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

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.


Saudi Cup: All eyes on Riyadh as the world’s most valuable horse race debuts

Updated 29 February 2020

Saudi Cup: All eyes on Riyadh as the world’s most valuable horse race debuts

  • As Saudi Arabia embarks on a new sporting era, a stellar line-up chases a record $29.2 million in prize money — and a place in history

RIYADH: When the gates of King Abdul Aziz Racetrack open at noon on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, it will usher in a new era for sports and entertainment in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable horse race is finally here — and not for the first time in recent years the eyes of the sporting world will turn to the Kingdom.

The numbers tell their own story: Eight races, a total purse of $29.2 million.

Prize money for the main event and final race of the day, the Saudi Cup, will be a record-breaking $20 million, with the winner taking home $10 million and the rest of the field sharing $6.5 million.

The line-up features a formidable American presence, including the highly rated Maximum Security and the Bob Baffert-trained duo of McKinzie and Mucho Gusto, but there will be significant regional interest as well.

Prince Khalid bin Abdullah, owner of the Juddmonte Farms breeding operation, will watch his own horse, Tacitus, take on the strong field in the Saudi Cup. “This is like the icing on the cake to be able to be here and participate in this race,” said trainer Bill Mott of Tacitus.

“It’s exciting. The great connections I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be involved with at Juddmonte wanted to participate in (the Saudi Cup) and they’re excited as well.”

The Saudi Cup will also feature Godolphin’s six-year-old Benbatl, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who will also have pupil Final Song running earlier in the Samba Saudi Derby. A win for Benbatl, son of the famous Dubawi, will raise his career earnings to more than $15.7 million.

“It would mean a lot for us to win,” bin Suroor said. “It is the first-ever Saudi Cup and the first big international race in Saudi Arabia. It is a very important race and it will be important for us to see him run well and win. He has been a very good Group 1 horse for us and very versatile. I’m very happy with him and I think he will have a good run.”

In the run-up to the headline event, seven other races, with combined prize money of $9.2 million, will take place in front of the magnificent 5,000- seat main grandstand. VIPs and members of the public arriving at the Golden Entrance will have plenty of time to acquaint themselves with the different facilities and services of the track, which include the Saudi Cup Pavilion, the Red Sea Pavilion, the Main and Saudi Cup Grandstands, the food court and picnic area, a tech zone and a children’s play area.

The first race of the day, the 2,100-meter Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup, will be run on turf at 4 p.m. local time. It will be followed by the stc 1351 Cup (1,351 meters), also on turf, at 4:35 p.m.

Meanwhile, Freddy Head, who has ridden and trained major winners all over the world, is hoping to add the inaugural running of the $2.5 million Longines Turf Handicap (5:10 p.m.) to his list of triumphs when he rides six-year-old Call The Wind.

“He is a very consistent horse,” said the trainer. “Last year was a bit frustrating, though. He was unlucky a couple of times and had to carry a lot of weight.

In France, when you win a Group 1 race, you have to carry a lot of weight.”

Head said:“I think it is a worldwide thing to have these big races. It changes the way we train and plan the racing career of a horse. I remember coming here many years ago to ride. It’s nice to come back with a horse and run in a big race. Hopefully, he runs well here and then he will go back to Dubai.”

At 5:45 p.m. the Obaiya Arabian Classic, for purebred Arabian horses, will run over 2,000 meters on the dirt track before a 45-minute break.

Visitors will have the chance to observe the Maghreb prayers at 5:56 p.m. before returning in time for the fifth race of the day, the Jockey Club Local Handicap at 6:30 p.m.

This will be followed at 7:10 p.m. by the 1,600-meter Samba Saudi Derby, before the Isha prayer at 7:26 p.m.

No doubt the excitement will have built to fever pitch by the time of the penultimate race, the Saudia Sprint.

Gladiator King, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi’s Dubai-based runner, will put his unbeaten 2020 record on the line in the 1,200-meter event — the same distance at which he won both his starts this year in Meydan’s Dubawi and Al-Shindagha Sprint.

The showpiece event of the day, the Saudi Cup, will be run on dirt over one lap of the 1,800-meter King Abdul Aziz Racetrack.

The one-meter-high Saudi Cup trophy and a cheque for $10 million awaits the winner. Along with a place in history.

Decoder

Saudi Cup

Billed as the richest on the planet with a prize fund of $20 million, its inaugural run is on Feb. 29 at the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Riyadh. The race, over a distance of nine furlongs (1,800 meters) on the dirt track, will have a maximum field of 14 starters.