Enquiry launched into Saudi Arabia’s ‘disappointing’ handball exit at Asian Games

The Saudi Arabian Handball Federation will undertake an enquiry into the national team’s disappointing exit from the Asian Games. (Asian Games)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Enquiry launched into Saudi Arabia’s ‘disappointing’ handball exit at Asian Games

  • The Kingdom drew 20-20 with Iraq on Friday night, throwing away a lead late-on to finish third in their four-team group
  • Enquiry will look to ensure the absence of a repeat performance at the World Championships in five months’ time

JAKARTA: The Saudi Arabian Handball Federation will undertake an enquiry into the national team’s disappointing exit from the Asian Games in a bid to ensure the absence of a repeat performance at the World Championships in five months’ time.
The Kingdom drew 20-20 with Iraq on Friday night, throwing away a lead late-on to finish third in their four-team group, behind world champions Qatar and Japan.

Wednesday’s defeat to Qatar was expected, but having drawn with Japan on Monday, victory over Iraq was essential to progress and coach Mariano Ortega’s experienced team came up well short.
“We are very disappointed,” Muhanna Al-Qamous, the team manager, told Arab News after a match in which two of his players were also disqualified. “Iraq were good, but our performance was the worst we have played in four years. Terrible. Now we must go home and study what happened and why and make some decisions.
“We are still hurting, so nothing will be decided yet. We are not reactionary. We will not change personnel, but maybe we were not prepared in the correct way. We must study and find out what the problem was because it was not clear. The federation will have an enquiry and there will be many meetings about this. We must ensure it is corrected before the World Championships and the Asian Championships too.”
Handball’s global showpiece will take place in Germany and Denmark next January, while the Tokyo 2020 qualification tournament for Asia is scheduled for October next year. Al-Qamous had arrived in Indonesia in confident spirits, speaking of a semifinal appearance, but warning of the need to beat Japan in their opening game. He called it “crucial” and spoke of it pitfalls if they failed to win. Saudi conceded twice in the final 96 seconds to tie 26-26.
“The first game against Japan ruined our plans and we never recovered from that setback,” he said on Saturday.
“It was not what we expected and we are not happy. Maybe our preparation has not been good enough; maybe because our coach arrived only in July, our players did not have much time to adapt to his style and philosophy. Maybe maybe maybe. We will analyze.
“Anyway, it is done. The Asian Games were not good for us, but we have a plan and will continue on our path. We must ensure it never happens again.”
Saudi Arabia will fly home on Monday after contesting the fifth-place playoff against Iran this afternoon. It is little surprise the desire to be involved is minimal, but Al-Qamous is banking on his side’s experience seeing them through.
“We play Iran for fifth, but speaking honestly, the motivation levels are not the same as they would be for a semifinal,” he said. “The players are familiar with the situation, the ups and downs of winning and losing, so it should not be a problem, but of course, we are not happy to be involved in this match.”
In Monday’s semifinals, Qatar will meet Korea, who beat Iran 34-28 to squeeze through from Group 2, while Japan will face Bahrain . The final is on Friday, by which time the Saudi delegation will be back on home soil and the investigation will be well underway.


Australia crush England to reach World Cup semifinals

Updated 25 June 2019
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Australia crush England to reach World Cup semifinals

  • Finch made exactly 100 in a total of 285-7 before England slumped to 221 all out with 32 balls left
  • The recalled Behrendorff took 5-44, while Starc became the leading bowler at the tournament with 19 scalps thanks to a haul of 4-43

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch hit a hundred before left-arm quicks Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc shared nine wickets as the reigning champions thumped England by 64 runs at Lord’s on Tuesday to book their place in the semifinals of the World Cup.
Finch made exactly 100 in a total of 285-7 before England slumped to 221 all out with 32 balls left.
The recalled Behrendorff took 5-44 — his first five-wicket haul in a one-day international — while Starc became the leading bowler at the tournament with 19 scalps thanks to a haul of 4-43.
For England, who entered the showpiece event as the top-ranked side in ODI cricket, this was a second straight defeat after their shock 20-run loss to Sri Lanka.
The host nation, bidding to win a first World Cup title, can still qualify for the semifinals but they are likely to need to beat at least one of India and New Zealand in their remaining two group games.
“There are teams that you have confidence playing against but I have had plenty of low scores against England as well,” said man-of-the-match Finch.
“It was nipping around first thing. We were as tight as we could be and then took advantage of any width.”
England’s reply saw them lose a wicket off just the second ball of their chase, with the struggling James Vince — only playing because Jason Roy was out with a hamstring injury — bowled by a Behrendorff inswinger.
Starc then took two wickets in nine balls.
Test skipper Joe Root was plumb lbw to an inswinger for eight before England captain Eoin Morgan (four) fell into a hooking trap when a top-edge was held safely by Pat Cummins at fine leg.
Australia, who had lost 10 of their previous 11 ODIS against England, were in complete charge with the hosts now 26-3.
England have surged to the top of the ODI rankings on the back of aggressive run-scoring but the worry for Morgan’s men is that too many of their top-order appear to know only one way to bat. Jonny Bairstow, for example, fell next to a careless hook off Behrendorff before Stokes and Jos Buttler (25) repaired some of the damage with a fifth-wicket stand of 71.
Buttler was well caught by Usman Khawaja, running round and staying just inside the deep square leg boundary off Marcus Stoinis.
Stokes defiantly hit Glenn Maxwell for two sixes in three balls but, shortly before completing his fifty, the all-rounder pulled up with a calf injury.
Starc was brought back to take a key wicket and duly obliged with a thunderbolt yorker, his 18th wicket of the tournament, that ended Stokes’s 115-ball innings of 89, including eight fours and two sixes.
Stokes’s dismissal left England 177-6 in the 37th over and effectively ended the contest. Starc ended the match when he dismissed Adil Rashid.
Earlier Finch, dropped on 15, and fellow opener David Warner (53) came through some testing early overs to share a stand of 123 as too many of England’s pacemen, with the exception of Chris Woakes, dropped short.
The skipper’s exit sparked a late flurry of wickets but Australia had enough runs on the board.
Both Warner, the World Cup’s leading run-scorer, and Steve Smith were booed as they entered and exited the field following their recent return from year-long bans for ball-tampering.
Finch went to his century thanks to a misfield by Woakes but next ball he miscued a hook off Jofra Archer and Woakes held the catch at fine leg.
The skipper faced 116 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes in his second century of this World Cup following his 153 against Sri Lanka.