South Africa may have to win all of their remaining group-stage matches to earn a place in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals and Faf du Plessis' side face two tricky challenges this week.

The Proteas lost their first three games at this tournament, belatedly getting a point on the board with a washout against West Indies before picking up their first win thanks to a comfortable triumph over Afghanistan last week.

But things certainly do not get any easier for South Africa over the coming seven days, as they take on an unbeaten New Zealand and a mercurial Pakistan, who desperately need a win themselves following Sunday's resounding defeat to fierce rivals India.

Virat Kohli's side look the strongest all-round outfit in the competition and they should pick up another victory against Afghanistan, who also face hosts England in a tough week for the only team yet to claim a point.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 17 June:  West Indies v Bangladesh (Taunton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 18 June:  England v Afghanistan (Old Trafford) - 1030

Wednesday 19 June:  New Zealand v South Africa (Edgbaston) - 1030

Thursday 20 June:  Australia v Bangladesh (Trent Bridge) - 1030

Friday 21 June:  England v Sri Lanka (Headingley) - 1030

Saturday 22 June:  India v Afghanistan (the Rose Bowl) - 1030, West Indies v New Zealand (Old Trafford) - 1330

Sunday 23 June:  Pakistan v South Africa (Lord's) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

With over half their matches played and only three points to their name, South Africa can ill-afford any slip-ups. Their first assignment of the week comes against the Black Caps on Wednesday, in a repeat of the thrilling semi-final from four years ago that saw New Zealand squeeze through. If the Proteas can dish out a first defeat of the tournament to Kane Williamson's side, they will go into Sunday's clash against an erratic Pakistan with renewed hope of securing a top-four finish.

STANDINGS

1. Australia - 8pts from 5 games, Net Run Rate +0.812
2. New Zealand - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +2.163
3. India - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +1.029
4. England - 6pts from 4 games, NRR +1.557
5. Sri Lanka - 4pts from 5 games, NRR -1.778
6. West Indies - 3pts from 4 games, NRR +0.666
7. South Africa - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -0.208
8. Bangladesh - 3pts from 4 games, NRR -0.714
9. Pakistan - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -1.933
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 4 games, NRR -1.638

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Aaron Finch (Aus) - 343
2: Rohit Sharma (Ind) - 319
3: David Warner (Aus) - 281

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

=1: Mohammad Amir (Pak), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 13
2: Pat Cummins (Aus) - 11

The ICC will look into why Sri Lanka failed to fulfil post-match media duties after Saturday's Cricket World Cup loss to Australia.

Sri Lanka won the toss put Australia in to bat but Aaron Finch's explosive 153 fired his side to an imposing total of 334-7 at The Oval.

Mitchell Starc then took four wickets as Sri Lanka's initially strong start petered out into an 87-run loss that leaves them with a single victory from five matches.

And with their chances of qualification for the semi-finals now fading fast, Sri Lanka did not send any representatives to a post-match news conference.

An ICC spokesperson said the body will be "taking it up with them".

Sri Lanka are next in action against England at Headingley on Friday.

Australia captain Aaron Finch claimed his side could have passed 350 in a win against Sri Lanka that moved them top of the Cricket World Cup's group-stage table.

Opener Finch blasted 153, the joint-highest score of the World Cup so far, as well as equalling his own ODI record tally, as Australia racked up 334-7 at The Oval on Saturday.

And with Mitchell Starc in fine form, taking 4-55 including removing dangerous opener Kusal Perera for 52, Australia had their fourth win from five games as Sri Lanka fell short by 87 runs.

A semi-final spot is now in sight for Australia, with Finch's side next in action against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

"It was nice to get a couple away early, it's key to my batting and if I'm getting drives away it's a good sign," said Finch after collecting his award for player of the match.

"It's a nice wicket, I've been working on getting my balance spot on from ball one. I've been out first ball a few times so it's key for me to do that.

"We lost some wickets when I was trying to take the game on, maybe a bit too much at times, but the first partnerships were key to getting our score.

"They bowled excellently, we could have got over 350, but they put the pressure on superbly at the end."

