Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik asked Pakistan fans to show restraint while criticising the team after the massive defeat to India in Manchester on Sunday.
The marquee clash of the 2019 World Cup turned out to be anything but as India gave the men in green no breathing space after Rohit Sharma smashed 140.
As expected, the 89-run defeat resulted in an outpouring of anger on social media with images and videos of Pakistan players enjoying a night out going viral and the players accused of breaking the team curfew on the eve of the India match.
However, the video turned out to be two days old with the Pakistan board stating that no curfew was broken.
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza also saw her name dragged into the saga. Malik, Sania’s husband, was forced to take to Twitter as he asked families of cricketers to be kept out of such episodes.
On behalf of all athletes I would like to request media and people to maintain respect levels in regards to our families, who should not be dragged into petty discussions at will. It’s not a nice thing to do— Shoaib Malik 🇵🇰 (@realshoaibmalik) June 17, 2019
Amir too asked Pakistan fans to remain civil while expressing their views on the team.
Pls dont use bad words for the players yes u guys can criticise our performance we will bounce back InshAllah we need ur support 🙏🙏🙏— Mohammad Amir (@iamamirofficial) June 17, 2019
STAT OF THE DAY
4 – Afghanistan player Noor Ali Zadran is the uncle of mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. When the two took the field against England on Tuesday, it was the fourth ODI the two played together. Earlier, Noor had replaced Mujeeb in the side.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Man on the horse from #IndvPak finally speaks... has cleared our queries... "height restrictions" 🤣🐴— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) June 18, 2019
Magnificent beast it was, @PakistanSheikh .... you won the internet that day... cheers! #CWC19 #IndvsPak https://t.co/yHR8Y6jaAJ
Afghanistan have been winless so far in the 2019 World Cup but they have it in them to beat at least one of the top sides.
England will look to ensure they aren’t that team when they clash in Manchester on Tuesday.
England are grappling with injury to Jason Roy and even though they were rarely troubled by the West Indies in the previous game, Afghanistan spinners – led by Rashid Khan – can prove to be tricky.
Will England put in another clinical performance or will the wounded Afghans roar back into life?
Catch the updates below.
There are no easy matches in a 10-team World Cup. But for South Africa who are one defeat away from a near-certain early exit, the New Zealand clash on Wednesday is as tough a contest as one can hope for.
The Proteas were provided a lifeline by inclement weather against the West Indies after slipping to 29-2 before registering their first win – against Afghanistan. After three straight defeats, the absence of another ‘L’ was good news.
However, the Proteas took their own time while chasing down 125 against the Afghans, taking nearly 30 overs to do so while their next opponents New Zealand reached a similar target in 16. The Proteas must hope net run rate does not come into play later on or they will rue that limp chase.
NGIDI REGAINS FITNESS
South Africa desperately need some good news, following injury to pace spearhead Dale Steyn and the World Cup ‘offer’ saga of AB de Villiers. Ngidi injured him hamstring during the defeat to Bangladesh and that severely stretched the already thin South African resources.
But on the eve of the New Zealand clash, Ngidi cleared the fitness test.
“It’s 100 per cent,” Ngidi said. “That’s how the fitness test goes. If you are not bowling at 100% then you are obviously not ready to play. Today was as hard as I could go, at match-intensity.”
That would be music to the ears of Faf du Plessis as he needs all the bowling firepower he can lay his hands on against the unbeaten New Zealand.
A STEP UP FOR THE KIWIS
New Zealand are one of two unbeaten teams this World Cup, apart from India. However, their results are tempered by fact that they have come against Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh with the India-clash washed out.
Bangladesh are not a ‘small’ team anymore and they ran the Kiwis close, going down by two wickets. The South Africans will provide the first major test, at least to the top order batsmen in the form of pacers Kagiso Rabada, Ngidi and in-form leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
The wicket in Birmingham is likely to be dry, which means run scoring might not be easy.
The path ahead for the Kiwis will only get tougher with West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and England in waiting. How they perform against an equally potent – at least on paper – South African side will prove their title credentials.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Andile Phehlukwayo, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult