Accounts and predictions relating to today’s cricket world cup warm up matches, a health/fitness update and some photographs.
Two Cricket World Cup Warm Up matches are under way – both at the halfway stage. They form the main part of this post.
WORLD CUP WARM UP MATCHES
There are two games today:
SouthAfrica v Sri Lanka – South Africa 338-7 from 50 overs.
A respectable total for South Africa at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff. 88 from Du Plessis and 65 from Amla were the main batting contributions. Left-arm medium pacer Isuru Udana was economical, taking 1-42 from his 10 overs, while Lakmaland Pradeep each took two wickets, though expensively, going for 140 from 19 between them. This is a tough one to call, but looking the way everyone other than Isuru got treated in this innings I am going to predict that Sri Lanka chase these down.
Afghanistan v Pakistan – Pakistan 262 all out from 47.2 overs.
This match, at Ashley Down, Bristol, has all the makings of a classic. A century from Babar Azam was at the heart of the innings – and on recent evidence Babar Azam scoring a century is not necessarily good news for Pakistan. Mohammad Nabihad 3-46 from his 10 overs andRashid Khan 2-27 from nine, while fast bowler Dawlat Zadran took 2-37 from 5.5 overs. Nabi and Khan will probably be very economical in the world cup, as opponents look to avoid losing wickets to them and hope to cash on the other less good bowlers. Today I am predicting that Afghanistan will chase down this target to put down a marker for the tournament.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND FITNESS
Today I broke new ground in my slow regaining of fitness and health post cancer. I managed to extend this morning’s walk to just opposite The Hob in The Well, which is close to King’s Lynn town centre. I am hoping to develop sufficient fitness to reach King’s Lynn Library unassisted in time for an NAS event there on June 14th, so that I do not have to rely on some kind person being able to gave me a lift. I finish with my usual sign off…
The last of the quarter-finals of the cricket world cup ended earlier today UK time. New Zealand obliterated the West Indies in a match dominated by Martin Guptill’s amazing 237 not out (the last 137 off 51 balls if I remember rightly). The semi-final line up is thus India v Australia (head and heart both say India to win that one) and New Zealand vs South Africa, neither of whom have ever got further than the semis (impossible to predict, heart says NZ). South Africa’s potential bete noire is their lack of an all-rounder, which means either playing only four front-line bowlers as they have so far, or dropping a batsman to make way for a fifth bowler. For more details about the Guptill knock, and the records he rewrote in the process check out www.cricinfo.com. Before moving on to the rugby section, some pics…
Today has been an amazing day in the Six Nations. First of all Wales thrashed Italy to become favourites for the trophy. Then Ireland won by a sufficient margin at Murrayfield to move into pole position to retain their title. England who had the toughest assignment of the three contenders need to beat France by 26 or more to take the title on points difference. At the moment it is not looking good for England. France have just scored and converted a try to move within five points of England – looking more and more like the trophy is staying in the emerald isle. England nine points to the good (34-25) – another 17 needed to take the trophy. Another try for England – moves them within 12 with possibly two more to come. Conversion successful – England need 10 unanswered points for the trophy. James Haskell in the sin bin – not looking good for England. France have just scored the try that surely ends England’s hopes of the trophy – England 41 France 30 with a French conversion to come. Conversion missed – England need 15 unanswered points. Another try – England 46 France 30. A successful conversion for England and it is 48-30 – eight more points for England and they win. France have just scored again – England now need 13 points – conversion to come. The equation is now that England need to find 13 more points and they have 13 minutes in which to do it. Jack Nowell has scored another try – reducing the ask to eight points. Conversion by George Ford – England 55 France 35 – a converted try will win them the Six Nations. The whistle has gone and an amazing final day at the Six Nations is over – Ireland retain the title and England are runners-up for the fourth time in succession. Wales in spite of scoring 61 points in Rome earlier today finish third. I will now finish this post with a few more pics…
The match between Scotland and Sri Lanka at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart is at the halfway stage and has already seen a record set and another equalled.
Kumar Sanggakara kept his appointment with a century, becoming the first to achieve the feat in four successive ODIs. His century was matched by one from Tillekaratne Dilshan and the main course was followed by an explosive 51 from Angelo Matthews as Sri Lanka ran up 363 from their 50 overs. In amongst this carnage Josh Davey took three wickets, taking him up to 14 for the tournament and temporarily leading wicket taker, one ahead of Trent ‘the conductor’ Boult. That figure of 14 wickets for the tournament also ties Eddo Brandes of Zimbabwe for most wickets ever taken by a bowler for an associate member at a world cup (in 1992 Zimbabwe had yet to be promoted to full member status).