Steve Smith made 73 as the duo put on 173 for the third wicket to take the game away from Sri Lanka.

"He gets off strike so easily and scores boundaries so easily," Finch said of Smith. "He just hits the ball in the gap and it's a great skill early in the innings."

In response Sri Lanka were 115 without loss and seemingly on track to chase down a massive score but they were pegged back by Starc as well as Pat Cummins, who took 2-38, and Kane Richardson, whose 3-47 included the scalp of captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

"Finch and Smith batted well, but we came back strongly," said the Sri Lanka skipper, who made 97.

"We started well, but the middle order couldn't capitalise. They had to handle pressure and keep the momentum going.

"Starc and Cummins are world class, we knew what they could do, we had to keep a plan but we didn't.

"We lost couple of games to the rain, now we need to win a couple of games."

Sri Lanka's next game is against hosts England in Leeds on Friday.

Australia captain Aaron Finch smashed the joint-highest score of the 2019 Cricket World Cup before the competition's leading wicket-taker Mitchell Starc returned 4-55 in an 87-run victory over Sri Lanka at The Oval. 

Australia captain Aaron Finch smashed 153 against Sri Lanka at The Oval to record the joint-highest score of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Finch, who has also made the most runs in this tournament having accrued 343 in five innings, blasted five sixes and another 15 fours in a 132-ball knock as Australia piled on the runs.

The opener was eventually dismissed when he skied a slower ball from Isuru Udana straight into the air to give Dimuth Karunaratne a simple catch at cover.

That total meant the Australian emulated England opener Jason Roy's World Cup knock against Bangladesh one week ago, while Finch also equalled his own best ODI score having made an unbeaten 153 against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in March.

Finch had put on 80 with David Warner (26) in their opening stand before he combined in a third-wicket partnership worth 173 alongside Steve Smith (73), with Australia moving beyond 300 in the 45th over.

Sri Lanka will hope to finally take the field for a third time at the Cricket World Cup, needing to spring a surprise against holders Australia to bolster their chances of progressing to the semi-finals.

Dimuth Karunaratne's men have completed just two of their four scheduled matches, having to settle for a share of the spoils after games with Pakistan and Bangladesh were abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain.

Robbed of those opportunities to gain momentum, they now face the daunting task of taking on Australia, who have garnered six points from their first four contests.

A Sri Lanka win at The Oval would move them level with the defending champions but the omens are not good. Sri Lanka have won just two of the nine World Cup matches between the sides.

Australia also won the last ODI series these teams contested, claiming a 4-1 triumph in Sri Lanka back in 2016.

Marcus Stoinis will again be missing from the Australia attack with a side strain, while Sri Lanka fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep has recovered from a dislocated and cut finger on his bowling hand.

Pradeep took 4-31 in Sri Lanka's sole win over Afghanistan and they will hope for a similar impact at The Oval, where Australia have lost their past four completed ODIs – including against India last Sunday.

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

After bouncing back from a 10-wicket defeat to New Zealand in their opener with a 34-run victory over Afghanistan, Sri Lanka have seen their top-four hopes dented by the weather.

Australia started by easing past Afghanistan and holding on for a 15-run win over West Indies. They were comfortably second best in a 36-run loss to India and were not overly convincing as they got back to winning ways against Pakistan at Taunton.

WHAT THEY SAID

Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne: "Australia have a really good bowling line-up and top order with bat in hand. We need to take early wickets and have to get through the early overs with the bat, that will be the crucial part."

Australia skipper Aaron Finch: "I don't think we've gone anywhere near our best, which is still a good thing; that we've got six points on the board while not playing anywhere near our best cricket."

OPTA FACTS

- Finch and David Warner have put on 2,444 ODI runs together as a partnership (52 innings, averaging 47). They compiled 146 runs together against Pakistan last time out, a sixth century partnership for the duo in ODIs.

- Lasith Malinga needs four more wickets to become the fourth bowler to reach 50 scalps in World Cups, after Glenn McGrath (71), Muttiah Muralitharan (68) and Wasim Akram (55).

