Pakistan’s World Cup semifinal hopes over despite Bangladesh win as New Zealand progress

Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi celebrates taking the wicket of Bangladesh's Mahmudullah with teammates. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 05 July 2019

Pakistan’s World Cup semifinal hopes over despite Bangladesh win as New Zealand progress

LONDON: Pakistan thumped Bangladesh by 94 runs in their last World Cup group match on Friday but suffered a painful exit as New Zealand pipped them to a semifinal place on net run-rate.
Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team needed to smash the world record for margin of victory in a one-day international but a miracle win never looked remotely likely at a sun-drenched Lord’s.
Pakistan’s total of 315 for nine meant Bangladesh needed only eight runs to end the 1992 world champions’ hopes of advancing to the semifinals.
Teenager Shaheen Afridi returned the best-ever figures for Pakistan at a World Cup of 6-35 as they finished level on 11 points and games won (five) with fourth-placed New Zealand, missing out on the top four due to their inferior run-rate.
The other teams in next week’s semifinals are Australia, India and hosts England, with the final group matches taking place on Saturday.
Pakistan finished the tournament with four straight wins but ultimately paid the price for a sluggish start.
“Unfortunately we played very good cricket in the last four matches but we have not qualified,” said Sarfaraz.
“Only the one match will cost us in the whole tournament (against West Indies). We played very good cricket.”
Pakistan, backed by thousands of passionate flag-waving fans in London, started curiously slowly, crawling to 38-1 after 10 overs.
Imam-ul-Haq (100) and Babar Azam (96) eventually stepped on the gas, reaching their 150 partnership for the second wicket off 146 balls but both fell in quick succession to suck the momentum out of their innings.
A late flourish from Imad Wasim, who scored 43 runs from 26 balls, boosted the score but Pakistan lacked the muscle to put themselves out of sight.
Mustafizur Rahman took five wickets for Bangladesh, including a superb caught and bowled to dismiss Shadab Khan.
In reply, Shakib Al Hasan (64) scored his seventh fifty of the World Cup to shoot to the top of the tournament’s run-scoring charts, with 606 runs at an average of more than 86.
His seven scores of fifty-plus equal the record set by India’s Sachin Tendulkar at the 2003 tournament.
But Bangladesh lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 221 in the 45th over, with man-of-the-match Shaheen doing most of the damage with his left-arm seam.
Pakistan paid a heavy price for a slow start to their World Cup campaign, winning just one of their first five matches.
They were shot out for a paltry 105 in their first match, with the West Indies winning in just 13.4 overs, meaning they took a huge hit on run rate.
They came back strongly to beat South Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan to sit fifth in the 10-team table, but in the end left themselves too much to do.
Bangladesh ended the 10-team group phase in seventh spot with three wins in their nine matches.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said: “We feel very sorry for Shakib that we couldn’t support him all through the tournament, otherwise things could have been very different. He has been fantastic.”


Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

Updated 22 September 2020

Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

  • The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus
  • Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport

ROME: Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor’s department in charge of the investigation said on Tuesday.
The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus.
“The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him even before the test,” the prosecutor’s department said in a statement.
Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy’s National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out an investigation since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities. Suspicions over Suarez were aroused by an overheard conversation.
“But what do you think, that we’re going to fail him? Today I have the last lesson (with Suarez) and I have to prepare it because he barely speaks a word” of Italian, Stefania Spina, one of the people targeted by the investigation, is claimed to have said according to prosecution documents cited by Italian media.
Asked by a colleague what level Suarez “should pass” in Italian, Spina reportedly replied: “He should not, he must, he will pass, because with a salary of 10 million (euros) per season, you can’t make him fail” his exam, “even if he doesn’t know how to conjugate verbs and speak in the infinitive.”
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said last week a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport.
The Italian champions cannot recruit Suarez otherwise because they have already reached their quota for non-EU players.