Dhaka, Sep 6 (UNB) – A prominent consumer goods multinational company Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL) has become the new sponsor of the national cricket team for a period up to January 2020.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Chief Executive Officer Nizam Uddin Chowdhury and Unilever Bangladesh’s Finance Director Zahidul Islam Malita signed the sponsorship deal on behalf of their respective sides at BCB’s management office at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Unilever’s journey with Bangladesh cricket is set to begin with the Asia Cup 2018 in Dubai later this month where the logo of its product Lifebuoy will be displayed on the national team kit.
According to the deal, Unilever will sponsor Bangladesh national cricket team (Men’s and Women’s), Bangladesh ‘A’ team and the Bangladesh Under-19 team till January 31, 2020.
“Unilever is an internationally renowned brand with a proven track record. On behalf of the BCB I thank Unilever Bangladesh for coming forward and taking the initiative to contribute to cricket.
This ushers a fresh promise and opens a new door of long-term cooperation and relationship,” said BCB’s CEO after signing the deal.
UBL’s Marketing Director Nafees Anwar in a statement said, “Unilever has a history of contributing to the country’s socio-economic development while establishing its own business footprint. We want to carry this philosophy with our association with cricket which is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the country. It gives us immense pleasure to become national team sponsor partners of the BCB.”
UBL was one of the sponsors of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20’s ‘Dhaka Dynamites’ franchise in last year and had organised the Clear Men Under 17 Football Tournament across the country.
Earlier on August 26, a title sponsor of Bangladesh team Robi Axiata, a telecom company, surprisingly withdrawn its title sponsorship deal with BCB, releasing a statement saying, “The current deal falls short in upholding the spirit of the agreement.”
A problem arising out of individual players’ endorsements with rival brands was not solved and that eventually led Robi’s pulling out of a second time two-year contract, which was due to be extended until the 2019 World Cup.
However, BCB is no stranger to face such an unexpected incident. Its previous title sponsor Amby Valley, an affiliate of Sahara India Parivar, had also prematurely ended up their sponsorship contract before Robi signing a two-year contract with BCB first time in 2015.
New York, Sep 5 (AP/UNB) — Serena Williams began her U.S. Open quarterfinal tentatively. Her shots lacked their usual sting, her attitude its usual conviction.
She was facing the last player she lost to at Flushing Meadows. She kept looking up her coach, as if seeking solutions. After just 20 minutes Tuesday night, Williams was in danger of trailing by two service breaks. Not much later, the outcome was no longer in doubt, because the 23-time Grand Slam champion suddenly was in complete control.
Williams put aside some early shakiness and an early deficit, turning things around with an eight-game run en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the semifinals. It was Williams' first win over a top-10 player this season.
"I was playing really not a good game," said Williams, who was a point from trailing 4-1 and did fall behind 4-2 while making 22 of her 30 unforced errors in the first set. "I was thinking, 'You know, I can play better.' So that was the good news."
Pliskova offered this guess about what was happening to Williams: "Maybe she was a little bit nervous."
Maybe. But that didn't last long.
Pliskova is a big server and hitter in her own right, someone who briefly spent time at No. 1 in the WTA rankings and was the runner-up at the U.S. Open in 2016, when she beat Williams in the semifinals. The 36-year-old American did not compete in New York a year ago, because she gave birth to her daughter during the tournament.
Go back to 2015, and that was another semifinal departure for Williams, whose bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam was shockingly ended by Roberta Vinci.
"Well, I want to just be able to get past the semis here. It's been a few, couple, rough semis for me," Williams said. "But regardless, this has been a great road."
This time, Williams' semifinal opponent will be No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who surprisingly beat defending champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3 earlier Tuesday.
Stephens, who said she had been dealing with a sinus infection, rued all of her wasted opportunities, most notably the seven break points she failed to convert in the first set. She sure didn't attempt to hide her frustration, either, repeatedly gesturing toward or speaking in the direction of her coach, Kamau Murray, up in the stands.
When someone urged her to raise her level in the second set, Stephens replied, "I'm trying!"
"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you," Stephens said. "I think that's what happened today. I didn't convert."
Sevastova, who retired in 2013 because of injuries and returned nearly two years later, advanced to her first Slam semifinal.
"Still long way to go, I think," she said.
Especially considering that the next step will come against Williams, who's heading into her 36th semi at a major, 12th at Flushing Meadows.
