Proteas lose de Kock, du Plessis early in World Cup match against New Zealand

Proteas lose de Kock, du Plessis early in World Cup match against New Zealand

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29071381

South Africa were 66 for the loss of two wickets after 18 overs after the early exit of Quinton de Kock and captain Faf du Plessis in their World Cup group match against New Zealand on Wednesday in Edgbaston.

New Zealand had won the toss — that was delayed by 90 minutes due to a wet outfield — and put the Proteas to the bat.

After a pitch inspection at 10.15am local time, umpires Nigel Llong and Ian Gould will inspect the pitch again at 11am. Conditions have been overcast, and there's the possibility of light rain later this morning, but the weather forecast for the rest of the day at Edgbaston is good.

The 25th game of this World Cup is Edgbaston's first. The popular Birmingham venue, where the lively atmosphere can reach soccer-style levels, hosts five games in total, including the second semifinal on July 11.

South Africa is under pressure to beat New Zealand as the teams continue their combined 88-year quest for a Cricket World Cup title when they meet at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

The South Africans must win to keep alive any realistic hope of a semifinal spot, following defeats to England, Bangladesh and India. Unbeaten New Zealand will leapfrog England and Australia to go top of the 10-team standings with a win.

Since the first edition of the tournament in 1975, South Africa has been a four-time semifinalist but never made the final. New Zealand lost the 2015 final to archrival Australia after beating South Africa in a classic semifinal in Auckland.

South Africa quick Lungi Ngidi is set to return after recovering from a hamstring injury, while opener Amla is 24 runs away from becoming the fourth Proteas player to reach 8,000 ODI runs.
Bangladesh needs rare win over Australia to help semi hopes

Bangladesh needs rare win over Australia to help semi hopes

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29070912

angladesh doesn't have to knock off Australia on Thursday to reach the Cricket World Cup semifinals. It would be a massive step in that direction if it did, though.

To break up the leading four of England, Australia, New Zealand and India, Bangladesh ought to beat at least one of them.

Chances were missed against New Zealand and England, the only two losses in five group games for Bangladesh so far.

Australia is the next chance, at Trent Bridge.

Bangladesh has only one win against Australia in 20 one-day internationals, in 2005 in Cardiff. Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza is the only survivor from either side. He trapped Australia opener Adam Gilchrist for a duck.

Australia reacted to the shock defeat a week later by crushing Bangladesh by 10 wickets with 31 overs to spare. The Australians haven't lost to Bangladesh again, and never in the World Cup, and the odds are strong the streak will continue on Thursday.

But this isn't the once-in-a-blue-moon Bangladesh of old. The players are breathing rarefied air at this World Cup. They posted their highest ODI score of 330 in their World Cup opener, and South Africa was flattered to get within 21 runs of them. They went on to achieve their highest run chase, reaching 322 to demoralize the West Indies by seven wickets with eight overs left.

Mashrafe, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Bangladesh's top five ODI appearance-makers with nearly a combined 1,000 have been the backbone of the team's rise to respectability. They are playing their last World Cup together and enjoying rolling the dice.

So far, so good.

With able support from Mohammad Saifuddin (nine wickets), Mustafizur Rahman (seven wickets), and off the bench Liton Das (a 94 not out), Bangladesh has growing belief that it has the depth and the fight to go far.

But Australia is also in high spirits, bolstered by the return to fitness of Nathan Coulter-Nile and, especially, allrounder Marcus Stoinis.

He strained his left side while bowling against India 10 days ago and missed the wins against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Mitch Marsh was summoned on standby as a like-for-like replacement for Stoinis, but he was sent back on Tuesday to join Australia's A side on tour in the United Kingdom.

Marsh became surplus after Stoinis bowled for an hour on Tuesday to prove he's recovered.

Australia welcomed the sight, because the absence of the team's sole allrounder unbalanced the side and made them leave out specialist spinners Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.

Part-time spinners Glenn Maxwell and captain Aaron Finch were employed, and Australia got away with it against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“We need to be a flexible squad to win a World Cup,” assistant coach Brad Haddin says.

“We make sure each and every player is ready for game day. One of the luxuries at the moment is we're still winning, and we still haven't found the perfect rhythm for our game, which is a dangerous sign.”

