Pakistan overwhelm Sri Lanka in first blind T20

COLOMBO: Pakistan’s blind cricket team comfortably beat their Sri Lankan counterparts by 48 runs in the first Twenty20 of a three-match series here at Bloomfield Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

After Sri Lanka decided to put the opposition in to bat first, openers captain Nisar Ali and Mohammad Rashid gave Pakistan a brilliant stand of 197. At this point, Rashid was run out for a magnificent 44-ball 92.

Nisar, who was later declared man-of-the-match, kept the Sri Lankan bowling attack at bay as he smashed an unbeaten 140 off 64 balls as Pakistan posted a healthy 261-1 in the stipulated 20 overs.

Sri Lanka in reply got a good opening stand too and their first wicket fell at the score of 153 in the 15th over. Saman Kumara then was dismissed for a 41-ball 64. His opening partner Dimithu Sandrawan was sent back soon after he made a 46-ball 67.

Sri Lanka in the end could manage to collect 213 runs in their 20 overs while losing six wickets.

Janbaz Khan, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan in Colombo, Pakistan Blind Cricket Council chairman Syed Sultan Shah and Chaminda Pushpakumara, the Sri Lanka Cricket Association secretary for visually handicapped, were the guests of honour on this occasion and gave the prizes.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2019

Samjhota Express operations suspended as Pak-India tensions persist

In light of the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India, operations of the Samjhota Express have been suspended temporarily, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday.

A press statement by the Foreign Office (FO) said that the operations will resume “as soon as the security situation improves between India and Pakistan”.

The Samjhota Express runs twice a week (Monday and Thursday) from Lahore to Attari via the Wagah railway station. Yesterday, the Pakistan Railways had said that the train would depart for Attari at 8am as usual.

Security arrangements across Pakistan have been tightened in light of tensions between the two neighbouring countries. Flight operations were suspended when Pakistani airspace was closed to commercial flights on Wednesday.

Tensions between the neighbouring countries escalated after an Indian aircraft violated Pakistan’s airspace on Tuesday. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had “immediately scrambled” and the Indian plane went back. Yesterday, the PAF undertook strikes across the Line of Control from Pakistani airspace, following which two Indian aircrafts violated the LoC again and were shot down by the PAF.

The civil and military leadership of Pakistan has urged India to deescalate tensions while emphasising its right to respond to Indian aggression.