Williams already proved at Wimbledon that she is capable of the sort of dominant performances she has shown over the years, making all the way to the final at the All England Club before losing. She'll hope to do one better now and claim a seventh U.S. Open title.
Her sluggish start against Pliskova came in the same 90-degree heat and 50-percent humidity that hampered John Isner in his quarterfinal loss to Juan Martin del Potro on Tuesday afternoon, and Roger Federer in his fourth-round exit against John Millman a night earlier and prompted the tournament to suspend play in junior matches for a few hours.
With her older sister, Venus — the woman she beat in the third round — in her guest box, Williams looked tight. Her timing was off. She put a backhand into the net to get broken to 2-1 at the outset. Then, down 3-1, she faced three break points; if Pliskova won any, she would have led 4-1. But Pliskova did not manage to put any of Williams' serves in play on those key points.
"Too strong," Pliskova said.
Soon after that, Williams went from trailing 4-2 to not only taking the first set but also leading 4-0 in the second.
By the end, Williams compiled a 13-3 edge in aces, and 35-12 in total winners.
"She's playing with the same power. She can still serve well. I don't think there's any change with her game," Pliskova said. "She's just going for her shots."
West Conshohocken, Sep 5 (AP/UNB) — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, golf's most prominent players for more than two decades, never realized the Ryder Cup would mean so much.
For Woods, it's the culmination of a comeback that began in January after a fourth surgery on his lower back. For Mickelson, more than setting a record by playing his 12th Ryder Cup, the 48-year-old gets what he believes will be his last chance to capture that gold trophy away from home.
U.S. captain Jim Furyk added them to his team Monday evening as wild-card selections, along with Bryson DeChambeau.
Woods agreed to be a vice captain in late February, and he set a goal to be in Paris on Sept. 28-30 as a player.
"It's incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and now to have accomplished a goal like that," Woods said. "To be a part of this team, and now to be a player is just ... beyond special."
Mickelson had qualified for every team since 1995, a streak that ended this year when he finished No. 10 in the standings. His 12th appearance breaks the Ryder Cup record held by Nick Faldo.
Mickelson has only been on three winning teams — at Brookline in 1999, Valhalla in 2008 and two years ago at Hazeltine. His last time overseas was at Gleneagles, where he infamously closed out a losing press conference by questioning captain Tom Watson and the direction the PGA of America was taking the U.S. team.
That led to sweeping changes in the U.S. structure, mainly by giving players a stronger voice.
"This is mostly likely my last chance to go over to Europe and to be a part of a winning U.S. team in Europe. We haven't done that in 25 years," Mickelson said. "I set out this year on really a strong commitment and journey to get on the team. I got off to a great start this year. It's been a really good year, and although I fell just shy of making it on points, it feels great to be a part of this team and serve this team in any way I can."
Furyk still has one more captain's pick he will announce on Monday after the BMW Championship, and it might not be as easy as this one.
"Not that it was an easy decision," Furyk said with a smile. "But it could have been a lot more difficult."
Woods and Mickelson were logical choices. Woods briefly had the lead Sunday in the British Open until he tied for sixth, and he shot a career-best final round of 64 to finish second in the PGA Championship. Mickelson won another World Golf Championship in March, though he hasn't seriously contended since then.
DeChambeau narrowly missed out on one of the eight automatic spots by missing the cut at the PGA Championship, and the 24-year-old Californian knew he had to show Furyk some form in the three weeks before the picks were announced.
He won the first FedEx Cup playoff event by four shots. He won the next FedEx Cup playoff event by two shots.
"I wanted to be a part of this experience so badly that I worked twice as hard," DeChambeau said. "And it showed, and it paid off."
Tony Finau is believed to be the leading candidate for 12th and final spot. Furyk invited him as part of a small group that played Le Golf National on the weekend before the British Open. Finau tied a PGA Championship record with 10 birdies in the second round while playing with Furyk.
During the FedEx Cup playoffs, he was runner-up at one event and tied for fourth at the other.
European captain Thomas Bjorn announces his wild-card selections on Wednesday, with Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey among the likely picks. Still to be determined was whether former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, gets a nod.
The eight Americans who qualified on their own were Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed. Throw in Woods and Mickelson, and that gives the U.S. team a lineup that has combined for 31 majors.
That doesn't mean as much in foursomes and fourballs, on a European course before the singing and chanting of Europeans fans.