The Australians brought in left-arm spinner Ashton Agar from the A squad this week to bowl at the top order and remind them how Shakib, who has five wickets, plays.

Australia is coming.

But Bangladesh is coming, too.
Wood hails 'amazing' Morgan after Afghanistan demolition

Wood hails 'amazing' Morgan after Afghanistan demolition

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29070239

Fast bowler Mark Wood prefers putting his feet up in the dressing room before his bowling workload but he made an exception on Tuesday to witness an astonishing display of power-hitting by captain Eoin Morgan in Manchester.

Morgan smashed an astounding 17 sixes - a new one-day international record - as part of a game-changing knock of 148 from 71 deliveries against Afghanistan as England cruised home to a convincing 150-run victory.

Wood believes Morgan's audacious ball striking, which helped England to a massive 397-6, sums up the team's fearless approach to one-day cricket in recent years.

“It was amazing, amazing,” Wood told reporters. “Coming off his back injury scare and stuff, and not knowing how he would play or feel, I was just astounded by how well he played.

“A lot of the bowlers tend to sit in the back of the dressing room and try and relax but even I came out and watched that because it was great to see on such a big occasion.

“I know we've played like this for four years now, and there's been some remarkable things, but to do it in a World Cup game speaks volumes about how Eoin wants the team to play and the values we've kept going throughout those four years.”

England are peaking at the right time in the tournament and have put their sole defeat by Pakistan well behind them.

Morgan's men have stepped up with bat and ball. Four of their batsmen have hit hundreds so far - no other team have more than two - and the new-ball pairing of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood have claimed 21 wickets between them.

But for now the England bowlers are happy to slip under the radar and let the batsmen hog the limelight.

“I thought today, collectively, we bowled really well,” added Wood, who took two wickets against the Afghans while Archer and spinner Adil Rashid both picked up three each.

“It's nice to go under the radar, I guess, a little bit. The batters can do the fireworks and we can go just go about the things we've been doing well.” England next face Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday, before taking on champions Australia at Lord's on Tuesday.
Holder glum after  West Indies’ latest defeat

Holder glum after West Indies’ latest defeat

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29069866

TAUNTON: Jason Holder conceded on Monday the West Indies face a tough task to reach the World Cup semi-finals after their dismal seven-wicket defeat against Bangladesh.

Holder’s side fell victim to the second highest run chase in World Cup history as Bangladesh reached 322-3 with 8.3 overs to spare at Taunton.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Holder after they had posted a solid 321-8, only to implode with a combination of woeful fielding and sloppy bowling.

The West Indies have lost three of their five matches and, with four games left, captain Holder conceded there is only a slim chance they can make the semi-finals in the 10-team tournament.

“It’s looking tough at this present moment, but it’s not impossible. We have to play every game here now as a final,” Holder said. “We’ve got to win every game left to give ourselves a really good chance.”

New Zealand and India, both in fine form, are the West Indies’ next two opponents and they must beat both to remain in contention.

“If we want to go through into the semi-finals we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Holder said. “We’ve got to back ourselves and be more clinical with the ball. A few top edges didn’t go our way, but we didn’t help ourselves as well. We’ve also got to score more runs because we haven’t got a batsman with a hundred yet.

“I thought with the pitch dimensions we could have got 365-375 but we were well short, 40 or 50 runs.“

Meanwhile, West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick has warned his side the time for excuses is over after defeat to Bangladesh left their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.

The Caribbean team started their campaign in England and Wales in impressive style, beating Pakistan by seven wickets but have since lost to Australia, England and Bangladesh.

With games to come against fancied New Zealand and Virat Kohli’s powerful India, the West Indies’ chances of progressing to the semi-finals look bleak.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019
South Africa urged to stay cool as pressure mounts

South Africa urged to stay cool as pressure mounts

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29069982

BIRMINGHAM: Quin­ton de Kock has told his South Africa team-mates to keep their heads when they face New Zealand in a must-win World Cup match on Wednesday.

South Africa’s hopes of making the semi-finals would effectively be over if they lose at Edgbaston after a wretched start to the tournament.

Defeats to England, Bangladesh and India have left South Africa wicket-keeper/batsman de Kock billing the New Zealand match as a ‘quarter-final’.

