From left to right: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Nick Punto surprised all the baseball experts.
From left to right: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Nick Punto surprised all the baseball experts.

In St Louis, a title run is on the cards



Of all the surprises in baseball's play-offs, none is more startling than the presence of the St Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

As recently as late August, the Cardinals found themselves far behind Milwaukee in the NL Central division and 10.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the wild-card chase.

But that was before the Cards went on a spectacular September run and overtook the Braves on the final night of the season to secure the wild-card berth. And, of course, before they knocked off the Philadelphia Phillies in the Division Series in a five-game nail-biter.

The absence of the Phils in the NLCS was upset enough, since the club won 101 games, more than any team in either league, and possessed the best starting pitching in the game. St Louis upending the Phils makes the entire post-season more unpredictable.

Give the Cardinals credit: they hit just enough to do some damage against the vaunted Philadelphia starters. Whether they can do that for a second straight round, against the Milwaukee Brewers, remains to be seen.

Any line-up featuring Albert Pujols is formidable, and Matt Holliday gives the Cards another weapon. Lance Berkman's monster comeback season thickens their line-up, but the Cards rely on top-of-the-order performers to execute and set the table for the duo of Pujols and Holliday.

As befitting a team managed by Tony La Russa, the Cards are solid fundamentally, and their bullpen deployment is masterful. But not having ace Chris Carpenter, who out-pitched Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the division series, until Game 3 could be tough to overcome.

The Brewers, who beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on the 10th inning of Game 5 to advance, feature the best 3-4 hitting combination of the four play-off teams in Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. But the Brewers' not-so-secret offensive weapon may well be the outfielder Nyjer Morgan, whose brash personality and energetic style of play have given the team a new dynamic.

Milwaukee's strength is the depth of their rotation. The Brewers have three starters who have front-of-the-rotation stuff in Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo. Not always consistent, each takes the mound with the ability to shut down most line-ups.

The back end of the Milwaukee bullpen is shaky, despite the fact the closer John Axford failed to convert just two save opportunities all season.

Axford's blown save in Game 5 against Arizona hints at a potential vulnerability, especially since the set-up man, Francisco Rodriguez, is pitching with diminished velocity and effectiveness.

Hanging over the series will be an interesting subplot: both teams stand to lose elite first basemen to free agency when the post-season is complete.

Fielder has acknowledged it is unlikely he will return to the Brewers in 2012; the franchise locked up Braun with a multi-year deal several years back and probably cannot afford two eight-figure contracts on the roster.

Pujols, who may be the Cardinals' most revered player since Stan Musial, has accomplished historic numbers in his first 10 seasons, but a contract offer by the Cardinals last spring fell far short of his expectations.

The received wisdom is that his career in a Cardinals' uniform is winding down to its final days.

The uncertain futures for Pujols and Fielder should not detract from a series which may lack big markets but, thanks to Midwestern cities that love their baseball, no shortage of passion.

HOW THEY MATCH-UP

OFFENCE

The St Louis Cardinals scored 41 more runs than the Milwaukee Brewers over the course of the regular season and were a slightly more patient team at the plate. Milwaukee hit for more power, and the duo of Braun, a potential NL MVP, and Prince Fielder, above, rate a slight edge over Albert Pujols, below, and Matt Holliday.

Edge: Milwaukee Brewers

STARTING ROTATION

Chris Carpenter was masterful in his Game 5 shutout of the Phillies, but the Cards starting rotation drops off after him. Milwaukee’s “Big Three” of Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum have unlimited potential.

Edge: Milwaukee Brewers

BULLPEN

John Axford’s numbers for Milwaukee look tough to beat, but he looked vulnerable in the NLCS, and Francisco Rodriguez is not the late-inning force he once was. Tony La Russa, the St Louis manager, has two closing options in Fernando Salas and Jason Motte and that back-end versatility should not be overlooked.

Edge: St Louis Cardinals

BENCH

Carlos Gomez offers speed and defence for Milwaukee and Craig Counsell has a wealth of play-off experience. Jon Jay and Ryan Theriot are quality role players for St Louis. Few managers get more out of a roster than La Russa.

