In Brief

Cricket World Cup: England’s wake-up call and Mueller’s message to Kohli

Ben Stokes says England must not let their standards drop again

Stokes is hurting

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has used his Daily Mirror column to admit that Monday’s defeat to Pakistan was a painful wake-up call for him and his team-mates.

“We let ourselves down with our fielding and it cost us,” said Stokes, referring to the 11 wides, dropped catches and the 17 runs conceded to misfields.

“We can’t let our standards drop off the way they did. In cricket, we’ve seen it before, if you start off poorly in the field it can become contagious and it can leak over into the whole 50 overs and when you lose a game on the back of a fielding performance it really does hurt.”

Despite the admission, Stokes promised England would be back to their best on Saturday against Bangladesh in Cardiff (10.30am, live on Sky Sports).

“They have started well too so it will be another big game,” he said. “One where we expect our standards to be sky high across the board.”

Sri Lanka win thriller

Afghanistan came close to pulling off a famous victory against Sri Lanka in Cardiff yesterday.

In a match affected by rain, the 1996 world champions collapsed from 144-1 to 201 all out, leaving Afghanistan requiring 187 from 41 overs once the rain delay had been taken into account.

A partnership of 64 between Najibullah Zadran and Gulbadin Naib gave the Afghans hope of securing their first international victory against a Test-playing nation in a World Cup match, but they were eventually all out for 152. Sri Lanka won by 34 runs using the DLS Method.

“Credit to the Sri Lanka bowlers for how well they bowled,” said Afghan captain Naib. “The target was not too much, we prepared for that in the last few months, but we were missing something.”

Steyn’s pain

South Africa have suffered another World Cup setback with the withdrawal of Dale Steyn.

Having lost their opening two matches, the Proteas must now make do without their veteran fast bowler because of a shoulder injury.

The 35-year-old, South Africa’s fifth-highest one-day international (ODI) wicket taker with 194 victims, will be replaced by left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks, an international rookie who only made his ODI debut this year.

“He [Steyn] needs love at the moment,” said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who leads his team against India today. “It’s been a tough two and a half years for him.”

India arrive

Although South Africa will be making their third appearance in the World Cup at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton today, it will be India’s first match of the tournament.

The 2011 champions are making a belated bow in the World Cup because of the Indian Premier League, which ended on 12 May, and captain Virat Kohli has admitted that despite his vast experience he’s apprehensive.

“I’m feeling excited, anticipation and a bit of nerves as well which is always good for any sportsman to have,” said the 30-year-old. “If you say ‘World Cup’, it brings a different kind of feeling to your mind and heart.”

German support for Kohli’s team

India have received a good luck message ahead of today’s clash with South Africa from an unlikely source, reports India Today.

Germany and Bayern Munich footballer Thomas Mueller has posted a message of support on Twitter, declaring his allegiance to India alongside a photo of him wearing the team’s shirt.

Mueller, a Fifa World Cup winner in 2014, tweeted: “I cross my fingers for @imVkohli, the captain of the Indian team. He’s a fan of @DFB_Team and supported it multiple times in the past #Cricket #GermanyCheersForIndia.”

In today’s other match Bangladesh face New Zealand at The Oval (1.30pm).

This week’s CWC fixtures

All matches are live on Sky Sports:

  • Wednesday 5 June: South Africa vs. India (10.30am); Bangladesh vs. New Zealand (1.30pm) 
  • Thursday 6 June: Australia vs. West Indies (10.30am) 
  • Friday 7 June: Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (10.30am) 
  • Saturday 8 June: England vs. Bangladesh (10.30am); Afghanistan vs. New Zealand (1.30pm) 
  • Sunday 9 June: India vs. Australia (10.30am)
  • Monday 10 June: South Africa vs. West Indies (10.30am)
  • Tuesday 11 June: Bangladesh vs. Sri Lanka (10.30am)
  • Wednesday 12 June: Australia vs. Pakistan (10.30am)
  • Thursday 13 June: India vs. New Zealand (10.30am)


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