A nine-wicket victory over Afghanistan on Saturday was their first win in this World Cup in England and Wales.

The Proteas cannot afford any more slip-ups in their remaining games against New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia if they are to maintain slender hopes of a semi-final berth.

De Kock admits South Africa’s chances of avoiding an embarrassingly early elimination will be wrecked if they do not cope with the stress of playing in a do-or-die situation.

“Obviously it’s a big game for us but, in saying that, our next three or four games that we have, they are all going to be big games for us for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

“We’re just going to have to go out there, keep our heads steady and play freely.

“Tomorrow is a quarter-final, I guess you could say it, but if we do win it, then it’s another big game again.

“We have to win all the games, not just focus on tomorrow. But in saying that, we know how good New Zealand are playing at the moment. They are a big team in World Cups. They always seem to step up.”

Unbeaten New Zealand are favourites to push South Africa towards the World Cup exit door and de Kock admits morale among Faf du Plessis’s squad has not been as high as he would like.

But he hopes the comprehensive victory against minnows Afghanistan last Saturday will provide a much-needed spark in the nick of time.

“I think before our first game that we played against England, we were in a pretty good space also then, mentally and with our preparation,” he said. “Then obviously, during the course of the tournament, obviously after losing all the time, there’s always a bit of a slump in being mentally strong.

“Getting a win again has given us high hopes. It just becomes a mental game at a World Cup, trying to deal with all the pressures and stuff.

“We’ve put a lot of emphasis on our energy going into the games, and the situation we’re in right now, our energy needs to be better than ever.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand pace bowler Trent Boult has warned his side not to underestimate ‘hungry’ South Africa.

The Black Caps will go top of the World Cup group table if they beat South Africa at Edgbaston.

But the Proteas know they cannot afford another defeat if they want to maintain their slender hopes of a semi-final place.

“It’s a must-win in their tournament,” Boult said. “We’re looking forward to facing them and I am sure they are eager and hungry to put in a good performance, because it’s a big one for them.”

The stakes are not as high as in their meetings at the past two World Cups, with New Zealand winning the quarter-final clash in 2011 and a semi-final showdown in 2015.

NEW ZEALAND’S Trent Boult bats in the nets during  a practice session on Tuesday.—AFP
NEW ZEALAND’S Trent Boult bats in the nets during a practice session on Tuesday.—AFP

Boult has fond memories of New Zealand’s run to the World Cup final four years ago and hopes his team can make another strong showing in the current edition.

“There have always been exciting games between New Zealand and South Africa over the past World Cups, and the last time that we met each other in 2015, the semi-final at Eden Park, was one of the greatest games that the Kiwis have played,” he said.

“It obviously got a lot of attention back home and it was a cool one to be a part of. It’s a chance for us to go out there and perform and show we can bring the game and the style that we play back home in New Zealand very well, to test it against quality players in foreign conditions on a big stage, so we can’t wait.”

Unbeaten New Zealand have defeated Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan so far in the tournament, with their game against India washed out.

The impressive form of Boult and his fellow pace bowlers Matthew Henry and Lockie Ferguson has been key to each victory.

“As a unit we’ve been going really well. With the ball, we’ve put it where we wanted and we’ve put a lot of pressure on the teams that we’ve come up against,” Boult said. “If we can continue to do it as a unit and obviously give us some lower totals to chase, then I will be happy.

“I think we’ve been lucky enough to be on a couple of new surfaces that have offered a lot to our style of bowling.”

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019
Proteas lag far behind Black Caps in mega event

Proteas lag far behind Black Caps in mega event

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29069983

KARACHI: New Zealand have only once managed to reach the World Cup final at the expense of South Africa against whom they enjoy a clear-cut advantage with five wins out of seven fixtures these teams have played in the history of the mega event.

The last time they met the Proteas left the Eden Park in Auckland smarting after the Black Caps sealed a sensational win in the semi-final during the 2015 World Cup.

South Africa posted 281-5 — after the match had by curtailed by rain to 43 overs — after late onslaught from captain A.B. de Villiers (unbeaten 65 off 45 balls) and David Miller (49 from just 18 balls).

