Belligerent Bangladesh add to South Africa’s agony

Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim hits a shot over South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, right, on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 02 June 2019
0

Belligerent Bangladesh add to South Africa’s agony

  • The second straight defeat leaves Proteas with little margin for error in the rest of the group stage

LONDON: Bangladesh made the perfect start to their World Cup campaign as their highest One-Day International score inspired a 21-run win over a beleaguered South Africa on Sunday.

Mashrafe Mortaza's side posted 330 for six as Mushfiqur Rahim (78) and Shakib Al Hasan (75) laid the foundations of their impressive display at the Oval.

Mahmudullah's boisterous 46 not out from 33 balls pushed Bangladesh past their previous highest ODI total of 329 for six against Pakistan in 2015.

Attempting to become the first team to successfully chase more than 330 to win a World Cup match, South Africa's bid to rewrite the record books fell short at 309 for eight.

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis scored 62 from 53 balls, but Bangladesh seamer Mustafizur Rahman took three wickets and economical spinners Shakib and Mehidy Hasan wrapped up a memorable victory.

After reaching the World Cup quarterfinals in 2015, Bangladesh once again look capable of shaking up cricket's established order, much to the delight of their army of vociferous supporters who packed the Oval.

"It will be one of our top wins," said Shakib at the presentation ceremony.

"We have done some upsets at World Cups but we want to prove something at this tournament."

In contrast, South Africa are in turmoil after du Plessis' decision to bowl first backfired despite two wickets from veteran spinner Imran Tahir in his 100th ODI appearance.

With the World Cup just four days old, they have already lost twice in south London — this disappointing performance coming hot on the heels of their 104-run thrashing by hosts England in the tournament opener.

South Africa, who have never won the World Cup, are left with little margin for error in the rest of the 10-team group stage, which sees each country play nine matches.

It will not get any easier for Du Plessis' troubled side in their next match when they face title contenders India on Wednesday.

Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram needed to get South Africa's chase off to a fast start and they reached 49 before a disastrous blunder sent them spiralling towards defeat.

De Kock was run out for 23 after being rashly called for a single by Markram, whose partner's edge was fumbled by Mushfiqur before the wicket-keeper recovered to throw out the opener.

That brought du Plessis to the crease and together with Markram he put on 53 in 60 balls.

But Shakib curtailed that partnership when his perfectly-flighted delivery bowled Markham for 45 to leave South Africa 102 for two in the 20th over.

That made Shakib just the fifth player to score 5,000 runs and take 250 wickets in ODIs.

Du Plessis got to 50 off 45 balls, reaching the milestone with a six off Mosaddek Hossain.

But that blast got du Plessis' adrenaline flowing too fast and a charge at Mehidy saw him bowled after he misjudged the flight.

David Miller's lofted shot was dropped by Soumya Sarkar at mid-off and he escaped again when Mahmudullah could not  grab his mistimed drive.

However, Miller's luck ran out when he was caught by Mehidy off Mustafizur for 38 to leave the Proteas in disarray.


Refugee swimmer Mardini rising fast after fleeing war

Updated 21 July 2019
0

Refugee swimmer Mardini rising fast after fleeing war

  • Mardini’s time was more than 12 seconds slower than that of reigning champion Sarah Sjostrom and 47th overall
  • Mardini famously competed at the Rio Olympics under the refugee flag

GWANGJU, South Korea: Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, who almost drowned at sea fleeing her war-torn country four years ago, heaved a deep sigh after failing to set a personal best at the world swimming championships on Sunday.
Representing FINA’s independent athletes team, the 21-year-old looked up at the giant scoreboard and winced at her time of 1min 8.79sec in the 100 meters butterfly heats in South Korea.
“I’m not very happy actually,” Mardini told AFP.
“I had some problems with my shoulder but I’m back in training. I still have the 100m freestyle and I’m looking forward to that.”
Mardini’s time was more than 12 seconds slower than that of reigning champion Sarah Sjostrom and 47th overall, but she has come a long way since risking her life crossing from Izmir in Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos in the summer of 2015.
Thirty minutes into that treacherous journey, the motor on their dinghy cut out and the tiny vessel, carrying 20 people rather than the six or seven it was designed for, threatened to capsize.
As the only people who could swim, Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped into the water to push and pull the stricken dinghy for over three hours until they finally reached the shore.
“I arrived in Greece in only jeans and a T-shirt,” said Mardini, who also swims in the 100m freestyle later this week. “Even my shoes were gone.”
Mardini famously competed at the Rio Olympics a year later under the refugee flag.
“In the beginning I refused to be in a refugee team because I was afraid people would think I got the chance because of my story,” said Mardini, who now lives with her family in Berlin.
“I wanted to earn it. But then I realized I had a big opportunity to represent those people — so I took the chance and I never regretted it,” she added.
“Rio was amazing. It was really exciting to see the reaction of people to the team. Now I’m representing millions of displaced people around the world and it really makes me proud.”
It is a far cry from life back in Syria, where rocket strikes would often shake the pool she trained at in Damascus.
“There were bomb attacks sometimes that would crack the windows around the pool,” said Mardini, who has addressed the United Nations general assembly and whose story is set to be told in a Hollywood movie.
“We were scared the whole time.”
Fellow Syrian Ayman Kelzieh was also forced to flee the country before competing at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Returning to Korea five years later, the 26-year-old now owns a fistful of national swim records, including the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly.
“When the war started I had just moved to Damascus and I couldn’t get back home to Aleppo,” said Kelzieh, who now lives on the Thai island of Phuket.
“But even in Damascus bombs sometimes even went off at the swimming pool we trained at,” he added after taking a poolside selfie with his idol, South African star Chad le Clos.
“There were even attacks at the hotel I stayed in — I was lucky.”