get to 156-2 thanks to 76 not out off 49 balls from captain Danni Wyatt.

Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu and West Indian Britney Cooper were the next best scorers with 41 and 32 not out, respectively.

The 2022 FairBreak Invitational is taking place in Dubai and is an ICC-sanctioned tournament. The inaugural edition of the competition organized by Cricket Hong Kong will comprise six teams that will have players from across the globe.

The first match was played on May 4 while May 9 and May 13 will be rest days. Both the semi-finals are slated to be played on May 14, while the third-place playoff and the final will be held on May 15.

There will be six teams that will be taking part in the inaugural season and there will be ninety players from 36 countries who will feature in the competition. Among these, 40 come from ICC full members and 50 from associate members.

Stafanie Taylor, Hayley Matthews, Deandra Dottin, Britney Cooper, Shemaine Campbelle, and Shamilia Connell are the West Indians participating.

 

West Indies white-ball vice-captain Nicholas Pooran and explosive opener Evin Lewis have paid tribute to retired all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and soon-to-be-retired, who have both played in their last ICC T20 World Cup tournament.

The 38-year-old Bravo announced his retirement from international cricket last Thursday after the West Indies lost to Sri Lanka by 20 runs effectively ending their world cup campaign.

"I think the time has come," Bravo said. "I've had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs, but as I look back at it I'm very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long.”

Gayle, meanwhile, is holding off talk of retirement for the time being as he has hopes of donning West Indies colours at least once more before he calls time on his record-breaking career.

"It's been a phenomenal career. I didn't announce any retirement but they actually give me one game in Jamaica to go in front of my home crowd, then I can say 'hey guys, thank you so much. Let's see. If not, I'll announce it a long time and then I'll be joining DJ Bravo in the backend and say thanks to each and everyone but I can't say that as yet," Gayle said prior to the West Indies’ eight-wicket loss to Australia on Saturday.

Notwithstanding Gayle’s comments, there can be no doubting the fact that his days in international cricket are numbered, a reality that prompted Pooran to pay tribute to both players, who have inspired him.

“Personally, I've witnessed (ed) two gentlemen who have left it all out on the cricket field, from being super excited to reach home fast from school to see @chrisgayle333 smash it all over the park and then see @djbravo47 defend basically less to nothing in a last over and then do his dance celebrations, to then playing with them in their last world cup game, that was something special,” Pooran posted in Instagram on Saturday.

“Seeing you guys walk away today put tears to my eyes but very pleasing at the same time knowing you guys have achieved so much in your careers. So from me to you guys, thank you for my childhood and all the best in whatever you do in the future!”

Meanwhile, Lewis, who opened with Gayle for the West Indies on several occasions, wished the two departing well.

“Words can’t describe. I’m a person of few words but it’s been an honour watching you guys on TV then sharing the same dressing room. Go well champs @djbravo47 @chrisgayle333,” said the power-hitting Trinidadian.

Pooran, perhaps the man to lead the West Indies into a new era, apologized for the team’s poor performances in the world cup and promised that even as two of the game’s greats ride into the sunset of their careers, the West Indies has the talent bounce back stronger than before.

“To our fans all over the world and back home, we know we have disappointed you guys, but let's not forget what we have accomplished in the last nine years winning two titles. It has been a wonderful era, but we will rise again,” he said.

The Club World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates in early 2022, FIFA has confirmed.

The annual tournament featuring the champions of six global confederations, along with the hosts' national champions, was originally scheduled for Japan in 2021.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) were preparing to stage the competition for the first time in five years, but a rise in coronavirus cases in the country led to questions as to whether hosting would be profitable.

The JFA subsequently pulled out following discussions with FIFA in September, with president Gianni Infantino announcing on Wednesday that the UAE - who have staged the tournament four times before - will instead play host to the tournament.

The exact dates of the rearranged Club World Cup are still to be announced, though FIFA indicated the competition will be staged in 2022, with Champions League winners Chelsea set to feature.

Thomas Tuchel's Blues will face Egyptian side Al Ahly and New Zealand's Auckland City, who are part of a 10-team roster for FIFA's showpiece club event.

FIFA, in 2020, had already selected Japan as host for the seven-club event after an expanded 24-team tournament - originally scheduled for China in June 2021 - was delayed due to coronavirus issues.

In-form T20 batsman Sherfane Rutherford has returned home to his native Guyana from the IPL following the death of his father, the Sunrisers Hyderabad Indian Premier League franchise announced on Thursday.

Orin Rutherford, 58, died Thursday, after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus on September 5. He was being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Liliendaal Hospital in Georgetown. He was reportedly unvaccinated.

"The SRH family conveys its heartfelt condolences to Sherfane Rutherford and his family on the passing away of his father. Sherfane will be leaving the IPL bio-bubble to be with his family in this difficult hour," SRH posted on Twitter.

Following a successful season with newly-crowned Caribbean Premier League champions St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Rutherford was looking forward to his maiden season with SRH.

It always feels good to come to a new franchise. It’s always good coming to something new. I look to learn, gather as much information as I can to work on my game and in the best way I can to help the team,” he said shortly after his arrival in India.

Rutherford, who almost inexplicably missed on being selected to represent the West Indies at next month’s ICC T20 World Cup, was called up by SRH to replace England’s Jonny Bairstow.

He last played in the IPL for Delhi Capitals in 2019.

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