Putting behind their horrific display against the West Indies, Pakistan pulverized England’s bowlers to score 348/8. With the big score behind them, they then fought hard to restrict the fancied hosts to 334/9. Slamming brilliant hundreds, Joe Root and Jos Buttler rescued their team from a precarious 118/4 with a 130-run fifth-wicket stand off just 105 balls. As long as the duo was around, Pakistan couldn’t breathe easy. However, just as England’s mammoth chase arrived, both were dismissed in identical fashion, cutting to short third man. It meant Pakistan, who had let off Root when he was on just nine - didn’t regret the drop.
Earlier, it was amazing to see the same Pakistani batsmen who surrendered so meekly to a barrage of short-pitched deliveries on Friday, looking unstoppable on Monday. Pakistan’s left-handed opening pair of Imam-ul-Haq (44) and Fakhar Zaman (36) got them off to a rollicking 82-run start in 85 balls. Babar Azam, Hafeez and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed too delivered the goods.
The hosts had looked clinical while thrashing South Africa in the first game, but dished out perhaps their worst fielding display in a long, long time to make things tough for their bowlers on a flat wicket.
Bangladesh beat South Africa
Bangladesh downed an injury-hit South Africa by 21 runs in their opening match of the World Cup. While Bangladesh enjoyed a perfect start to their campaign, the Proteas, who lost their second match in a row, have plenty to sweat about ahead of their next match against India on June 5. To add to South Africa’s worries, their casualty ward had a new member on Saturday. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi. After bowling just four overs, he left the field due to a pulled hamstring and is ruled out of the clash against India. Veteran fast bowler Dale Steyn continued to stay out due to a shoulder injury.
Becoming the first Asian team to conquer the short ball with a superb counter-attack, Bangladesh came out all guns blazing to put up 330 for six. After Soumya Sarkar provided the initial momentum with a 42-run cameo, half centuries by Shakib Al Hassan and Mushfiqur Rahim and a late flourish by Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain helped Bangladesh to their sixth 300-plus total. Chasing the biggest total, the Proteas, without the experience of Hashim Amla, who sat out after being hurt by a Jofra Archer bouncer in their first match, gave it a decent fight, but finished at 309 for eight.
Afghanistan frustrate Australians
Afghanistan recovered from a disastrous start in their World Cup opener against defending champions Australia to post a brave total of 207 in Bristol on Saturday. Gulbadin Naib, captain of the rank outsiders, took the bold decision to bat in warm conditions, hoping to amass a score his spin bowlers could defend on the small ground. But the decision backfired badly, with both openers departing for ducks as Afghanistan slipped to five for two in the second over and looked on course for a humiliation. With their team in deep trouble, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi led a fightback for the minnows putting on a gritty 51 for the third wicket. After the fall of these two, Najibullah Zadran - ably assisted by his skipper - took the fight to his illustrious opponents.
Humiliating defeat for Lankans
Sri Lankans suffered a humiliating 10-wicket loss to New Zealand on Friday. Lankans lasted for 29.2 overs before folding up for 136. It was then the turn of Kiwi openers Martin Guptill (73) and Colin Munro (58) to make merry and knock off the target in T20 style. It took the aggressive openers just 16.1 overs to complete Lanka’s annihilation.
West Indies thrash Pakistan
West Indies produced a blistering bowling display to crush Pakistan by seven wickets and begin their World Cup campaign with an emphatic victory. The two-time champions bowled Pakistan out for just 105 in 21.4 overs - their second lowest total in World Cup history. All 10 wickets fell to seam with the West Indies bowlers quick and hostile in front of a crowd vociferously in support of Pakistan. Oshane Thomas took 4-27, captain Jason Holder 3-42 and Andre Russell a brilliant 2-4 in three overs as only two Pakistan batsmen passed 20. Chris Gayle smashed 50 from 34 balls with three sixes to give West Indies' chase a quick start and, despite three wickets for Mohammad Amir, the win was sealed with 36.1 overs remaining when Nicholas Pooran smashed a huge six.
England overwhelm South Africa
England made a confident start to their Cricket World Cup campaign as they crushed South Africa by 104 runs in the tournament opener at The Oval on Thursday. Ben Stokes top-scored with 89 as the hosts made a competitive total of 311 for eight after being sent into bat. Jofra Archer took two early wickets and South Africa never looked likely to reach their target, bowled out in the 40th over for 207 to give World Cup favourites England the perfect start.