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.”


New Sharqiya Baja to take place Thursday

Updated 12 December 2019

New Sharqiya Baja to take place Thursday

ALKHOBAR: The new Sharqiya Baja 2019, the fifth and final round of the inaugural Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, will take place at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday with a timed super special stage of 4.32 km. 

Ahead of a field of 51 cars, nine NUTVs, 10 motorcycles, 23 quads and one truck will be two further days of competitive action through the deserts of the Eastern Province and 474.86 competitive kilometers in a compact route of 746.58 km. 

 Several international drivers, most notably Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Zimbabwe’s Conrad Rautenbach, Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Czech Miroslav Zapletal will use the opportunity to finalize their preparations for January’s Dakar Rally.

In contrast, the massive Saudi contingent is spread across several categories and sporting disciplines, and the series finale will decide the outcome of the drivers’ championship and the winner of the quad section.

 Saudi Arabia’s leading drivers, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota Hilux) and Yasir Seaidan (X-raid Buggy), have fought a fascinating tussle for supremacy in the new series.

 Seaidan won the Aseer Rally opener and finished behind his rival at the Qassim Rally, the AlUla-Neom event and the Riyadh Rally. 

 The pair are now separated by just three points, heading into the showdown on Half Moon Bay.

An outright victory would give either driver the title, with 25 points awarded to the winner, 18 for second place and 15 for third. The two drivers, however, face strong opposition from a plethora of Saudi rivals. 

 ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari is a distant third in the series in his Nissan Navara, and can confirm that position by staying ahead of Mutair Al-Shammeri, Khalid Al-Feraihi and Faris Al-Shammeri. 

 Salman Al-Shammeri has already clinched the T2 title by scoring maximum points in the category for series production cross-country vehicles in three of the four rallies. His closest challenger is Yousef Al-Suwaidi, winner of the T2 in the Qassim Rally.

 Saleh Al-Saif confirmed success in the T3 before the recent event in Riyadh, and tackled that rally in the NUTV class, while Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb have cruised to the T4 title in a Mercedes truck. 

Yousef Al-Dhaif has an unassailable lead over Fahad Al-Naim and Khalil and Majid Al-Tuwaijri in the NUTV Championship, but the latter trio will be battling to finish as runners-up in the popular category. Motorcycle honors have already gone to Mishal Alghuneim with Abdullah Al-Helal finishing the series in second place, but a host of riders still have a shot at claiming third overall.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi won the quad section at the Qassim and AlUla-Neom rallies, but a retirement in Riyadh has left the door open for Riyadh Al-Oraifan to snatch the title in the Eastern Province. He trails his fellow Yamaha rider by 21 points, with 25 available for the outright win.

 Several riders can still finish third, but Abdul Aziz Al-Shayban heads into the ceremonial start on Half Moon Bay leading Riyadh event-winner Sufiyan Al-Omar by six points. 

The event is organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and the supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab. 

 The new Baja runs with the support of the SAMF, the General Sports Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia Outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

 The event is being considered as an official candidate for future inclusion in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.