South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was “very relieved” after his side registered their first win at the Cricket World Cup, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets in Cardiff on Saturday.
Having failed to win any of their first four matches, the Proteas dismissed a winless Afghanistan for 125 after two rain delays cut the match to 48 overs.
Imran Tahir struck twice in his first over and took 4-29 as Afghanistan lost five for eight in 29 balls. Quinton de Kock made 68 as South Africa reached their revised target of 127 with 19.5 overs to spare.
“Very relieved. Feel a little bit lighter,” admitted Du Plessis.
“But I think in all our cricket today it was much better and much more competitive. We spoke a lot about energy in the field and stuff and I think you can really, really see a big difference today in the team.”
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