South Africa picks up first point after washout

South Africa's Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock walk off the field as rain stops play. (Reuters)
Updated 11 June 2019

South Africa picks up first point after washout

  • South Africa retains some hope of qualifying for the semifinals

SOUTHAMPTON:Faf du Plessis can take some positives out of a washout at the Cricket World Cup: South Africa picked up a point against West Indies and ended a three-game losing streak.

And with it, the South Africans retained some hope of qualifying for the semifinals, despite originally estimating they would need to win their last six group games to advance. The first of their remaining five games is on Saturday against Afghanistan in Cardiff.

Only 7.3 overs were bowled at Hampshire’s Rose Bowl on Monday after West Indies skipper Jason Holder won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat, expecting the Duckworth-Lewis run-rate calculator to come into play with heavy rain in the forecast.

West Indies paceman Sheldon Cottrell twice got to use his trademark wicket celebration — the military-style salute — when he had Hashim Amla (6) caught by Chris Gayle at slip and Aiden Markram (5) caught behind. South Africa was struggling at 29-2 when play was suspended and the wicket square covered.

South Africa opener Quinton de Kock was unbeaten on 17 and du Plessis was not out without scoring.

Rain continued intermittently and there was no further play.

Du Plessis said he had started to consider scenarios as the number of potential overs kept reducing, and was thinking a total of 200-plus from 30-35 overs would have made for a good contest.

“I do feel there was enough in that wicket with our bowling attack ...(but) the further the game goes, the closer to a T20 game, being two down already, the odds are heavily in (West Indies) favor,” he said. “So as it got a bit later in the day, then you’d rather get the point and go.

“It’s important for us to get cricket and start ticking over, but we can’t control the weather so, as a team, (we’ll) take one point. Now we move forward.”

The South Africans were hoping to turn around their campaign after losses to England, Bangladesh and India to open the tournament but did not get the positive start they needed, with veteran Amla continuing to struggle.

Now the South Africans need to win every game, and hope some other results go their way.

“It’s as simple as — we are in this position because we haven’t played our best cricket so we don’t deserve to be anywhere close to the top of the log,” he said. “It is very clear for us as a team we need to be at our best and we need to play well in the next five games.

“If we do that, and the results start one by one happening, then this team will get a lot of confidence from that for the later stages.”

The West Indies, meanwhile, was aiming for a second win in the tournament after opening with a commanding win over Pakistan and losing a tight contest to defending champion Australia.

West Indies coach Floyd Reifer said a point was better than nothing, but his team came to win.

“We are playing fearless cricket, so it doesn’t matter who we play (or) when we play them,” he said. “We were really looking forward to this game. After they lost the first three games their confidence as a team will be a bit low, so we wanted to take a big advantage of that.

“Like I said, it’s the weather. It’s England. So there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to take the one point and look forward to the other games.”

The West Indies will stay in Southampton to take on top-ranked England, featuring former Barbados fast bowler Jofra Archer, on Friday. The local weather forecast is for more rain but it is expected to clear by the end of the week. The Hampshire washout was the second of the tournament after the Pakistan-Sri Lanka match in Bristol last Friday was abandoned without a ball bowled.

Italy arrests leaders of Juventus hard-line ultra fans

Updated 16 September 2019

Italy arrests leaders of Juventus hard-line ultra fans

  • Arrests were the culmination of a year-long probe centered on the alleged blackmail of ticketing officials

ROME: Italian police on Monday arrested 12 leading Juventus hard-line fans as part of a major investigation into violence and extortion linked to match ticket sales.
The suspects are accused of criminal association, aggravated extortion, money laundering and violence, police said.
The arrests were the culmination of a year-long probe centered on the alleged blackmail of ticketing officials by the “ultras,” who wanted cut-price blocks of tickets they could sell to fellow fans.
They reportedly began threatening to sing racist chants during matches — which would lead to the club being hit with fines and possibly having points deducted — after Juventus stopped distributing blocks of tickets for resale in 2017, Italian media said.
Police said the hardcore groups had set up a “widespread criminal strategy to ‘restore’ lost favors.”
Those arrested included the heads of the Drughi, Tradizione-Antichi Valori, Viking, Nucleo 1985 and Quelli ... di via Filadelfia groups, police said in a statement.
Officers were carrying out 39 search warrants targeting those arrested and other suspects, with the help of police from cities across northern and central Italy, from Alessandria to Bergamo, Florence, Genoa and Milan.