- A five wicket-haul for Mitchell Starc (31 wickets) would see him leapfrog Shane Warne (32), Shaun Tait (34), Brad Hogg (34) and Brett Lee (35) as Australia's second highest wicket taker in World Cup history, behind only McGrath (71).

ICC chief executive David Richardson said reserve days for weather reasons in the first phase of the Cricket World Cup would be "extremely complex to deliver" after a third match in five days ended without a result.

Unseasonable rain across the United Kingdom continued to impact the tournament on Tuesday, with Bangladesh's clash against Sri Lanka in Bristol abandoned without a ball being bowled.

It followed a no result in Monday's clash between South Africa and West Indies, in which just 7.3 overs were played, and another complete washout on Friday for Pakistan's meeting against luckless Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes argued the case for reserve days during the initial phase of the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday, saying: "We put men on the moon, so why can't we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament."

With rain and forecasts the talk of the cricket world, outgoing ICC boss Richardson said that Rhodes' suggestion was not plausible for a host of reasons.

"Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup would significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically would be extremely complex to deliver," Richardson said in a statement.

"It would impact pitch preparation, team recovery and travel days, accommodation and venue availability, tournament staffing, volunteer and match officials availability, broadcast logistics and very importantly the spectators who in some instances have travelled hours to be at the game.

"There is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either."

Richardson added reserve days would be in place later in the tournament, before expressing his disappointment with the British weather.

"We have reserve days factored in for the knock-out stages, knowing that over the course of 45 group games we should play the large majority," he added.

"This is extremely unseasonable weather. In the last couple of days we have experienced more than twice the average monthly rainfall for June which is usually the third driest month in the UK. In 2018 there was just 2mm of rain in June but the last 24 hours alone has seen around 100mm fall in the south-east of England.  

"When a match is affected by weather conditions, the venue team work closely with Match Officials and Ground Staff to ensure that we have the best possible opportunity to play cricket, even if it is a reduced-overs game."

Weather permitting, the Cricket World Cup will continue on Wednesday when Australia face Pakistan in Taunton.

Bangladesh are "very optimistic" Shakib Al Hasan will overcome a thigh injury in time to face West Indies next Monday at the Cricket World Cup.

All-rounder Shakib strained his left thigh while batting during the clash with host nation England on Saturday, though he still went on to score a century in a losing cause in Cardiff.

The Tigers saw Tuesday's fixture against Sri Lanka washed out in Bristol but now have a break from action in the tournament, giving the 32-year-old time to undergo further treatment.

"He picked up a little injury, as you all saw in that game against England," Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes told the media.

"He fought on, battled on and played extremely well with an injury.

"We're very, very optimistic that the treatment that he'll get this week and the way that he can recover well. We're very optimistic that he can play in that next game against West Indies."

Bangladesh's game with Sri Lanka was the second at this year's World Cup to be abandoned without any play whatsoever, while South Africa and West Indies managed just 7.3 overs in Southampton on Monday.

With teams picking up just a solitary point for rained-off fixtures, rain could have a crucial say in deciding who qualifies for the semi-finals.

Englishman Rhodes knows all about the unpredictable weather in his home country, leading him to suggest the World Cup may have benefited from building reserve days into the schedule for the group stage.

"If you know the English weather, sadly we're going to get a lot of rain," said Rhodes, who played 11 Tests and nine ODI games for England in his playing career.

"We never know when the rain is going to come. People from all over the world keep asking me whether it's going to rain; I don't know. But, at the moment, we're seeing some problems.

"And I know logistically it would have been a big headache for the tournament organisers, and I know that it would have been difficult, but we have got quite a lot of time in between games, and if we have got to travel a day later, then so be it.

"We put men on the moon, so why can we not have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament? They are spread out, the games.

"I would say that it's disappointing for the crowd as well. They have got tickets to see a game of cricket and it would be up to them if they can get there the day after."

Sri Lanka were again left frustrated by the Bristol weather as their Cricket World Cup clash with Bangladesh was washed out on Tuesday.

No play was possible when Sri Lanka were due to face Pakistan on Friday and rain put paid to the match at the same venue four days later.

