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Arthur urges ICC to reconsider net run rate rule

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London: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to give head-to-head record a higher priority than net run rate after the team’s final game of the 2019 World Cup against Bangladesh.

“I would have liked the ICC to consider head to head because tonight we would be in the semi-final. It is disappointing, and it just goes back to our first game (a heavy defeat) against the West Indies,” Mickey Arthur said.

“We had an opportunity to beat Australia and we didn’t take that. Those are the two nightmares I’m going to have,” he added.

 

Pakistan went into the match against Bangladesh on Friday needing to win by a record margin in order to pip New Zealand to final semi-final spot on the basis of net run rate.

Batting first, they ended their innings on 315/9 and needed to bowl out Bangladesh for seven in order to get to the top four. They eventually won the match by a comprehensive margin of 94 runs but that wasn’t enough for them to seal a spot in the semi-final.

“What the system has done to us is that after one very poor game, you really battle to recover again. So it’s a very disappointed dressing room, no congratulations going on because we haven’t qualified. Congratulations to the four who have, I think they’ve played the best cricket so far and may the best team win,” said Arthur.

“But it is nice for us to sit here and know we’ve beaten two of those teams [England and New Zealand] which shows we’re not a mile off in terms of ourselves as a cricket team.”

Arthur also admitted that the team had discussed posting a total in excess of 400 if they batted first. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t discussed. But I think that was something that we could only assess once we did something right. The first 10 overs were expected to be quite crucial. You couldn’t have just walked in there and gone ‘I think we’re going to get 400’. Getting 400 was a platform. You needed to get a good base, and you needed to move,” Mickey Arthur added.

“The message we got from Fakhar [Zaman] when he came back in the change room was it was slow. Balls going into the wicket were quite tough. We realised that getting the average score, I think, is 270 over the tournament. I mean, getting 400 was a bit of a pipe dream. And then we realised we just wanted to win and we wanted to win well.”


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I-League clubs need not worry about future: AIFF chief

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Mumbai: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Praful Patel hinted that there could be a merger of the I-League and the Indian Super League following a three-year transition period.

“AFC (Asian Football Confederation) won’t accept a closed league for long. It is the reason why I have proposed a three-year status quo for both leagues to run simultaneously despite AFC not willing to allow it,” Patel told Times of India.

“I would request the I-League clubs to strengthen themselves financially and otherwise in this period. So when the merging and integration happens according to AFC regulations, they would be in a better position. In three years, I-League will be in a position to thrive and be in a good shape with televised matches. Right now the I-League clubs needn’t worry about their future. Ideal state would be when a second division club plays in ISL.”

 

Last week, the AIFF threw its weight behind a popular franchise-based league by calling on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to award its champions a slot in the continent’s elite club competition.

Currently, the winners of the traditional I-League are awarded the AFC Champions League slot, while the champions of the upstart Indian Super League (ISL) gain entry to the secondary AFC Cup competition.

Patel said he is “fighting” to give I-League clubs a similar platform as the ISL.

“The AIFF has proposed to show all I-League matches in high definition like ISL with proper timings,” he said. “Half of the production cost would be borne by marketing partners [IMG-Reliance/FSDL] while the rest will be equally divided by AIFF and clubs.”

The AIFF had said last week that its backing of ISL for an AFC spot was based on the Master Rights Agreement, owned by Reliance, it signed in 2010 with its commercial partners Football Sports Development Limited.

It said in a statement “… in the last five years the entire Indian National squad are mostly being signed/playing for the … Indian Super League clubs.

“TV viewership and in-stadia audience having grown far more substantially vis a vis the … I-League,” it added.

Last Monday six I-League clubs wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set up an inquiry commission to “probe the AIFF’s functioning’’ fearing that the league could be demoted to the second tier.

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No one lost the final, says Williamson

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London: “No one lost the final,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said on Tuesday as his team tried coming to terms with the gut-wrenching defeat against England in the World Cup’s greatest summit clash.

Cricketers, current and former, shared New Zealand’s pain on losing the title on boundary count with many of them asking for a “serious look” into the rule, slammed as “absurd”.

“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” Williamson told Newstalk ZB.

 

Widely praised for the grace with which he and his side accepted the defeat, Williamson said they had signed up to the rules that governed the tournament.

New Zealand lost to England at the Lord’s due to inferior boundary count (16 in 50 overs to hosts’ 24) after both the regulation 50 overs and the Super Over ended in ties.

“I suppose you never thought you would have to ask that question and I never thought I would have to answer it (smiling),” was Williamson’s first reaction when asked about the rule.

“While the emotions are raw, it is pretty hard to swallow when two teams have worked really, really hard to get to this moment in time.

“When sort of two attempts to separate them with a winner and a loser it still doesn’t perhaps sort of shine with one side coming through, you know,” Williamson, one of the finest gentleman playing the sport, said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern praised the Black Caps for putting their all on the line and then accepting the gut-wrenching defeat with grace.

“That was undeniably an incredible game. I think as a nation we all aged a year in that super over. Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team,” wrote Ardern on Instagram.

Opting to bat, New Zealand had put up a modest 241 for eight. In reply, England ended at the same score leading to the one-over eliminator.

In the Super Over, England batted first and the duo of Ben Stokes, who kept the hosts in the game with a brilliant 84 off 98 balls, and Jos Buttler made 15.

New Zealand also ended at the same score but for the loss of one wicket, paving the way for an English victory on boundary count.

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British PM hosts World Cup champs

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London: British Prime Minister Theresa May hosted the World Cup-winning England cricket team in the garden of her Downing Street residence, describing their win as “one of the great sporting spectacles of our time”.

England ended their 44-year wait for a first 50 overs world title by beating New Zealand in a nailbiting final Super Over on Sunday.

England’s Eoin Morgan and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May with the trophy as they pose with the team outside number 10

 

May, a keen cricket fan, was at the match and, after the win, posted a video clip on Twitter of herself dancing.

The prime minister, who is due to stand down next week, greeted the players in front of her home and posed for pictures with the team and the trophy.

Members of the England Cricket Team including Liam Plunkett (2nd from left), Jason Roy (extreme right), Moeen Ali (2nd from right), Jos Buttler (3rd from right) share a laugh with Prime Minister Theresa May during a reception at 10 Downing Street on Monday

“When the odds were against you in the biggest game of your lives, you simply and stubbornly refused to lose. It is that determination, that character, that has made you world champions. But, more than that, you have made history,” May told the players during the drinks reception, according to remarks released by her office.

“You have helped the nation fall in love with cricket once again,” she said, adding that the match was “a final for the ages”.

England’s Eoin Morgan and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May lift the trophy as they pose with the team outside number 10

“The final was not just cricket at its best but sport at its best — courage, character, sportsmanship, drama, incredible skill and even the odd slice of luck — all combining to create a real thriller, one of the great sporting spectacles of our time,” she added.

May added, “It was a fitting end to what has been a great tournament — and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in once again making our country a sporting showcase for the world.”

Since being unceremoniously dumped out of the 2015 World Cup in Australia, the England side have reinvented themselves as one-day cricket specialists and headed into the World Cup as overwhelming favourites.

The match, which England won by the thinnest of margins after a tie-break Super Over, was watched by more than 8 million people in Britain.

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