"We're heading over into foreign soil," Furyk said. "It's going to be an interesting crowd. They are boisterous, I have a lot of respect for them and we are looking for players that we thought would handle that situation well and would thrive, love the challenge. And naming these three players, that's what we've done."
Woods will no longer be a vice captain, though Furyk said he would continue to lean on his advice. Woods was an assistant at Hazeltine and at the Presidents Cup last fall at Liberty National in a U.S. route.
Furyk picked former world No. 1 David Duval to replace Woods. Furyk also said Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar would fill out his lineup of vice captains, joining Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.
Bogota, Sep 5 (AP/UNB) — Colombia coach Jose Pekerman let his contract run out after six years and two World Cups with the team.
Pekerman's deal ended last Friday, and the Argentine's decision not to extend the contract was confirmed by Colombia Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun on Tuesday.
Arturo Reyes was appointed as interim coach for friendlies on Friday against Venezuela then on Tuesday against Argentina. Both games are in the United States.
Pekerman led Colombia to its first World Cup in 16 years, in 2014 in Brazil, and the team reached the quarterfinals.
He qualified Colombia again for the World Cup in Russia, where they were knocked out in the round of 16 by England in a penalty shootout.
Jesurun said last week he hoped the 69-year-old Pekerman would lead the team's effort to qualify for the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
"My Colombian daughter must be sad, but I leave with happiness for having people's support," Pekerman said after meeting with the federation.
"There has been a lot of damage to Colombia with all these rumors and conjectures. I said it when I arrived, we need to work together, support the national team to achieve great things. There is a hard path that has been walked and we need to keep up the great work."
Dhaka, Sept 5 (UNB) – Defending champions India started their seven-nation 12th SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 campaign in style beating Sri Lanka by 2-0 goals in the opening Group B match at the country’s premier sports venue-- Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.
With the day’s victory, the 7-times SAFF champions India clearly dominated the group list securing full three points from first match while Sri Lanka yet to open the account losing their opener.
In the remaining Group B matches, Sri Lanka will play the Maldives on Friday (Sept 7) at 7 pm while India will face the Maldives on Sunday (Sept 9), also at 7 pm, both at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
In the day’s lone match, Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianzuala Chhangte scored for the holder India, one in each half.
India continued to put pressure from the very beginning and found the success in their fourth attempt in the 35th minute as midfielder Ashique Kuruniyan’s left footed ground shot from the right wing kissed the left corner of Sri Lankan net after carrying the ball from midfield, off a through pass of Sumit Passi (1-0).
Midfielder Lallianzuala Chhangte doubled the Indian margin in the 47th minute by a left footed shot from a difficult angle, off a Germanspreet Singh pass (2-0).
Sri Lanka saved three attempts of Indians forward Farukh Choudhary in the second half.
Choudhary’s header from the center of the box in the 88th minute, was saved in the bottom right corner, a right footed shot from outside the box was saved in the bottom left corner in the 81st minute and a left footed shot from the center of the box was saved in the center of the goal post.
India missed two opportunities in the 66th minute as Nikhil Poojari’s right footed shot from the center of the box went wide, following a corner.
Sumit Passi missed an opportunity in the very fourth minute. Passi took a right footed shot from the center of the box, receiving a cross from Ashique Kuruniyan, but his shot was saved by goalie Sujan Perera in the right corner of the post.
India kept 59 percent of ball control for the win while Sri Lanka hardly could manage chances with the ball control of 41 percent.
Sri Lanka took two successive fruitless attempts in the 17th and 18th minutes by midfielders Mohamed Rifnaz and Hewage Kavindu Ishan respectively.
Rifnaz right footed shot from more than 35 yards is close, but missed to the left from a direct freekick while H K Ishan’s right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Sri Lanka brought three changes in their playing eleven as Nicholus Harsha Fernando, Asela Madushan and Sasanka Dilhara Jayasekara came in replacing injured Subash Madushan, Afeel Mohamed and Sajith Kumara Mendis respectively.
India brought changes in the second half with calling Nikhil Poojari, Manvir Singh and Vinit Rai to replace Ashique Kuruniyan, Sumit Passi and Anirudh Thapa respectively.
Corners: India got 12 corners while Sri Lanka one.
Yellow Cards: Hewage Kavindu Ishan, Sujan Perera, Ashikur Rahman, Anuruddha Warakagoda[Sri Lanka]. Sarthak Golui, Ashique Kuruniyan [India].