Iraq brush past Yemen to set up Iran decider

raq's forward Mohanad Ali Kadhim Alshammari (C) atttempts a shot. (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Iraq brush past Yemen to set up Iran decider

  • Iraq to face rivals Iran to decide which side tops Group D.

LONDON: Iraq illustrated why they could go all the way with an impressive and assured 3-0 win over Yemen in Sharjah.
The Lions of Mesopotamia never looked anything but winners in the Group D clash, victory confirming their presence in the second round, with Wednesday’s match against Iran set to decide who tops the group.
In the very early stages Yemen took the game to the favorites but from the moment Iraq began to dominate possession there was only going to be one winner.
They soon put Yemen under pressure and it was no surprise when Muhanad Ali put Iraq in front after just 11 minutes.
Yemen goalkeeper Saoud Al-Sowadi found himself under incessant pressure, facing wave after wave of attacks. He and the Yemen defence were not able to keep out the Iraqis and Al-Saowadi conceded the second goal in the 19th minute when Bashar Resan Bonyan’s strike from the edge of the box bounced off the right post before hitting the back of the net.
Iraq took their foot off the pedal and allowed Yemen the chance of pulling one back — Ahmed Saeed’s right-footed shot from outside the box well saved by Jalal Hassan Hachim in the Iraq goal.
There was never any real chance of a comeback, however, and Srecko Katanec’s team made sure of the three points with a goal in the dying minutes. Alaa Abbas scoring with a left-footed shot from the centre of the box to wrap up victory.


Kane Williamson leads New Zealand to dramatic, last-over win against South Africa at Edgbaston

Updated 25 min 5 sec ago
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Kane Williamson leads New Zealand to dramatic, last-over win against South Africa at Edgbaston

  • Williamson and de Grandhomme joined with the total at 137-5 in reply to South Africa’s 241-6
  • The win moved New Zealand atop the standings

BIRMINGHAM: Kane Williamson hit a six in the last over to reach his century and followed it up with a boundary to give New Zealand a four-wicket victory over South Africa with three balls to spare Wednesday, in the closest finish of the Cricket World Cup so far.
New Zealand went into the last over at 234-6 and chasing 242 for victory. Andile Phehlukwayo’s first ball was sent for a single by Mitchell Santner, sensibly giving Williamson the strike, and the New Zealand captain immediately took his chance with a powerful six.
Williamson finished 106 not out off 138 balls as New Zealand reached 245-6 in a match reduced to 49 overs each innings.
He called it “a great game of cricket on a surface that was tough for both sides.”
The win moved New Zealand atop the standings and effectively put an end to South Africa’s chances of reaching the playoffs.
“I’m feeling five years older. My body is really sore after that,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said. “We left everything out there, and that’s all I can ask for as a captain, that the guys fought.”
So did Williamson, who was brilliantly supported and occasionally overshadowed by Colin de Grandhomme, who smashed a 47-ball 60, with five fours and two sixes. He impatiently holed out to du Plessis at long-off to a delivery from Lungi Ngidi at the start of the penultimate over — the 48th — while going for his third six.
Williamson and de Grandhomme joined with the total at 137-5 in reply to South Africa’s 241-6 off 49 overs, and their partnership was crucial in guiding New Zealand to its fourth win of the tournament.
The Black Caps now have nine points, one clear of top-ranked England and defending champion Australia. At the other end of the table, South Africa is almost certainly out of contention — in the first major shock of the 2019 edition — with only three points from six games.
The New Zealanders appeared content with the run chase ahead of them but the wicket was trickier than it appeared, and the chase far harder. Except for Williamson.
The Black Caps had kept an unchanged XI from its last completed match against Afghanistan on June 8. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi (1-47) returned from a hamstring injury in South Africa’s only change from its nine-wicket win over Afghanistan last Saturday.
Williamson won everything on Wednesday, including the toss. And while New Zealand failed to bowl out a team for the first time at the tournament, South Africa’s total appeared too little to test the Black Caps. Yet the result was in the balance until the end.
“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed. Cricket means a lot to me, and the performance of this team means a lot to me,” du Plessis said.
Hashim Amla reached a personal landmark as the second-quickest batsman with 8,000 runs in ODIs, but the 36-year-old opener again took his time with an 83-ball 55 before falling to Santner’s spin.
Amla shared a 50-run second-wicket partnership with du Plessis (23) and a 52-run third-wicket stand with Aiden Markram (38). But it was mostly slow going.
Rassie van der Dussen provided some late-innings impetus with an unbeaten 67 off 64 balls, with two fours and three sixes. David Miller scored a lively 36 from 37. The pair shared a partnership of 72.
Miller swung and hit intimidating quick Ferguson for a four to bring up the 200 at the start of the 45th over and clipped the pacer away for another boundary right after. Ferguson had the last laugh in the same over when Miller top edged deep to Trent Boult at third man.
Boult had bowled Quinton de Kock for 5 to win an early battle but finished on 1-63.
Ferguson did the most damage with 3-59 while Matt Henry bowled tightly, with two maidens, ending on 0-34.
Martin Guptill became the first New Zealander to be dismissed by hitting his own wicket in any Cricket World Cup tournament, dating back as far as 1975. In the end it didn’t matter.