FIFA’s ‘culture of intimidation’ must end, says Prince Ali

by admin on March 30th, 2019

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He also called for a public debate among the four candidates in the race including incumbent Sepp Blatter “to set out our positions and for people to know exactly where we stand.

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Prince Ali, 39, FIFA’s Asian vice-president for the last four years and a member of the ruling body’s executive committee, said he “could not sit through” another four years in the current circumstances.

“There has been a culture of intimidation within FIFA,” he told a news conference.

“In the past people have taken a principled stand and they have ended up being punished for it. I hope things are played fairly and in the right way now.

“Obviously, the incumbent has a natural advantage but I want to assure the national associations we are moving in the right direction.”

As well as Prince Ali and Blatter, the other contenders are former Portugal international Luis Figo and Michael van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA.

Prince Ali said the countries who had nominated him were his own Jordan, England, Malta, Georgia, Belarus and the United States, adding that the fact that his own Asian confederation was not fully behind his campaign was not a hindrance at this stage.

“This is about the whole world, it is not just about one confederation,” said the Prince who has campaigned for reform since being elected in 2011.

WIN OR BUST

However, he is facing a complication over the next few months.

Due to changes in the Asian confederation, he will lose his seat on the FIFA executive committee following the Asian congress on April 30 when he will be replaced by Sheikh Salman of Bahrain.

He confirmed that he would not contest an “ordinary” Asian seat on the FIFA executive committee at the Asian Congress which means he faces a “win or bust” situation.

If he does not win the presidential vote at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29 he will not be on the executive committee at all after that date when decisions taken at the various confederation congresses come into force.

“My total commitment is to run for the presidency of FIFA. I am not going to sit through another four years of what’s been going on and I think the way to change it is to go for the top,” he said.

“I want to turn the pyramid upside down, so that the national associations, the players the officials, the fans and the sponsors are on top and the FIFA president is there to serve them and protect the game.

“If I am elected, I will not attempt to shift blame or dodge my responsibility for the actions of FIFA. As president I will accept accountability at all times.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Liberal backbencher calls on Abbott to step down

by admin on March 30th, 2019

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The Western Australian MP told SBS that Tony Abbott should step down and the leadership spilled.

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Mr Jensen said the government’s position was “untenable”.

“What we are looking at in effect is tactics and tactical policy, the minutia rather than the bigger picture,” he said.

“I don’t the Prime Minister sees that and actually understands that nature of the program.” 

Listen: Dennis Jensen speaks to Stephanie Anderson.

Mr Jensen, who was elected in 2004, is the first Liberal MP to go on the record calling for Mr Abbott to step down.

He said Mr Abbott was informed of his position on January 23, but he won’t call for a spill.

“I don’t want to just become an assassin,” he said.

“However I believe that change in the leadership is necessary.” 

Mr Jensen said he hoped for a change in leadership by next week.

“I’d prefer whatever happens to happen quickly rather than slowly,” he said.

“We can’t just keep on like this.”

Former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull voiced support for Mr Abbott over the weekend, while deputy leader Julie Bishop ruled out challenging for the leadership, telling cabinet colleagues on Tuesday that she was “not campaigning for the job of Prime Minister”.

“I’m not counting numbers,” she said.

“I will not challenge the leader.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic urged his colleagues to ‘knuckle down’ amid leadership speculation for fear of being tarred with the same brush as the Rudd-Gillard Government.

In an email sent to colleagues, Mr Nikolic said he wrote “more in sadness that (sic) criticism” in the wake of Mr Abbott’s decision to nominate Prince Philip for a knighthood.

“In recent days, media reports suggest we are showing signs of the same sort of ill-disciplined introspection that characterised the Rudd-Gillard-Greens Coalition – the very same behaviours that the Australian people comprehensively rejected in September 2013,” he said.

“Recall for a moment how absolutely fed up with your constituents were with government that focused on itself rather than the needs of our communities.

“My electorate still feels like that and I hate the thought they might tar us with the same brush.”

Leadership speculation: Three Coalition MPs break ranks

by admin on March 30th, 2019

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While Julie Bishop says she won’t challenge Tony Abbott, the prime minister could face a leadership spill next week as three coalition MPs have broken ranks and called for action.

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Queensland backbench MP Warren Entsch says he’ll seek to resolve festering leadership tensions when the Liberal Party has its first meeting for the year next Tuesday.   

Fellow MPs Dennis Jensen and Mal Brough say the issue needs to be “lanced”.

Ms Bishop assured Mr Abbott on Tuesday she was not campaigning for his job.

But Dr Jensen pointed out there didn’t have to be a specific challenger for a leadership spill to be called.

