United States cricket officials hope the team's stunning tournament victory in the Middle East will spark Americans' interest in a game where the bats are flat and balls are stuffed with hard cork. \nThe US team won the Six Nations Challenge limited-overs event on debut on Saturday, and qualified for the prestigious Champion Trophy in England in September for the first time. \n"We have been looking for a starting point, and this victory will be the launching pad for cricket in America," said Gerald Singh, a board member of the United States of America Cricket Association. \nHe said the association was inundated with congratulatory calls from home and abroad after the US edged 2003 World Cup entrants the Netherlands, Namibia and Canada, along with Scotland and the host United Arab Emirates. \n"We are so happy and thrilled with this victory, it has came as a surprise to all of us," said Singh, speaking by telephone from his home in Suffolk County, New York. \nThe Americans finished tied for three wins with the Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, and Emirates, and qualified first on net run rate, with .550542 to Scotland's .522868. \nIn the final round on Saturday, the US team beat Scotland by five wickets in 47.2 overs. If Scotland had lasted five balls longer, it would have won the tournament, said event manager Tim Anderson. \n"It's like the Americans sneaked in from the back door," Anderson said. \nThe Champions Trophy features cricket's top nations, and the US joins World Cup winner Australia and New Zealand in Pool 1. \nThe US is an associate member of the International Cricket Council, and its 19th-century trailblazers helped to start baseball in America. \nWhile cricket is the rage in England, the Indian subcontinent and Down Under, it is played in all 50 US states, mostly by immigrants or first and second-generation Americans. There are major cricket centers in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Chicago and Texas. \nIn the United States, cricket continues to be an amateur sport, mostly played in public parks on weekends. There are 29 established leagues, 500 clubs and more than 10,000 players nationwide. \n"When they came here, everyone thought the US side was weak and that they will not make it very far in the tournament," said Shah Hussein, the Emirates liaison officer of the American squad. \n"But they proved otherwise and it was a big shock for everyone," Hussein said. \nAnderson agreed. "I think the US performed beyond everyone's expectations. I think everyone is still in a state of shock."
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Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being