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ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
West Indies will use unofficial Twenty20 games against minnows Zimbabwe in Sharjah as part of their preparation for next month's T20 World Cup in India, the West Indies Cricket Board announced yesterday. The Caribbean side will take on Zimbabwe on Saturday and then again next Monday, with both games slated for the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. West Indies are currently in Dubai for a preparation camp ahead of the March 8 to April 3 T20 World Cup.
They will also play two T20s against English County team Warwickshire at the ICC Global Cricket Academy on March 4 and again two days later. Following the fixtures, West Indies will fly to Kolkata on March 7, where they play official warm-up games against India on March 10 and against Australia on March 13.
West Indies have been drawn in Group One of the Super 10 preliminary round stage, where they will face England, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
The group will be completed by either Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Scotland or Zimbabwe, who do battle in a pre-tournament round of qualifiers.
WI Women win
West Indies Women defeated South Africa Women by 16 runs in the opening One-Day International of the three-match series at Buffalo Park here yesterday.
Scores: WEST INDIES WOMEN 214 for seven off 50 overs (Hayley Matthews 56, Britney Cooper 55 not out, Deandra Dottin 28, Shemaine Campbelle 26; Dane van Niekerk 2-25, Shabnim Ismail 2-40, Sune Luus 2-50). SOUTH AFRICA WOMEN 198 all out off 48.5 overs (Marizanne Kapp 69 not out, Trisha Chetty 47, Shabnim Ismail 34; Deandra Dottin 5-34, Shaquana Quintyne 2-15, Anisa Mohammed 2-36).
FIFA reduces bans for Blatter, Platini
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini had their bans from soccer reduced from eight years to six by FIFA's appeal body yesterday, two days before the sport's ruling body tries to turn the page on years of scandals by electing a new president. Blatter and Platini were initially found guilty of wrongdoing by FIFA's independent ethics committee, which is led by a German judge, over a previously-secret 2011 financial transaction.
Platini, the UEFA president, said not being cleared was an "insulting decision, shameful and a denial of rights" and announced he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Blatter, as FIFA president, authorised a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) to Platini, which was found to be unethical and a conflict of interest. But following hearings last week, an in-house appeal committee comprising members of federations voting in tomorrow's presidential election decided to relax the suspensions. The committee is headed by Larry Mussenden of Bermuda, who is currently campaigning to win a May vote to become president of CONCACAF and a FIFA vice president.
Djokovic wins 700th career match
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):
Novak Djokovic earned his 700th career match win at the expense of Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 at the Dubai Championships yesterday. Djokovic, who joined the tour a decade ago, has a 700-146 career match record.
He's one of three active players to reach 700 wins, the others being Roger Federer with 1,067, and Rafael Nadal on 775.
"Sounds like I played many matches in my career," a smiling Djokovic told the crowd.