Men on the moon so why no World Cup group-stage reserve days?: Bangladesh coach

Rain covers on the wicket at Bristol ahead of play in the World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Men on the moon so why no World Cup group-stage reserve days?: Bangladesh coach

  • The umpires’ decision left tournament chiefs with the unwanted record for the most number of abandoned games at a World Cup
  • Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka took a point each

BRISTOL, England: Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes said that if men could land on the moon, the World Cup could include reserve days for group matches after the Tigers’ fixture against Sri Lanka in Bristol was washed out completely on Tuesday.
The umpires’ decision left tournament chiefs with the unwanted record for the most number of abandoned games at a World Cup, surpassing the two each at the 1992 and 2003 editions.
It was also the second successive World Cup match at Bristol abandoned without a ball bowled after Sri Lanka’s game against Pakistan at southwest county Gloucestershire’s headquarters on Friday went the same way.
Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka took a point each a day after rain saw only 7.3 overs play in the match between South Africa and the West Indies in Southampton on Monday.
Although the International Cricket Council have scheduled reserve days for both semifinals and the July 14 final at Lord’s, there are now concerns rain could have a major bearing on which sides qualify for the last four.
Former England wicket-keeper Rhodes, asked if he would have included reserve days in the 10-team round-robin phase, replied: “Yeah, I would.
“If you know the English weather, sadly, we’re going to get a lot of rain.
“I know logistically, it would have been a big headache for the tournament organizers, and I know it would have been difficult,” he added of a World Cup that features 48 matches in 46 days.
“But we have got quite a lot of time in between games, and if we have got to travel a day later, then so be it,” said Rhodes, whose Bangladesh team next play the West Indies in Taunton on June 17.
“We put men on the moon, so why can’t we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament?
“It’s disappointing for the crowd, as well. They have got tickets to see a game of cricket and it would be up to them if they can get there the day after.”
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne endorsed Rhodes’s comments by saying: “It is not easy, but I feel if they can have a reserve day, it will be good for everyone.”
Heavy overnight and early morning rain delayed Tuesday’s scheduled 10:30 am local time (0930 GMT) start, with further rain seeing the game eventually called off at 1:57 p.m. local time.
Rain has also been forecast for Wednesday’s match between Australia and Pakistan in Taunton.
Australia failed to qualify for the semifinals of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England following their rained-off matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh, before they lost to England on the Duckworth/Lewis method for weather-interrupted fixtures.
“I think it (the weather) might play a huge part in the next few days,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said at Taunton on Tuesday.
“So it’s important that you get early wins on the board because you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that might leave you just outside that top four.”
Only one of three World Cup matches scheduled to take place in Bristol produced any play, champions Australia launching their title defense with a seven-wicket victory over outsiders Afghanistan.
“It’s massively gutting. These are things that are four-and-a-half years in the making, Gloucestershire chief executive Will Brown told AFP.
“It’s massively sad for the fans.”
Brown, asked how much the two abandonments would cost Gloucestershire financially, added: “Our catering around the ground will definitely have taken a hit.
“Do I think it’s £50,000 ($63,588)?
“No. Do I think it’s £10,000-£20,000? Quite possibly, yes.
“It’s enough for a club like us to make a significant difference,” added Brown, who said all three World Cup matches in Bristol had been 11,500 sell-outs.


Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

Updated 19 September 2019

Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

  • Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye

PARIS: No Neymar. No Kylian Mbappe. No problem.
With two first-half goals from Angel Di Maria and a rare late strike from right-back Thomas Meunier, a new-look Paris Saint-Germain missing its headline stars brushed aside a flat Real Madrid 3-0 in the Champions League to go top of Group A in an impressive start to its European campaign on Wednesday. 
Di Maria, a Champions League winner with Madrid in 2014, was rampant against his former club, using phenomenal speed and clever placing to torment a Madrid defense sorely missing the suspended Sergio Ramos.
The Argentine's first goal poked past Thibaut Courtois' near post in the 14th minute was his 25th in 100 European matches.
Some of PSG's new recruits were instrumental in the victory. Idrissa Gueye, bought from Everton, bossed the midfield.
Di Maria's opener originated with Mauro Icardi, a late loan-signing from Inter Milan. He linked up smartly with left-back Juan Bernat, who then found Di Maria in space in the box with a swift cut-back pass.
Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye.
Di Maria caressed a pinpoint shot with his left foot from long range past the outstretched Courtois and celebrated enthusiastically as Paris fans lit red flares.
Gareth Bale thought he'd got a goal back moments later with a sweet volley over former Madrid teammate Keylor Navas, bought by Paris to provide added assurance behind the suffocating PSG defense that snuffed out Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
But referee Anthony Taylor spotted on video replay that the Wales winger had touched the ball with his right arm as he juggled it from his left foot to his right one before shooting.
Meunier's goal in second-half injury time was only his sixth in 48 European matches. Bernat's pass set up the strike. Up in the posh seats, the suspended Neymar and Mbappe, recovering from injury, chuckled together at the sight of the full-backs combining to score. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane scowled.
Zidane lamented the lack of urgency from his side that had zero shots on target other than Bale's disallowed goal and another disallowed for offside in the second half.
"It was a weird sensation," he said, speaking through a translator. "We hardly ever got into the match."
Zidane refrained from singling out any player, saying "it's everybody's fault when we lose."
But James Rodriguez, back from Bayern Munich, was particularly ineffective. And Eden Hazard, bought from Chelsea, looked ring-rusty as he makes his way back from injury. A trademark dribble in the PSG area in the second half ended with Hazard tripping over himself and landing on his backside.
Zidane replaced them both with 20 minutes to play.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, on the other hand, had no problem singling out Gueye for praise. He clicked with Marco Verratti and the deeper-lying Marquinhos in the PSG midfield that purred as if they'd played together for years.
"He's a machine. He never stops, never stops running," Tuchel said. "Against a team like Madrid, that is super-important."
Tuchel suggested the absence of Neymar, Mbappe and PSG's record scorer Edinson Cavani, also recovering from injury, may have been a help rather than a hindrance.
Without them, outside observers figured PSG was unlikely to win, and that eased pressure on Tuchel's other players, the coach said.
When Neymar has served out the rest of his two-match ban, and Mbappe and Cavani are fit again, expectations will quickly rise in the wake of this humbling of Madrid that showed the strength in depth of PSG's expensively assembled team.
But PSG knows from bitter experience how hard the road will become in the Champions League, having failed to get beyond the quarterfinals since the club's wealthy Qatari owners took over in 2011.
Tuchel was eager to tamp down any buzz.
"If someone asks me if we are going to win the Champions League, I'm leaving," he said.