Cricket news first. Bangladesh made the perfect start to their 2019 World Cup campaign, scoring their highest one-day international score and registering a 21-run win over a haggard South African team on Sunday.
In a remarkably self-assured performance on the big stage, Mashrafe Mortaza’s men posted 330/6 in their 50 overs, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan leading the charge at the Oval. Rahim scored a brisk 78 runs, building a 142-run partnership with Shakib, who made 75. Towards the end of their innings, Mahmudullah’s boisterous 46 not out from 33 balls helped Bangladesh score 54 runs in the last 4 overs as they went past their previous highest ODI total of 329 against Pakistan in 2015.
In reply, the Proteas never looked like chasing down the Bangladesh total. Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram made sedate start and that steadiness continued as skipper Faf du Plessis scored 62 from 53 balls. But the scoring had slowed down, and by the time David Miller was dismissed in the 36th over, South Africa still had 129 runs to get with six wickets in hand. Rassie van der Dussen and, later, JP Duminy tried to get things moving but just couldn’t find the boundary. In the end, the Proteas finished with 309/8, slumping to their second consecutive loss in the World Cup.
It won’t get any easier for South Africa in their next match when they face title contenders India on Wednesday. They are left with little margin for error in the rest of the 10-team group stage, which sees each country play nine matches.
India captain Virat Kohli “is doing fine” despite being hit on his thumb in a training session on Saturday.
Kohli hurt his right thumb during practice at the Ageas Bowl, prompting physiotherapist Patrick Farhat to attend to the Indian skipper. Farhat was first seen using magic spray on the thumb and then applied tape on it. Kohli was seen leaving the field with his thumb dipped in a glass of ice.
That triggered some concerned reactions from certain sections because India, one of the favourites for the title, were hit by injuries in the run up to the World Cup. While all-rounder Vijay Shankar had to sit out of the warm-up game against New Zealand after hurting his elbow, Kedar Jadhav is still recovering from a shoulder injury he picked up during the IPL and missed both of India’s warm-up games against the Kiwis and Bangladesh. Jadhav is a key figure in India’s middle-order, and batted in the nets on Saturday, an indication that he could be fit in time for India’s first match of the tournament on Wednesday against South Africa.
In tennis news, Stan Wawrinka knocked Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas out of the French Open with a thrilling victory in the longest match of the tournament on Sunday, setting up a quarter-final against Roger Federer, while Rafael Nadal claimed his 90th Roland Garros win.
A stunning winner from yards behind the baseline secured a 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 fourth-round triumph for 2015 champion Wawrinka after five hours and nine minutes. Wawrinka, seeded 24th, saved 22 of the 27 break points he faced, including all eight in the final set as sixth seed Tsitsipas pushed for victory but fell short. He said after the match, “It’s incredible, lots of emotions. Thanks to all the fans for staying and (the) support. It’s for these kind of emotions that I live for after coming back from injury.”
He will face fellow Swiss Roger Federer in the next round, a man against whom he has a 23-3 losing head-to-head record.
Federer, the 2009 champion in Paris, is the oldest man to make the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open. He is yet to drop a set in the tournament, but said he still remembers his last-eight loss to Wawrinka in Paris four years ago. He joked, “I have a bad memory of it. Stan beat me in three sets with his terrible shorts!”
Meanwhile, reigning champion Rafael Nadal continued his bid for a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title by beating Grand Slam debutant Juan Ignacio Londero 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. The 17-time major champion was just too strong, powering 40 winners past the Argentinian.
The women’s draw is wide open after the exit of Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams. 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens laid down a marker with a 6-4, 6-3 win over 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza. The American, a former US Open winner, needed five match points to get over the line. In all, at least five women will reach their first Roland Garros quarter-final this year, the first time that has happened since 2001.
In MotoGP, Danilo Petrucci, an Italian rider for local team Ducati, held off defending world champion Marc Marquez to gain a first-ever MotoGP victory on Sunday in the Italian Grand Prix.
Five-time MotoGP champion Marquez on a Honda briefly took the lead in the last lap but Petrucci recaptured first place and won. 28-year-old Petrucci said, “It’s amazing, I’m thrilled. In front of my home crowd and in my town, it’s incredible, I can’t describe how I feel. I’ve achieved my aim for this year which was to win a race, now we have to win the championship with Ducati.”
Marquez – who has won three of the six races so far this season – started on pole but had to battle with the Ducati riders and Suzuki’s Alex Rins, who challenged hard despite starting back on the grid. The four riders overtook each other several times but Petrucci found the power to pull clear in the closing stages of the final lap of the fast Mugello circuit. The Italian finished 0.043sec ahead of Marquez with Dovizioso at 0.338.
The second place finish allowed Spaniard Marquez to increase his lead in the world championship ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso who finished third on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Italian star Valentino Rossi had a forgettable weekend – he finished 18th in qualifying, and crashed out of his home race where he has not won since 2008 after an impressive series of seven consecutive victories.
In cycling, at the 2019 Giro d’Italia, Movistar rider Richard Carapaz held off local hero Vincenzo Nibali to become the first Ecuadorian Grand Tour winner.
Carapaz emerged from the shadows of cycling’s big guns on Sunday, riding into Verona’s ancient Roman Arena to seal his first ever Grand Tour victory in the final-day time trial. His 36th place finish in the final stage, which was won by American Chad Haga, was enough for the 26-year-old to become the first Ecuadorian to win one of the sport’s three major tours.
Carapaz dominated the second half of this year’s race, particularly in the mountains, claiming the coveted pink jersey in just his third full season as a professional rider after starting the race as a support rider for teammate Mikel Landa. However, Carapaz surged ahead of Landa as the race moved into the mountains. He had remained under the radar for much of the race, particularly after having lost time with mechanical problems on stage three. Second-placed Vincenzo Nibali of Italy conceded it had been a mistake to underestimate the Ecuadorian given his fourth-placed finish last year.
Carapaz, who comes from Playa Alta, high in the mountains of northern Ecuador near the border with Colombia, said after his win, “This is the biggest moment of my sporting life. In this final time trial I just suffered from start to finish until I reached the arena of Verona. It’s fabulous to win the Giro d’Italia.”