Desperate cricket fans caused havoc when they tried to force their way into a T20 World Cup match and the chaos has caused a national skipper to urge calm.
Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi pleaded for T20 World Cup calm on Friday after thousands of ticketless fans tried to storm the Dubai Stadium for the high-profile clash against neighbours Pakistan.
All tickets had been sold for the game but the chaos meant that many fans who had bought tickets were prevented from entering.
Nabi asked Afghan fans to buy tickets to watch the team’s remaining matches in the tournament.
“For the Afghan fans, please buy a ticket and come to the stadium. Don’t repeat this again. This is not good,” said Nabi after his team had lost by five wickets.
The International Cricket Council apologised to ticket holders who could not enter the stadium where the final will also be staged on November 14.
“More than 16,000 tickets had been issued for tonight’s game between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said an ICC statement.
“However, thousands of ticketless fans travelled to the venue and then attempted to force entry into the stadium.
“Dubai Police and security staff secured the stadium to ensure the safety of everyone inside and brought in significant additional resources to disperse the crowd and calm the situation.” “The ICC, BCCI (hosts Board of Control for Cricket in India) and ECB (Emirates Cricket Board) apologise to any fans with valid tickets who were unable to enter the stadium.” They added:
“The ICC has asked the ECB to undertake a thorough investigation into tonight’s events to learn any lessons and will work closely with authorities to ensure there is no repeat of this situation in the future.”
Friday’s events brought back memories of the 2019 50-over World Cup clash between the two teams in Leeds which was scarred by fighting and a pitch invasion.
WARNER’S WORLD-CLASS RESPONSE TO CRITICS
A reflective David Warner insists he will not take pleasure in his emphatic response to the heavy criticism he has received about his recent poor form.
The destructive batter looked to turn his fortunes around in his 65-run T20 World Cup knock against Sri Lanka on Friday morning (AEDT).
Warner, who turned 35 on Wednesday, had scored just 17 runs in his previous last five T20 innings for Australia and IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad as the pressure mounted on the Aussie opener.
He commended speedster Mitchell Starc, who claimed 2/27, for playing through an injury to his knee, sustained after a ball was hit back at him in a net session on Thursday.
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In a sign of his positive spirits, Warner alluded to football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola UEFA Euro 2020 stunt in jest, gesturing towards the Coke bottle beside him before the media conference and saying: “if it is good enough for Ronaldo, it’s good enough for me.”
Asked about whether his blistering total was about shutting critics down, Warner maintained criticism was a reality of world sport and said he was pleased to get some time out in the middle.
“Shutting the critics down? Nah, that’s the world of sport. When you ride the highs you’ve got to ride the lows and you’ve got to stay confident and keep a smile on your face and not let it get to you,” Warner told reporters post-match.
“I think people who criticise me know exactly what I’m about.
“Tonight I had to obviously start fresh, everybody was talking about my form, which I reiterated was not the thing I’m worried about – it’s about getting out there and starting well.
“It was great to get out there in the middle and spend some time there, running between wickets. Little things like that just keeps your mind ticking. When you’re in those pressure situations.
“Obviously in the last 6-12 months we haven’t played much cricket and I haven’t been in those situations too often.”
Warner said a batter would likely have missed with Starc’s injury blow.
“It was a nasty knock on the inside of the knee. Obviously shows great courage for him to get up, it’s his front leg as well so he would’ve been in some pain. I know with us batters we’d probably miss a game with an inside edge to the knee,” Warner said.
“It’s a World Cup, I know every single one of the boys in this team wouldn’t miss a game unless they literally couldn’t walk onto the park, so credit to him.
(He’s) bowling nicely, he’s got that seam presentation back and he’s bowling some quick deliveries …. It was good to see that trademark yorker after he got hit.”
Australia faces its toughest test yet in white-ball supremo England on Sunday night, with Warner saying applying pressure early to its star-studded batting line-up will be the key focus.