Both sides were looking for a second win of the tournament, but persistent rain made conditions unplayable.

West Indies and South Africa also had to settle for a point apiece when their match was called off on Monday, with the struggling Proteas in trouble on 29-2 after 7.3 overs at the Rose Bowl.

Sri Lanka will now turn their attention to facing holders Australia at The Oval on Saturday, while Bangladesh have to wait until Monday for their next match against the Windies at Taunton.

Lasith Malinga will fly home after Sri Lanka's Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh due to the death of his mother-in-law, but the quick is expected to return before their next game.

Malinga will leave the squad following Tuesday's encounter with Bangladesh in Bristol to attend Kanthi Perera's funeral in Colombo two days later.

The 35-year-old paceman is due back in England in time to take on holders Australia at The Oval on Saturday.

Malinga took 3-39 in the victory over Afghanistan last week after failing to strike in a hammering at the hands of New Zealand.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could be frustrated by the weather as they eye a second victory at the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.

Rain is forecast in Bristol a day after the clash between West Indies and South Africa was abandoned, with just 7.3 overs bowled at the Rose Bowl.

Sri Lanka's match against Pakistan last Friday was washed out at the County Ground and the rain may ruin things once more for two sides in need of some sort of contest as they look to defy the odds and reach the semi-finals.

Paceman Nuwan Pradeep was ruled out of Sri Lanka's fourth match of the tournament with a dislocated finger, which he sustained in a practice session on Sunday.

Bangladesh, beaten in all three previous World Cup meetings between the two nations, have an injury concern over key man Shakib Al Hasan (quad).

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

Sri Lanka made an abysmal start, losing by 10 wickets to New Zealand after being dismissed for only 136. They responded with a victory over Afghanistan before being rain prevented them from facing the ICC Champions Trophy holders.

Bangladesh saw off South Africa in an Oval run-fest before the Black Caps consigned them to a tense two-wicket loss. Hosts England then downed the Tigers by 106 runs in Cardiff on Saturday despite a Shakib century.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Sri Lanka batting coach Jon Lewis  "Our focus will be on us and us being positive on ourselves, and we'll believe even though we know it is a strong opposition, and an opposition that probably has the right to be confident because of the way they have played so far, we'll still be backing ourselves very strongly."

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza: "There is still a lot of hope. The boys are really hungry to win matches. Pressure will be there, but we have to cope with the pressure and make sure we deliver."

 

OPTA FACTS

- Shakib has passed 50 in four consecutive ODIs. Tamim Iqbal (five) is the only batsman to have a longer streak for the Tigers.

- Lasith Malinga's 3-39 against Afghanistan meant the veteran has now moved inside the all-time top five list for most men's Cricket World Cup wickets (46), 

- Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka when they last took them on in this format, winning by a huge margin of 137 runs last September.

Pakistan face two huge matches at the Cricket World Cup this week, including a meeting with their biggest rivals.

Having upset England, Pakistan saw their match against Sri Lanka abandoned, making their potential passage to the semi-finals more difficult.

They will face two big tests this week, firstly against Australia, before taking on India in a highly anticipated clash in Manchester.

Omnisport takes a look at what the next week has in store, along with the standings and key statistics from the tournament to date.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 10 June: South Africa v West Indies (Rose Bowl, Southampton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 11 June: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (County Ground, Bristol) - 1030

Wednesday 12 June: Australia v Pakistan (County Ground, Taunton) - 1030

Thursday 13 June: India v New Zealand (Trent Bridge, Nottingham) - 1030

Friday 14 June: England v West Indies (Rose Bowl, Southampton) - 1030

Saturday 15 June: Sri Lanka v Australia (The Oval, London) - 1030, South Africa v Afghanistan (Sophia Gardens, Cardiff) - 1330

Sunday 16 June: India v Pakistan (Old Trafford, Manchester) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

The end of the week is promising to provide one of the biggest matches of the tournament. Rivals India and Pakistan will meet at Old Trafford in Manchester in what looks like a blockbuster encounter. While both will undoubtedly want a win, it could be nearing desperation time for Pakistan, who have one victory from three games and also face Australia this week.