Edge: St Louis Cardinals

FULL RESULTS

Middleweight

Eslam Syaha (EGY) bt Robin Roos (SWE)

Welterweight

Alex da Silva (BRA) bt Bagyash Zharmamatov (KGZ)
Murodov Samandar (TJK) bt Lucas Sampaio (BRA)
Shakhban Alkhasov (RUS) bt Salamat Orozakunov (KGZ)
Khotamjon Boynazarov (UZB) bt Mikail Bayram (FRA)

Bantamweight
Jieleyisi Baergeng (CHN) bt Xavier Alaoui (CAN)

Flyweight
Rashid Vagabov (RUS) bt Lun Qui (CHN)
Yamato Fujita (JPN) bt Furkatbek Yokubov (UZB)
Aaron Aby (WLS) bt Joevincent So (PHI)

Catchweight 176lb
Mark Hulm (RSA) bt Erkin Darmenov (KAZ)

Catchweight 160lb
Rustam Serbiev (BEL) bt Anar Huseyinov (AZE)

Catchweight 150lb

Islam Reda (EGY) bt Ernie Braca (PHI)

Flyweight (women)
Baktygul Kurmanbekova (KGZ) bt Maria Eugenia Zbrun (ARG)

The specs: 2019 Subaru Forester

Price, base: Dh105,900 (Premium); Dh115,900 (Sport)

Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder

Transmission: Continuously variable transmission

Power: 182hp @ 5,800rpm

Torque: 239Nm @ 4,400rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 8.1L / 100km (estimated)

RESULT

Leeds United 1 Manchester City 1
Leeds:
 Rodrigo (59')
Man City: Sterling (17')

Man of the Match: Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

CONFIRMED LINE-UP

Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
Jeļena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Liudmila Samsonova
Daria Kasatkina
Veronika Kudermetova
Caroline Garcia (France)
Magda Linette (Poland)
Sorana Cîrstea (Romania)
Anastasia Potapova
Anhelina Kalinina (Ukraine)
Jasmine Paolini (Italy)
Emma Navarro (USA)
Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)
Emma Raducanu (Great Britain) – wildcard

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
Takreem Awards winners 2021

Corporate Leadership: Carl Bistany (Lebanon)

Cultural Excellence: Hoor Al Qasimi (UAE)

Environmental Development and Sustainability: Bkerzay (Lebanon)

Environmental Development and Sustainability: Raya Ani (Iraq)

Humanitarian and Civic Services: Women’s Programs Association (Lebanon)

Humanitarian and Civic Services: Osamah Al Thini (Libya)

Excellence in Education: World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) (Qatar)

Outstanding Arab Woman: Balghis Badri (Sudan)

Scientific and Technological Achievement: Mohamed Slim Alouini (KSA)

Young Entrepreneur: Omar Itani (Lebanon)

Lifetime Achievement: Suad Al Amiry (Palestine)

What is a robo-adviser?

Robo-advisers use an online sign-up process to gauge an investor’s risk tolerance by feeding information such as their age, income, saving goals and investment history into an algorithm, which then assigns them an investment portfolio, ranging from more conservative to higher risk ones.

These portfolios are made up of exchange traded funds (ETFs) with exposure to indices such as US and global equities, fixed-income products like bonds, though exposure to real estate, commodity ETFs or gold is also possible.

Investing in ETFs allows robo-advisers to offer fees far lower than traditional investments, such as actively managed mutual funds bought through a bank or broker. Investors can buy ETFs directly via a brokerage, but with robo-advisers they benefit from investment portfolios matched to their risk tolerance as well as being user friendly.

Many robo-advisers charge what are called wrap fees, meaning there are no additional fees such as subscription or withdrawal fees, success fees or fees for rebalancing.

if you go

The flights

Etihad, Emirates and Singapore Airlines fly direct from the UAE to Singapore from Dh2,265 return including taxes. The flight takes about 7 hours.

The hotel

Rooms at the M Social Singapore cost from SG $179 (Dh488) per night including taxes.