“Coming up against them will be a good challenge. They’ve got a good side, they bat deep and they’ve got a lot of options with the ball. They’ve got high confidence as well, we know with their batting they’re going to come hard.
“It’s applying pressure, if you can apply pressure in the first six, minimise damage, it sort of changes the mindset of what they need to do. That’s the most important thing.”
MATCH REPORT: WARNER BOUNCES BACK TO PUT AUSSIES IN BOX SEAT
A triumphant return to form from under-fire opener Warner has put Australia in the box seat to advance to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, claiming a convincing seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Dubai.
Australia cruised to the target of 155 with three overs to spare off the back of a 70-run opening stand from Warner and Aaron Finch, with the powerful pair dispatching poor bowling from Sri Lanka’s pace attack.
The victory moves Australia into second spot in Group 1.
Warner clubbed 65 runs at a rapid strike rate of 154, proving he has still got it despite turning 35 this week, after being gifted a life by a comical dropped catch from keeper-batter Kusal Perera.
But it was man-of-the-match Adam Zampa who proved the catalyst in the win, claiming the key wicket of dangerous batter Charith Asalanka on his way to a frugal 2/12 from his four overs.
Zampa and quick Mitchell Starc, who shook off an injury scare, turned the tide with four scalps in as many overs, changing the course of the match after Asalanka and Perera threatened to take the game away from the Aussies.
Bhanuka Rajapakse (33 from 26 deliveries) resurrected the Sri Lankan innings thereafter with a late-innings surge, but Australia proved too strong to record their second triumph of the tournament.
The win will fill Justin Langer’s side with confidence ahead of a bumper clash with arch rivals England – the top-two sides in Group 1 – in Dubai on Sunday.
NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN
The worrying scene of Starc limping off from training, after a ball was hit back at him in the nets on Thursday, had fans fearing the worst for Australia’s World Cup hopes, but the injury scare had little impact on his output.
The highlight came in the form of a trademark Starc yorker, which swung in beautifully powerful to send opener Kusal Perera packing at a blistering pace of 144 km/h.
He then dismissed Wanindu Hasarangu cheaply and bowled a solid over at the death in an inspired performance under duress, finishing with 2/27.
“(I) just copped a knock at training, so no stress,” Starc said at the first innings break.
WARNER FINDS HIS MOJO
Scoring a paltry 17 runs in his previous five T20 innings for Australia and IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad, where he was ceremoniously dumped as captain and dropped, the pressure was heating up on Warner.
While it was a scratchy start, dropped on 18 and scoring his first boundary courtesy of a fortunate inside-edge, the Aussie superstar showed signs of his best with his crisp hitting down the ground and square of the wicket.
Warner made the Sri Lankans pay, the nation he boasts his highest T20I average against, smashing 10 boundaries before being dismissed late in the innings for 65.
As the No. 1 wicket-taker in all T20Is between the two nations, it was no surprise to see Zampa dominate.
Zampa had the Sri Lankans in a spin from the moment he came into the attack, bowling a game-high 12 dot balls and regularly beating the bat with googlies.
The crafty leg-spinner has taken 16 wickets in eight matches at an impressive average of 10.6 against Sri Lanka – four more than former speedster Lasith Malinga from 12 matches – while conceding a tidy 5.31 runs per over.
ASALANKA POWERS SRI LANKA
Australia put the squeeze on Sri Lanka early as Cummins’s dismissal of Pathum Nissanka left them at 1/15 from 2.3 overs, but it all changed in a blink of an eye when the in-form Asalanka came to the crease.
Coming off an unbeaten 80 against Bangladesh, Asalanka creamed consecutive boundaries with confidence off his first two balls at the crease after a no-ball from Cummins.
Then came a monster 86-metre maximum as Glenn Maxwell entered the attack, putting the pressure back on the Aussies.
Nine balls later, Sri Lanka found themselves back in the contest at 1/41 as Asalanka smashed 20 from his first eight balls at the crease.