Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur insists his players will be “remembered forever” if they beat fierce rivals India at ICC Cricket World Cup on Sunday.
The two nations meet at Old Trafford in what is arguably the most anticipated clash of the tournament.
“It’s the – well, I don’t want to say it’s the biggest rivalry in sport, but I saw some stats, you know, which said I think the soccer World Cup final attracted 1.6 billion viewers. Tomorrow likely to get 1.5 billion,” said Australian Arthur.
“It doesn’t get bigger than that. It doesn’t get more exciting. I’m telling our players in the dressing room, you could be a hero tomorrow. Your careers are going to be defined by a moment in the game. You do something incredible tomorrow, you’ll be remembered forever.”
Sri Lanka put themselves on a collision course with tournament bosses after refusing to speak to the media following their 87-run World Cup loss to Australia.
The Sri Lankans refused to open their dressing room door when called to attend the post-match press conference.
An International Cricket Council (ICC) fine should now be in the offing, on a day when Sri Lanka team bosses were also understood to have complained about the pitch at The Oval.
Captain Aaron Finch hit a national World Cup record 153 as Australia crushed Sri Lanka, who slipped to 247 all out, then admitted he was nonplussed by their opponents’ frustrated mood.
When asked if Australia had any issues with the pitch, Finch replied: “Well I thought the pitch played beautifully today.
“I thought with how dry it was it might spin more, but it played beautifully all day.
“If you play enough here you know that with grass it keeps pace and carry on the wicket.
“They actually play a lot better than they look at times. So credit to the groundsman, especially given just how much rain there has been in London this week.
“To produce a beautiful wicket like that with as limited preparation is a great effort.”
Sri Lanka’s no-show will not go down well with tournament bosses, who are obviously trying to sell as positive an image of the game as possible.
The comprehensive nature of their loss is no excuse not to fulfil post-match obligations, but when called upon Sri Lanka flatly refused to attend the press conference. One win, two washouts and two defeats doubtless contribute to the mood of a dispirited Sri Lankan group.
And now they will move on to face tournament hosts and favourites England, at Headingley on Friday.
Proved by Press Association Sport
A maiden win in the 2019 ICC World Cup finally arrived for South Africa on Saturday with Faf du Plessis and his men crushing Afghanistan by nine wickets at Cardiff.
The Proteas win was built on a fine bowling display from Imran Tahir with Afghanistan folding for a paltry 125 after being put in to bat first. The veteran leg-spinner picked up 4-29 while all-rounder Chris Morris bagged three wickets in what was another sorry batting effort from the Afghans.
Openers Hazratullah Zazai (22) and Noor Ali Zadran (32) had given Afghanistan a conservative but solid start with the bat before the former was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada. However, the Afghan middle-order failed to build on that promising start and collapsed against the leg-spin of Tahir and medium pace of Morris.
They were 56-1 at one stage but soon found themselves reduced to 77-7 with Tahir and Morris doing the damage. Tahir accounted for Noor Ali, Asghar Ali Afghan and Gulbadin Naib in an excellent spell before returning to end the counter-attacking innings of Rashid Khan.
The Afghan all-rounder struck a 25-ball 35 down the order to help his side cross the 100-run mark and ultimately post 125.
In response, South Africa’s openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were made to struggle in the first powerplay with only 35 runs coming off the first 10 overs. Amla, in particular, looked extremely scratchy and never really looked in command during his unbeaten stay as he laboured to a 83-ball 41.
Luckily for the veteran opener, de Kock grew out of his shell quickly before going on to register his second half-century of the tournament. The southpaw struck eight boundaries in a 68-run knock which was ultimately brought to an end by a stunning catch by Mohammad Nabi.
The Proteas ultimately strolled to the revised target of 127 (D/L) in the 29th over with Andile Phehlukwayo finishing off the job in Amla’s company.
The win for South Africa leaves them with three points after five games and they will now move on to Birmingham where they take on New Zealand on Wednesday. For Afghanistan, the loss leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with no points to show for after four defeats in as many matches.
The task only becomes more difficult going forward for the tournament minnows who will next face favourites and hosts England at Manchester on Tuesday.