The tour

Makan Makan Walking group tours costs from SG $90 (Dh245) per person for about three hours. Tailor-made tours can be arranged. For details go to www.woknstroll.com.sg

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Imperial Island: A History of Empire in Modern Britain

Author: Charlotte Lydia Riley
Publisher: Bodley Head
Pages: 384

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

Naga

Director: Meshal Al Jaser

Starring: Adwa Bader, Yazeed Almajyul, Khalid Bin Shaddad

Rating: 4/5

Wonka

Director: Paul King

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant

Rating: 2/5

Western Region Asia Cup T20 Qualifier

Sun Feb 23 – Thu Feb 27, Al Amerat, Oman

The two finalists advance to the Asia qualifier in Malaysia in August

 

Group A

Bahrain, Maldives, Oman, Qatar

 

Group B

UAE, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Chris Jordan on Sanchit

Chris Jordan insists Sanchit Sharma will make an impact on the ILT20, despite him starting the campaign on Gulf Giants' bench.
The young UAE seamer was an instant success for the side last season, and remained part of the XI as they claimed the title.
He has yet to feature this term as the Giants have preferred Aayan Khan and Usman Khan as their two UAE players so far.
However, England quick Jordan is sure his young colleague will have a role to play at some point.
"Me and Sanchit have a great relationship from last season," Jordan said.
"Whenever I am working with more inexperienced guys, I take pleasure in sharing as much as possible.
"I know what it was like when I was younger and learning off senior players.
"Last season Sanchit kick-started our season in Abu Dhabi with a brilliant man-of-the-match performance.
"Coming into this one, I have seen a lot of improvement. The focus he is showing will only stand him in good stead."

If you go:
The flights: Etihad, Emirates, British Airways and Virgin all fly from the UAE to London from Dh2,700 return, including taxes
The tours: The Tour for Muggles usually runs several times a day, lasts about two-and-a-half hours and costs £14 (Dh67)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is on now at the Palace Theatre. Tickets need booking significantly in advance
Entrance to the Harry Potter exhibition at the House of MinaLima is free
The hotel: The grand, 1909-built Strand Palace Hotel is in a handy location near the Theatre District and several of the key Harry Potter filming and inspiration sites. The family rooms are spacious, with sofa beds that can accommodate children, and wooden shutters that keep out the light at night. Rooms cost from £170 (Dh808).

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 

Company profile

Company: Zywa
Started: 2021
Founders: Nuha Hashem and Alok Kumar
Based: UAE
Industry: FinTech
Funding size: $3m
Company valuation: $30m

WE NO LONGER PREFER MOUNTAINS

Director: Inas Halabi

Starring: Nijmeh Hamdan, Kamal Kayouf, Sheikh Najib Alou

Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: seven-speed

Power: 720hp

Torque: 770Nm

Price: Dh1,100,000

On sale: now

Profile of MoneyFellows

Founder: Ahmed Wadi

Launched: 2016

Employees: 76

Financing stage: Series A ($4 million)

Investors: Partech, Sawari Ventures, 500 Startups, Dubai Angel Investors, Phoenician Fund

Women’s Asia Cup

Sylhet, Bangladesh

UAE results
Lost to Sri Lanka by 11 runs

UAE fixtures
Tue Oct 4, v India
Wed Oct 5, v Malaysia
Fri Oct 7, v Thailand
Sun Oct 9, v Pakistan
Tue Oct 11, v Bangladesh

Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva

Director: Ayan Mukerji

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Result

2.15pm: Maiden Dh75,000 1,950m; Winner: Majestic Thunder, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Satish Seemar (trainer).

2.45pm: Handicap Dh80,000 1,800m; Winner: Tailor’s Row, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer.

3.15pm: Handicap Dh85,000 1,600m; Winner: Native Appeal, Adam McLean, Doug Watson.

3.45pm: Handicap Dh115,000 1,950m; Winner: Conclusion, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi.

4.15pm: Handicap Dh100,000 1,400m; Winner: Pilgrim’s Treasure, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar.

4.45pm: Maiden Dh75,000 1,400m; Winner: Sanad Libya, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

5.15pm: Handicap Dh90,000 1,000m; Winner: Midlander, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar


Abtal

Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      Abtal