The West Australian MP told Mr Abbott more than a week ago he had lost confidence in the prime minister.

“I don’t think the leader and his office are listening and communicating effectively,” Dr Jensen told ABC television.

“Fundamentally I see there is no strategic direction in where we are going.”

Dr Jensen said many of his constituents had told him they wanted to see a change of leader.

“I believe that it is necessary that this is brought to a head and lanced,” he said.   

Ms Bishop, however, told Mr Abbott in a cabinet meeting she was not plotting against him.

“I am not campaigning for the job of prime minister,” the foreign minister told the meeting.

“I am not ringing the backbench asking for support. I am not counting any numbers. I will not challenge the leader.”

And Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said Malcolm Turnbull, another leadership aspirant, had given his personal assurance he would not challenge.

But Mr Entsch said he strongly supported Mr Turnbull to replace Mr Abbott.

Mr Brough, a ministerial colleague of Mr Abbott under John Howard, said he couldn’t offer the prime minister his unequivocal support.

“I have issues and I’m hoping to work through with the prime minister,” he told reporters on the Sunshine Coast.

“The matter needs to be resolved and if Tuesday is the appropriate time for people to talk about it … then it’s for them to say so.”

He personally had no intention of challenging Mr Abbott.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said without a leadership contender, people should back off.

“My plea is for people to give the prime minister a fair go,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Dutton said the backbench should get the message that Mr Abbott had unanimous support from the cabinet.

The prime minister’s standing has been battered by the Prince Philip knighthood and other policy missteps, which some MPs have blamed for the Liberal National Party losing office in Queensland at the weekend.

Visiting a childcare centre in Sydney before returning to Canberra for the cabinet meeting, Mr Abbott said the lesson of Labor’s leadership changes from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard and back again was that “instability breeds instability”.

“If you want to get away from that, you just end it now and my message to the people of Australia is this is `Back to Work Tuesday’,” Mr Abbott said.

Asked whether he had sought Ms Bishop’s assurance about not challenging, Mr Abbott said: “Julie and I, we’re friends, we are part of the leadership team. We support each other. We always have and we always will.”

Treasurer Joe Hockey appeared convinced of the foreign minister’s loyalty and said he’d not spoken to her or Mr Turnbull about a change of leadership.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said government policies were to blame for the coalition’s malaise.

“The best advice I could give on behalf of Australia is drop your GP tax, drop your $100,000 degrees, drop your cuts to families and drop your cuts to pensions,” he said.

An Essential poll published on Tuesday found one in four voters supported Mr Turnbull to lead the Liberals, while 21 per cent backed Ms Bishop and 11 per cent supported Mr Abbott.

Ms Bishop was the most popular among coalition voters.

McLaren call time on day three of F1 testing

by admin on March 30th, 2019

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“We’ve had a loss of cooling water pressure and have removed the power unit for inspection,” the former champions said on their Twitter feed.

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“That’s a long process, so it ends today’s running.

“We can replace those components ahead of running tomorrow,” they added, with the team missing the final three hours of Tuesday’s session.

McLaren are starting a new partnership with Honda, who powered them to titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s and are returning after leaving the sport in 2008, after two decades with Mercedes.

Double world champion Alonso, who had one acrimonious year with McLaren in 2007 alongside current world champion Lewis Hamilton, has joined from Ferrari.

McLaren and Alonso had warned before the test that there would be problems with bedding in the new V6 engine and they have been proved right.

The number of laps completed in the morning did at least show, however, that the problems that sidelined Button on Monday had been addressed.

“We expected it to be difficult. I’m sure the next two days won’t be plain-sailing either,” Button, who will be at the wheel for the final day on Wednesday, had said on Monday evening.

“It’s going to be tricky. It’s a very complicated power unit, it’s not as straightforward as the old V8 engines or the V10s. So it takes a little bit of time.”

Champions Mercedes, whose works team dominated last season with their engine taking Hamilton to his second title, continued to run like clockwork after completing more laps than any of their rivals.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

BBC to lose live British Open coverage to Sky Sports from 2017

by admin on March 30th, 2019

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Sky will have exclusive live rights for the major championship from 2017-21, with the BBC screening a daily two-hour prime time highlights show and continuing its live radio coverage, the R&A said in a statement.

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The Open, like the Wimbledon tennis championships, has long been regarded as one of the ‘crown jewels’ of British televised sport and the decision to remove it from the shrinking list of free-to-air events is a controversial one.

Veteran BBC commentator Peter Alliss, whose voice has become synonymous with the tournament, led the chorus of disapproval.

“It saddens me because I have been working since 1961 but it really saddens me because all golfers throughout Britain and Europe will miss the BBC,” he told BBC Radio 5.

“I don’t think there will be a golfer that won’t be bitterly disappointed at the news today.”

Former world number one Lee Westwood labelled the move “a disgrace” as speculation grew that the BBC would pull the plug on its live coverage after 60 years.

But the decision was welcomed by former British Open champion Tony Jacklin.

“Sky are dedicated to the sport,” the 70-year-old Englishman and four-times European Ryder Cup captain told Reuters.

“I’ve worked with their team for the last three years and I think they’ve done a great job for golf and for the European Tour

“Let’s face it the people who play golf and love golf are going to have Sky so from a financial point of view, and at the end of the day money talks, if the R&A are going to be able to do more for the grassroots of golf with the extra money they are getting, it’s a good arrangement.”

ROYAL BIRKDALE

The new TV deal will begin at the 146th Open to be played at Royal Birkdale in 2017.

Despite the inevitable criticism that people without satellite TV contracts will be excluded from following hole-by-hole coverage of golf’s oldest major, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson welcomed the deal.

“We believe this is the best result for The Open and for golf,” he said in a statement.

“The way people consume live sport is changing significantly and this new agreement ensures fans have a range of options for enjoying the Championship on television, on radio and through digital channels.

“Sky Sports has an excellent track record in covering golf across its platforms and has become the home of live golf coverage over recent years.”

The deal, reported to be worth 10 million pounds ($15.1 million) a year to the R&A, compared to the 7 million a year the BBC was paying for live rights, will help golf halt the decline in grassroots participation, according to Dawson.

“Importantly, the new agreement will enable us to increase substantially our support for golf in the United Kingdom and Ireland,” he said.

Sky Sports already shows live coverage of the U.S. Masters, the U.S. Open, the U.S. PGA championship and the Ryder Cup.

The R&A said that commercial breaks, the lack of which make the BBC’s coverage so popular, would be kept to a maximum of four minutes per hour, with none longer than 60 seconds.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

Redknapp quits as Queens Park Rangers manager with wounded knee

by admin on March 1st, 2019

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The Premier League’s oldest manager, Redknapp said impending surgery meant he could no longer give the job 100 percent.

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Former QPR and England striker Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey are to take temporary charge.

Redknapp, who has enjoyed a colourful managerial career at West Ham United, Portsmouth, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur, took over at QPR in November 2012.

After relegation, the London-born former West Ham player took QPR back up in his first full season in charge but they have toiled this season, losing all 11 away league matches — a Premier League record.

Redknapp’s hopes of strengthening his squad were dashed by a quiet transfer window and whoever takes charge will have the job of steering QPR out of the relegation zone.

They are second from bottom with 19 points from 23 games.

“Sadly I need immediate surgery on my knee which is going to stop me from doing my job in the coming weeks,” Redknapp said.

“It means I won’t be able to be out on the training pitch every day and if I can’t give 100 percent I feel it’s better for someone else to take over the reins.”

CAUGHT COLD

Bookmakers William Hill, who were caught cold by a sudden rush of bets on Redknapp resigning, have made former Tottenham Hotspur boss Tim Sherwood odds-on favourite to become QPR’s next permanent manager.

Glenn Hoddle, who is part of Redknapp’s coaching staff, is second favourite.

Redknapp was under pressure earlier in the season as results went against him but he always said he had a close relationship with club chairman Tony Fernandes.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Harry for everything he has done for QPR during his time in charge,” Fernandes said in a statement.

“We part on good terms and I would personally like to wish him all the best for the future.”

Although Redknapp’s resume is not packed with silverware — an FA Cup triumph with Portsmouth being his only major honour — he has been one of the country’s most respected coaches and was a contender for the England manager’s job while in charge at Tottenham.

He was credited for turning Gareth Bale into a marauding forward at Spurs and taking the club into the Champions League for the first time in 2010-11.

During his time at Tottenham he was cleared of tax evasion charges dating back to his time in charge at Portsmouth.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Jacklin backs R&A move to switch from BBC to Sky

by admin on March 1st, 2019

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The pay TV channel will have exclusive live rights for the Open from 2017-21 with the BBC screening a daily two-hour prime time highlights show and continuing its live radio coverage.

南宁桑拿

The Open, like the Wimbledon tennis championships, has long been regarded as one of the ‘crown jewels’ of British televised sport and the decision to remove it from the shrinking list of free-to-air events is a controversial one.

Veteran BBC commentator Peter Alliss and former world number one Lee Westwood have criticised the R&A’s plan but Jacklin takes a different view.

