Caf increases prize money
Herath ten-for puts S/Lanka on the brink
THE Confederation of African Football has increased prize money for its club competitions by more than 100 percent, while the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) total package has also been increased by THREE days between Tests is hardly enough for teams to work on their weaknesses. But this was Zimbabwe’s opportunity to prove they had learnt from their mistakes in the first Test, or at least from their first innings in this Test. Going by the evidence of the 45 overs they batted on the fourth day at Harare Sports Club yesterday, they haven’t.
Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain, who on the previous day had become just the third bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan and Dale Steyn to complete five-wicket hauls against all Test oppositions, picked up five wickets to leave Zimbabwe in a spin. Along the way, he became the first bowler to take 50 wickets in 2016. Chasing an improbable 491, after Sri Lanka’s declaration on 258 for 9 midway through the second session, Zimbabwe slumped to 180 for 7, with first-innings half-centurion Craig Ervine and Donald Tiripano at the crease.
The first three wickets fell in identical fashion: batsmen pressing forward and playing either outside the line or inside the line without any conviction, almost like they were searching for the ball without quite reading the trajectory. The deliveries that got Brian Chari and Hamilton Masakadza were arm-balls, while another flighted delivery spun away from the rough to take Tino Mawoyo’s edge off a tentative push to Dhananjaya de Silva at slip.
Sean Williams decided the best way to score runs was to step out to the spinners. He was lucky that a couple of mishits landed up to 64 percent. Afcon winners will now get $4 million, up from $1.5 million, which represents an increase of 166 percent. The losing finalists will pocket $2 million; losing semi-finalists will each get $1.5 million, while those that will bow out at the quarter-finals stage will get $800 000. The total Afcon package has increased from $10 million to $16.4 million. In club competitions, the Caf Champions League winners will now get $2.5 million compared to the present $1.5 million. The runners-up are set to get $1.25 million, up from $1 million. Semi-finalists will get $875 000, while quarter-finalists will be $650 000 richer. Confederations Cup kings will be rewarded with $1.25 million and losing finalists $625 000, semi-finalists $450 000, while reaching the quarter-finals guarantees $350 000. Fourth-placed teams in the four groups of the Caf Champions League will be rewarded with $550 000, while in the Caf Confederations Cup, teams will be paid $275 000, up from $165 000. Zimbabwe is set to be represented by Ngezi Platinum Stars in the Confederations Cup. The PSL debutantes beat FC Platinum 3-1 in the Chibuku Super Cup final played at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro on Saturday, while three teams are still in the running for the Champions League slot, with two rounds safe. But the visible difference in his approach was that there were no half-measures, like he exhibited in fetching a slog sweep off Dilruwan Perera from outside off over deep midwicket. Having weathered the early storm against spin, he paid the price for relaxing against the pacers; an ugly waft away from the body resulting in a thick edge to first slip off Lahiru Kumara.
Flight wasn’t the only component of spin that troubled Zimbabwe. Dhananjaya de Silva, handed the ball perhaps just to shake things up after Dilruwan kept getting picked off for runs, had a wicket in his second over when Malcolm Waller looked to drive, much like he did in the first innings, to a ball that drifted away to take the edge through to the wicketkeeper.
Not even the loss of five wickets in the session curbed the instincts of Zimbabwe’s batsmen. Peter Moor kept going after the bowlers and struck them well for as long as he was around, before jabbing with hard hands to be caught at silly point. Then came perhaps the ball of the innings when Herath got one to drift-in and spin away to square Cremer up and hit the stumps. It was quite fitting that the special delivery brought his seventh tenwicket haul in Tests.
Meanwhile, Ervine, it appeared, was batting on a completely different tangent, playing deliveries on merit while taking toll of the half-trackers. Unlike in the first innings, they will need him and Tiripano, who in the past has proved to be a handy of league matches remaining.
Caps United, FC Platinum and Highlanders all have a chance of winning the sole ticket, although Makepekepe have better chances compared to FC Platinum and Highlanders.
In a letter to all the associations referenced, “Updated revenues grid for national teams and club within Caf competitions — Cycle 2017-2020”, Caf said its executive committee approved the new figures at a meeting held in Cairo, Egypt, on September 27, 2016.
“Caf hereby informs you of the update of the revenues grid detailing the allocation of revenues for national teams and clubs taking part in the final phases of Caf competitions during the four-year cycle 2017-2020. This grid has been revised upwards taking into consideration the renewed agreements reached with our agencies in charge of commercialising TV and marketing rights of Caf competitions,” reads the Caf letter dated November 8.
It said the allocations would be applicable from January 2017, just ahead of the Total African Cup of Nations.
“As a policy matter, Caf will usually transfer to each team prior to the beginning of the final tournaments 50 percent of the revenue allocated to teams finishing fourth in their groups in order to facilitate the teams’ preparations,” reads the letter.
The timing will see the Mighty Warriors missing out on the windfall, as the Women Nations Cup finals begin next week in Cameroon. batsman, to carry on for as possible to at least ensure their margin of defeat isn’t identical to the first Test.
The first session was attritional, with Sri Lanka happy to take their time to grind Zimbabwe. Resuming on 102 for 4, they added 75 in the first session to leave Dimuth Karunaratne facing the prospect of bringing up his fifth Test ton. Asela Gunaratne, the other overnight batsman, made a sparkling 39, driving from the rough and playing with a degree of authority, before falling lbw to Tiripano on 39.
Sri Lanka’s intent to up the scoring after in the second session was evident from the outset. Given a license to attack, in line with his natural game, Kusal Perera was in the mood to frustrate Zimbabwe as he swept, swiped and reverse-swept his way to a halfcentury off just 61 balls to swell Sri Lanka’s second-innings total.
Suranga Lakmal too helped himself like he would in a buffet, picking away leg stump half-volleys and half-trackers to the boundary in an entertaining 47-run ninthwicket stand off just 37 deliveries. Herath declared when Kusal holed out to long-on for 62, thereby giving themselves a dayand-a-half to dismiss Zimbabwe. Going by Zimbabwe’s travails against spin, Sri Lanka’s bowlers may have just earned themselves close to day’s rest on Thursday to go with a 2-0 sweep that looks set to go into Herath’s captaincy book barring thunderstorms on the final day. — ESPNCricinfo