STANDINGS

1. New Zealand - 6pts from 3 games, Net Run Rate +2.163
2. England - 4pts from 3 games, NRR +1.307
3. India - 4pts from 2 games, NRR +0.539
4. Australia - 4pts from 3 games, NRR +0.483
5. Sri Lanka - 3pts from 3 games, NRR -1.517
6. Pakistan - 3pts from 3 games, NRR -2.412
7. West Indies - 2pts from 2 games, NRR +2.054
8. Bangladesh - 2pts from 3 games, NRR -0.714
9. South Africa - 0pts from 3 games, NRR -0.952
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 3 games, NRR -1.493

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Shakib Al Hasan (Ban) - 260
2: Jason Roy (Eng) - 215
3: Jos Buttler (Eng) - 185

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

1: Lockie Ferguson (NZ) - 8
=2: Matt Henry (NZ), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 7

Sri Lanka paceman Nuwan Pradeep will miss the Cricket World Cup clash with Bangladesh on Tuesday after suffering a dislocated finger.

Pradeep was struck on his bowling hand protecting his face from a Kusal Perera drive in the nets in Bristol on Sunday.

The 32-year-old quick was taken to hospital two days before the meeting with the Tigers at the County Ground.

Pradeep will play no part in his side's fourth match of the tournament and it remains to be seen if he will be fit to take on Australia at The Oval next Saturday.

Team manager Asantha De Mel said: "Nuwan was given treatment at the hospital, while the doctors reset his dislocated finger and the cut on his finger was closed with stitches. He was also administered with antibiotics.

He added: "Pradeep will not take part in Sri Lanka's Game against Bangladesh on Tuesday, as he will need a week's time to recover from the injury."

Pradeep was named man of the match after taking 4-31 in a rain-affected 34-run victory over Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was abandoned with no result due to persistent rain in Bristol.

Both teams had been scheduled to play their third matches of the tournament on Friday, having each rebounded from opening losses with much-needed wins.

However, a day of dismal weather in the south west of England prevented a single ball from being bowled, with the game called off at 3:46pm local time.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka will each pick up a point courtesy of the first washout of the tournament.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka enter Friday's match in Bristol aiming to build some much-needed momentum at the Cricket World Cup.

Miserable opening defeats left both sides reeling, but the two bounced back to win their second matches.

Pakistan will particularly feel they have something to offer at this tournament after halting England in their tracks earlier this week in a thrilling 14-run triumph.

That win ended a run of 11 consecutive losses in completed ODIs and Sarfraz Ahmed's men can approach a winnable third fixture with some positivity.

Sri Lanka also got on the board against Afghanistan, but they had been on a similarly dismal run. Their only other ODI victory this year came against Scotland.

Even that win over Afghanistan included a remarkable collapse that threatened to let their opponents back into the match, and Sri Lanka might have their work cut out again.

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

There looked to be no end to Pakistan's misery when they slumped to another defeat against West Indies in a humiliating opener, only to then bounce back and stun hosts and favourites England at Trent Bridge on Monday.

Sri Lanka similarly appeared set for a miserable stay in England when they started with a humbling defeat to New Zealand, but victory over Afghanistan restored some pride.

WHAT THEY SAID

Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower: "You have always got to be respectful and [Sri Lanka] have got good bowlers. I have just come out of a batting meeting to see their skills - and it should be a good game."

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne: "We just needed a win. It always gives us the confidence if you get a win, against any team, with any team, that is what we want. Finally, we got that."

OPTA FACTS

- Pakistan have won their last six ODIs against Sri Lanka, as well as all seven of the sides' Cricket World Cup meetings.

- Sri Lanka have not enjoyed back-to-back ODI wins in England and Wales since May-June 2014, winning one, losing six and drawing one since then.

- Nuwan Pradeep claimed bowling figures of 4-31 off nine overs against Afghanistan, his career-best figures in the format.

- Victory for Sri Lanka last time out ended a run of 21 consecutive ODI defeats when Lasith Malinga had featured for his country.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.