Under the Duckworth-Lewis method of calculations, New Zealand were chasing 298 and chased they did as Grant Elliott played the innings of his life to carry his adopted country to victory against the country of his birth. The Johannesburg-born right-hander struck a half-fit Dale Steyn for a six on the penultimate ball of a pulsating encounter while ending on 84 off 73 deliveries and New Zealand 299-6 after putting on 103 with Corey Anderson (58).

The first time New Zealand faced South Africa was during the 1992 World Cup as the co-hosts eased to a seven-wicket win on the back of a first-wicket stand of 114 between Mark Greatbatch and Rod Latham — father of current New Zealand wicket-keeper Tom — after Peter Kirsten had scored a fighting 90 in South Africa’s modest tally of 190-7 in their 50 overs.

South Africa won the pool fixture of the 1996 World Cup at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad after restricting New Zealand to 177-9. Skipper Hansie Cronje led the chase with a breezy 64-ball 78 as the Proteas got home with more than 12 overs to spare.

The Cronje-led side emerged victorious once again during the Super Six game at Edgbaston — the venue of Wednesday’s match in this World Cup — by 74 runs after Gary Kirsten (82) and Herschelle Gibbs (91) had set a solid platform in partnership of 176 for the first wicket to help their post 287-5 in 50 overs.

Jacques Kallis, the greatest all-rounder in South African cricket, starred with a 36-ball 53 not out and an economical six-over spell of 2-15.

Gibbs played a stupendous knock of 143 off 141 balls to lift South Africa to 306-6 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg during the 2003 tournament, while thinking they had done enough to wrap up the match.

But the spirited New Zealanders made the revised target of 226 from 39 overs look ridiculous after rain had interrupted play thanks to Stephen Fleming’s inspirational innings of 134 from 132 balls which contained 21 boundaries as the skipper shared an unbroken partnership of 140 with Nathan Astle (54).

Four year on New Zealand maintained their winning run as they won a low-scoring Super Eights clash at the National Cricket Stadium in St George’s, Grenada with Craig McMillan (3-23 and 38 not out) taking the man-of-the-match honours.

South Africa’s aspirations of qualifying for the last-four stage of the 2011 were dashed by another efficient teamwork from the Black Caps. The quarter-final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka saw New Zealand inched their way to 221-8 after being 130-2 when Jesse Ryder (83) and Ross Taylor (43) had built a partnership of 114.

South Africa’s reply started well but sudden capitulation saw them lose the last seven wickets in the space of 51 runs and straight on the homeward flight as the gentle seamers of all-rounder Jacob Oram (4-39 in nine overs) led New Zealand to a 49-run triumph.

Head-to-head summary:

Feb 29, 1992 — Auckland, New Zealand won by seven wickets

Feb 20, 1996 — Faisalabad, South Africa won by five wickets

June 10, 1999 — Edgbaston, South Africa won by 74 runs

Feb 16, 2003 — Johannesburg, New Zealand won by nine wickets

April 14, 2007 — St George’s, New Zealand won by five wickets

March 25, 2011 — Dhaka, New Zealand won by 49 runs

March 24, 2015 — Auckland, New Zealand won by four wickets (D/L Method).

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019
‘Warner to regain old touch’

‘Warner to regain old touch’

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29069986

MUMBAI: David Warner is not playing his usual attacking game in the ongoing ICC World Cup, but former Australian opener Michael Slater feels that once the conditions become favourable, the swashbuckling batsman will gain more confidence and get back his old touch.

The 32-year-old left-handed Warner, winner of the Orange Cap in the IPL 2019, is among the top five run-getters so far with a tally of 281 in the World Cup in England and Wales.”I think this is the new David Warner, he is more of a thinking cricketer now and I don’t know if this serves him well. He has been adjusting to the conditions and has understood his role better,” said Slater in a media release on Tuesday.

Warner, back in the Australian side after serving a year-long ban in connection with the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, slammed a match-winning 107 against Pakistan at County Ground in Taunton last week. He also hit half-centuries against Afghanistan and India.

“The way he [Warner] played according to the situation against Pakistan, [Aaron] Finch was the aggressor and he tapped into the conditions to grind his way to a century,” Slater said.