“Sky are dedicated to the sport,” the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S. Open champion told Reuters in a telephone interview from his home in Florida.

“I’ve worked with their team as a commentator for the last three years and I think they’ve done a great job for golf and for the European Tour.

“Let’s face it the people who play golf and love golf are going to have Sky so from a financial point of view…if the R&A is going to be able to do more for the grassroots of golf with the extra money they are getting, it’s a good arrangement,” added Jacklin.

“In my opinion they are helping to grow the game and I think they’ll continue to do a great job.”

The R&A, which controls golf outside of the United States and Mexico and organises the Open, announced its plan on Tuesday but did not disclose financial details.

According to media reports, the new contract is worth 10 million pounds ($15.1 million) a year, three million more than the BBC was paying.

SECOND BEST

“The BBC will still have two hours of highlights every day,” said Jacklin who is working with Magnolia Park Golf and Country Club in Buckinghamshire, England to design a brand new par-three course, driving range and academy facilities (南宁夜网.magnoliapark.co.uk).

“The BBC can’t throw the resources at it that Sky can so their coverage is second best,” added the 70-year-old.

“The BBC coverage goes back a long time,” said Jacklin of the terrestrial TV company’s 60-year partnership with the Open.

“I remember my Open win was the first one on colour television. I then went on to work with Henry Longhurst, Harry Carpenter and Peter Alliss for 20 years or so as a commentator but time moves on and money talks.”

Golf is in the middle of an international crisis with playing numbers dwindling around the world and courses closing down at an alarming rate.

Jacklin, however, has trust in the R&A and believes it knows what is best for the future of the sport.

“I really don’t think this decision is going to make much difference to the growth of the game,” said the Englishman.

“I think the R&A have made the right decision, I really do. I’m not party to their politics but they run the game worldwide and know how to grow it.

“This is an important time for golf and I’m sure they’ve deliberated a lot over it,” added Jacklin. “I think they’ve got the best of both worlds with this decision.”

Jacklin, who won two of his four matches in charge of the European Ryder Cup team between 1983-89 and is their most successful captain of all time, said he had first-hand experience of the BBC’s excellent live radio coverage of the Open last year.

“Millions of people listen to it when they are out on the road,” he explained. “I know how good the coverage is too because I drove around 11,000 miles in Britain last summer for my UK tour.

“I’m not saying things always change for the better but it seems to me that sport is not the BBC’s focus any more, it’s more on entertainment, things like Strictly Come Dancing for example.”

Jacklin featured on ‘Strictly’ in 2013 and was the first contestant to be voted off in that series.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

F1 newbie Nasr fastest in pre-season tests

by admin on March 1st, 2019

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Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr upstaged former world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso as he went fastest on the third day of pre-season testing in Jerez.

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Nasr’s Sauber C34 car has been an early season hit and his best time of 1min 21.545 in 108 laps was enough to end Ferrari’s dominance on the leaderboard from the opening couple of days.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo only managed five laps before he had to return to the pits early on Tuesday for an engine change, however he come back out to complete 35 laps overall, posting the seventh best time.

He has been restricted to just 83 laps over two days in Jerez, and will now have to wait until the second test in Barcelona later this month.

“Obviously we were a bit limited with our running (on Tuesday), the last hour was a bit better,” he said.

“We got some long runs done, but I think testing is where you get to know the car a bit better and feel how it uses the tyres.

“It’s always tricky to rack up a lot of laps at the first test. Obviously some teams have done it and I think we’ve got a few more opportunities in Barcelona.”

Technical problems also persisted for McLaren’s Alonso, who was also at the back of the grid both in time and laps completed.

Raikkonen took over from new teammate Sebastian Vettel in the SF15-T, but couldn’t match the pace set by the German on the opening two days as he was 0.205sec behind Nasr in his 92 laps.

Double world champions Mercedes continued to prioritise mileage over speed as Nico Rosberg racked up 151 laps to add to his world record 157 lap effort on day one.

Rosberg could even have managed more, but his W06 had to be towed back to the garage after stopping on the track midway through the day.

McLaren looked to have put a disappointing opening couple of days during which Alonso and Jenson Button managed just six laps apiece behind them early in the day.

Alonso was able to log 32 laps on Tuesday morning, albeit 14 seconds off the pace set by Nasr.

Yet, worse was to come as cooling pressure problem in the power unit prevented any running after lunch to once again leave them as the team with the least amount of mileage on the day.

The Spaniard will now have to wait until Barcelona to get back in the Mp4-30 as Button will take over for Wednesday’s final day in Jerez.

Felipe Massa was overshadowed by compatriot Nasr, but did enough for fourth fastest in the Williams FW37.

