Sharma ton helps India seal World Cup semi-final spot

India's Rohit Sharma celebrates making his century during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Bangladesh and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, on July 2, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 02 July 2019

Sharma ton helps India seal World Cup semi-final spot

  • Sharma hits his fourth century in the 28-run win over Bangladesh

BIRMINGHAM, UK: India opener Rohit Sharma hit his fourth century of the World Cup as Virat Kohli's side booked their place in the semi-finals with a 28-run win over Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
Sharma's attacking 104 laid the foundation of India's 314 for nine after Kohli elected to bat first in India's penultimate match of the league phase.
Yet for the second match in a row Sharma -- as happened during India's 31-run defeat by England at Edgbaston on Sunday -- was dropped in single figures before making a hundred.
India's bowlers then combined to dismiss Bangladesh for 286 with two overs to spare after star batsman Shakib Al Hasan top-scored with a valiant 66.
Jasprit Bumrah took four wickets and fellow paceman Hardik Pandya three, including the prize scalp of Shakib.
Defeat ended Bangladesh's slim hopes of a place in the last four after they had impressed during wins over South Africa and the West Indies.
The day belonged to the in-form Sharma, who played an attacking knock, hitting seven fours and five sixes in his 92-ball innings while being cheered on by another largely pro-India crowd in Birmingham.
Sharma and opening partner KL Rahul put on 180 -- the highest stand for the first wicket in the tournament -- to get India off to a flying start.
But Sharma should have been out for nine only for Tamim Iqbal to drop a simple catch at deep midwicket following a mistimed pull off paceman Mustafizur Rahman.
Sharma was finally was caught at extra cover by Liton Das off the bowling of Soumya Sarkar and Rahul, who filled an opener's slot following an injury to Shikhar Dhawan, was caught behind off Rubel Hossain for 77.
Mustafizur took five wickets, including star batsman Kohli for 26, to check India's surge.
The paceman struck twice in the space of three balls to dismiss both Kohli and Pandya.
Rishabh Pant once again showed his worth at the number four position with a brisk 48, using the short boundary at one side of Edgbaston to his advantage.
M.S. Dhoni, who received flak for his slow innings in India's defeat by England on Sunday -- their only loss so far this tournament -- chipped in with a 33-ball 35.
Paceman Mohammed Shami struck early in Bangladesh's reply when Tamim, who made 22, chopped the ball onto his stumps.
Shakib struck his sixth fifty-plus score that includes two hundreds to keep Bangladesh in hunt.
But Pandya's second spell saw the all-rounder account for Liton and Shakib to leave Bangladesh struggling at 179-6 in the 34th over.
Shakib, who has been Bangladesh's go-to man, played well for his 46th ODI fifty but was undone by a slower ball and caught at extra cover.
Mohammad Saifuddin made an unbeaten 51 only to run out of partners as Bumrah ended the match with two wickets in successive deliveries.
Bangladesh face Pakistan in their last group match at Lord's on Friday.
India meet Sri Lanka on the final day of the round-robin phase on Saturday.

WWE’s John Morrison ready to rumble at Riyadh Super ShowDown

Updated 24 February 2020

WWE’s John Morrison ready to rumble at Riyadh Super ShowDown

  • Alongside The Miz, John Morrison will take on The New Day in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
  • John Morrison: ‘Kofi and Big E (The New Day) are no joke. They are individually talented and together they are very dangerous’

DUBAI: John Morrison’s journey to Thursday night’s WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh has been anything but straightforward.

The Los Angeles native first joined WWE just over 15 years ago, before leaving in 2011 to join the independent wrestling circuit and Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, then returned to the organization in December 2019.

This week, alongside The Miz, he will take on The New Day in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match. It will be his first appearance in the Kingdom.

“I’m ridiculously excited to be in Saudi Arabia, but this is the most important match since my return to WWE,” Morrison said.

“Kofi and Big E (The New Day) are no joke. They are individually talented and together they are very dangerous. For The Miz and I to beat them requires 100 percent focus and for us to be on top of our game. That’s what I’m planning on doing.”

Over the last year, Saudi Arabia has hosted two WWE events, Super ShowDown in Jeddah and Crown Jewel in Riyadh. Morrison and his fellow wrestlers are increasingly aware of WWE’s popularity in the Kingdom and across the Middle East.

“An event like Super ShowDown is something that families can go to and really feel the electricity and excitement of WWE,” he said.  

“When I was growing up watching WrestleMania and going to see WWE Live events as a kid with my dad and my friends, that’s part of the reason why I fell in love with wrestling and why I do it today. A show like Super ShowDown has the power to capture the imagination of people.”

Looking forward to Thursday, the 40-year-old wrestler points out that preparing for a tag team bout is different to an individual battle.

“The main difference is that there are more people involved so there are more things that could go right or go wrong,” said Morrison.

“The preparation physically is very similar, but mentally there is a lot more strategizing and scheming that The Miz and I need to do.”

With weekly WWE events taking place in America, how exciting is it for the wrestlers to take the shows on the road and perform in different countries?

“Doing shows outside the US is so important. It is why we are called World Wrestling Entertainment,” Morrison said. “It is also a real bonding experience for the roster to travel together. I’m looking forward to spending time with everybody on this trip. The card we have for Super ShowDown is like a WrestleMania card. The people taking part are stars. These are matches you might never even see in the US.”

Having got his big break by winning the third edition of WWE Tough Enough, a reality television series by WWE, Morrison knows how hard it is to compete against aspiring wrestlers. 

In June, WWE will hold a talent tryout in Riyadh, and he has a word of advice for the Saudi hopefuls.

“It is an incredible opportunity and the best advice I have for people looking to take part in the tryout is to level yourself up physically and mentally, understand the business in every aspect that you can, and when you get there you’ll have nothing to worry about.”  

They already have the perfect role model.

WWE’s first-ever Saudi member, Mansoor, has graduated from being a tryout hopeful in 2018 to winner at the 51-man Battle Royal at the 2019 Super ShowDown in Jeddah last February, and beating wrestling legend Cesaro at Crown Jewel in Riyadh on Oct. 31 to the delight of his hometown crowd.

Morrison himself is looking forward to being inspired by the local audience.

“This is going to be my first time in Saudi Arabia, in front of a Saudi crowd, and I’m beyond excited to experience the country and the people. I want to feel the energy.”