“He won the Orange Cap in the IPL, so I think once the sun starts showing up more and when things quicken up he will gain more confidence and we will see the old Warner back,” added Slater, who played 74 Tests and 42 ODIs. Australia face Bangladesh next at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019
Team management responsible for Pakistan’s poor show: Intikhab Alam

Team management responsible for Pakistan’s poor show: Intikhab Alam

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29069984

LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam on Tuesday slammed national team’s poor performance in the ongoing World Cup, especially against traditional rivals India, and demanded an immediate inquiry against the players who have been allegedly seen enjoying themselves in a shisha cafe the night before the Pakistan-India match.

“It seems that the team management has totally failed to make a comprehensive plan for the World Cup,” said Intikhab while speaking to Dawn on Tuesday. “They should have a solid strategy against each team, complete knowledge about the kind of pitches in the mega event, the weather conditions and weaknesses and strengths of their rivals. Sadly, none of that has been on display and the performances of the Pakistan team so far shows that no comprehensive gameplan was ever in place,” he lamented.

“Just how could the team management justify the decision of bowling first after winning the toss against Australia and then in the crucial match against India,” asked the former all-rounder. “How can the management defend its decision of playing four spinners against India who are very comfortable against slow bowlers.”

Former skipper lashes out at Inzamam’s needless presence in England

India crushed Pakistan by 89 runs in Manchester on Sunday on Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-hit, showpiece match of the World Cup to keep intact its unbeaten record against their arch-rivals in the World Cups.

Intikhab further said that among the top three batsmen, at least one or two had to play big knocks and build the innings around them in order to pile up a sizeable score for the opposition. “But no such plan or methodical approach has been witnessed in the batting.”

He also questioned the presence of chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq in England and said it was the mistake of the PCB to allow him to stay in England on Board’s expense.

“Once the selection committee has selected the team, the captain and coach take over to select the playing eleven and decide on the tour matters,” said Intikhab. “So what is the role of Inzamam-ul-Haq there and why has the PCB allowed him to go on official visit and interfere,” he questioned.

He lamented that that surprisingly the Pakistani bowlers failed to pitch the balls in right areas and there were no yorkers sent down to the Indian batsmen.

Commenting on the media reports that Shoaib Malik, one of the senior most players in the Pakistan team, alongwith opener Imam-ul-Haq, Wahab Riaz and others broke the curfew time and were found in a shisha cafe late in the night, Intikhab said it should not have happened. “It is wrong as the players are on their national duty and there must be a discipline to be followed strictly,” he emphasised. “Though the PCB has claimed that the event happened two days before the crucial match against India, even then no one could justify the late stay of the players in a cafe as there are certain timings to be observed.

“The players could have their dinner at any hotel maximum by 11pm not beyond that. The PCB should hold an inquiry to penalise the players involved,” he demanded.

According to the media report the above said players remained in the cafe late 2am on Sunday. However, the PCB claimed it happened two days before the match against India and the time was wrongly reported as 2am as no curfew timing was flouted.

To a question, Intikhab said Pakistan have a hard job ahead to qualify for the semi-final as it will not only required them to win all the remaining four matches but it will also be depending on the results of the other teams’ matches.

He also expressed his disappointment that the seniors players could not perform well and added that the decision of the selectors and the team management to go with experienced players, despite their poor performance in the last one year, had proved utterly wrong. “Shoaib Malik, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Hafeez needed to play positively and lead from the front but ironically they have all failed to do so.

Intikhab also praised the fine win by Bangladesh against West Indies.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019
Sri Lanka warned after media no-show

Sri Lanka warned after media no-show

19/06/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29069985

MANCHESTER: Sri Lanka have been warned against a repeat of their no-show in the customary post-match news conference following their World Cup loss to Australia, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said late on Monday.

The 1996 champions did not send a representative after their defeat on Saturday in a breach of protocol, an official of the ICC said.

The governing body lodged a complaint with SLC, which has instructed the team to comply with their media obligations. “Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce that, contrary to various media reports, there won’t be any sanctions imposed on the Sri Lanka team by the ICC...” SLC said in a statement.

“Sri Lanka Cricket discussed Saturday’s incident with the ICC and assured that a similar situation will not occur going forward in the tournament.

“The SLC also advised the team management to comply with the obligations...” it added.

Sri Lanka, who have won one of their five matches and are sixth in the standings, last week complained to organisers about having to play on bowler-friendly pitches and were also unhappy with the quality of their accommodation.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019