Redknapp exit leaves QPR a less colourful place

by admin on March 1st, 2019

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Call him what you will, although any mention of the words ‘wheeler-dealer’ will be met with a shirty reply, the 67-year-old’s exit leaves the Premier League without one of its most experienced campaigners.

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Increasingly seen as the last of a dying breed, a dinosaur among modern technicians of the game, Redknapp could always read the writing on the wall even if, by his own admission, his spelling was atrocious.

Relegation-threatened QPR have yet to win a point away from home this season and how much longer owner Tony Fernandes would have kept his faith with the oldest manager in the league is now a question that no longer needs answering.

As far as Redknapp is concerned, however, leaving Loftus Road is not the end of the story.

“I still don’t think I’m finished with football,” he told the Daily Mail website on Tuesday. “When I’ve had the operations, I’ll be looking for work again. I know that. I can’t imagine my life without it.”

Redknapp may have confessed at a 2012 tax evasion trial that he was “the most disorganised person in the world”, a revelation that only cemented the myth of “Our ‘Arry” when he was acquitted, but it was also wide of the mark.

The chirpy east-ender is a football man through and through, maybe relying more on old-fashioned nous than modern methods but still able to get a team playing his way and producing the results..

The former West Ham United winger is still the last English manager to win a major trophy, with Portsmouth in the FA Cup in 2008, and the only one to lead an English club into the Champions League.

POPULAR CHOICE

When he returned to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008, he took the team from the bottom of the Premier League to eighth that season and then fourth — securing a place in Europe’s lucrative Champions League — the following year.

He would have been a popular choice for England manager, had the FA not opted instead for the less colourful and more cerebral Roy Hodgson.

Nobody could accuse Redknapp of being an intellectual — he once joked when Andre Villas-Boas was at Chelsea that he was going to change his name to HJR to “sound more intelligent” — but he did command loyalty.

He also has plenty of fans in the media, who have delighted in regaling their readers with tales of Redknapp’s humorous asides and anecdotes.

Redknapp was happy to supply them, from the day he brought on a fan from the crowd as a substitute in a 1994 friendly against Oxford United while West Ham manager to the time he signed a player off a video tape.

“He was a good player, but a nutter,” he recalled later. “They didn’t show that on the video.”

His departure from Loftus Road, on the morning after the January transfer window ended, was perhaps apt coming from a man renowned for being interviewed through his car window as he drove out of the club car park.

This time, with QPR under tight budget constraints, he made the headlines himself.

“I haven’t got the hump, we haven’t had a row,” he told the Daily Mail as speculation swirled that he had become frustrated at the lack of funds available to do the kind of deals he has done in the past.

“I knew some while ago that we were not going to be able to get much done in January. I just made my mind up because events were piling up. Being told I needed both knees replaced was a huge blow.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

NZ beat Pakistan to enter World Cup on a roll

by admin on March 1st, 2019

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It was their eighth win in their last 10 completed matches.

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Brendon McCullum’s side won the two-match series 2-0 after they had defeated Sri Lanka 4-2 at home and won their last two games to clinch a 3-2 series victory against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates in December.

“We have to be happy where we are at,” McCullum said in a televised interview. “We have been playing some perfect games of late and now the challenge is to maintain that and be consistent going into the World Cup.

“This has been the ideal preparation for us so we have no excuses come the big event.”

Williamson led the hosts to an imposing 369 for five in their 50 overs, the second highest score on the batsman-friendly McLean Park, before they dismissed Pakistan for 250 with almost seven overs remaining. The highest score was the 373-8 New Zealand scored against Zimbabwe in 2012.

Pakistan began their chase well with Mohammad Hafeez (86) and Ahmed Shehzad (55) putting on an 111-run opening stand but once Shehzad was caught in the deep by Adam Milne, the wheels fell off their innings as New Zealands’ bowlers exerted pressure on the visitors’ lineup.

“It was a really tough series,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said. “We tried our best but we need to improve in every area.

“We just gave away 370 runs and we need to improve our bowling, especially at the death. If any batsman is set, then they need to continue till the end.”

The 24-year-old Williamson (112) had earlier continued his superb run of form by scoring his sixth ODI century. He has now scored 753 runs in 11 innings since the beginning of December.

He also combined in a 128-run partnership with Martin Guptill (76) and added 79 runs with Taylor (102 not out), who brought up his 12th one-day century off the final delivery. It was the 100th ODI century by a New Zealand batsman.

The match is the last official game both sides will play before the Feb 14-March 29 World Cup, though they have scheduled warm-up clashes against other sides in the next 10 days.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Patrick Johnston/Amlan Chakraborty)