The Bellerive seems to be a serendipitous ground for great things to happen at – it was here that Ireland edged out Zimbabwe in a thriller just a few days ago. The word serendipitous derives from the wondrous island encountered by Sindbad the Sailor in his sixth voyage, the Arabic name of which is rendered in English translation as Serendip, Serendib or Sarandib. The name by which this island is now known? Sri Lanka.
I do not see this game developing into a Zimbabwe v Ireland style thriller, especially with Kyle Coetzer, the Aberdonian with a South African surname having gone to the second ball of Scotland’s reply.
As those familiar with this blog know I never leave you without sharing some pictures…
Given my suggestion for a 16 team competition, I reckon that the eight quarter-finalists should qualify automatically for the next world cup and everyone else regardless of historic status or otherwise within the cricket world should have to earn the right to be in the tournament by going through qualifying. Also, before anyone asks, I do not believe that host nations should qualify automatically – they too should be me made to earn the right to take part in the competition.
The best match of the 2015 Cricket World Cup so far took place at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart this morning GB time. Ireland, with a century from Ed Joyce and 97 from Andrew Balbirnie reached 331-8. In reply Zimbabwe fought brilliantly, and at various times, not least when they took 19 from the 49th over, bowled by Kevin O’Brien, to leave themselves needing seven of six balls, they looked like favourites for what have been the largest successful chase in World Cup history. Alex Cusack kept a cool head, and put the finishing touches to a fine bowling performance by capturing the two remaining Zimbabwe wickets for the addition of a single, in three balls. A full scorecard can be viewed by clicking here. Having set the scene with this opening account I will share some pictures before moving on…
Not only was that match a classic, featuring quality performances from many players, but the eventual result means that Ireland have now won three matches at this tournament, and are very well placed to progress to the quarter finals. The only disappointment to me was that the Player of the Match Award went boringly (and in my opinion wrongly) to Ed Joyce for his hundred when the key to Ireland’s victory was the cool head under pressure displayed by Alex Cusack. Having witnessed this amazing match I am more convinced than ever that the ICC would be utterly wrong to reduce associate nation involvement in the World Cup. My response to Aakash Chopra who gets to publicise his ideas on www.cricinfo.com and who believes that the World Cup should be reduced to ten teams and that the associates should concentrate on getting to play more matches against full members outside of world cups is twofold. First he is guilty of presenting a false dichotomy: it is not a case of either or – i would like to see both more matches between full members and associates outside of world cups and greater associate participation in World Cups. Whether he is guilty of any offence beyond sloppy logic I am not prepared to say, but it is only in cricket that anyone argues for a smaller world cup. My thoughts on how the Cricket World Cup should be formatted can be viewed by clicking here.
Congratulations to Ireland on a magnificent performance. Before sharing some more pictures I will comment on nations who first entered the world cup as associates and are now full members:
Sri Lanka – played 1975 and 1979 as associates before being granted full membership – Won in 1996 (a feat never achieved by England), Runners up in 2011.
Zimbabwe – made world cup debut in 1983 as an associate,promoted to full membership in 1992 – beat Australia in their first ever world cup match, nearly beat India (eventual champions), later in that competition, and in 1999 when England were ejected from their own party embarrassingly early came with an ace of qualifying for the semi-final.
Bangladesh – No great highlights yet, but are going fairly well this time, and there is at least one person who would not be in the least surprised were they to end up progressing further than England.
I spent today imaging items for a Timed Bid auction which will go live on Monday (check out http://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/search-filter/auction-catalogues?AuctionType=3 at that time). I managed to get everything I needed to do done in spite of the fact that my work computer was functioning at about the same level as the West Indies batting had been when I listened to commentary from the cricket world cup before setting off for work!
The items covered a variety of categories. This set of Royal Doulton plates was the very first lot I imaged today…
While these could appeal either to pottery enthusiasts or lovers of railwayana, they were beaten for breadth of appeal by lot 2085, which has stamps, postal history, medals and art (at least) covered…
This French medallion (lot 1502) came out well…
I finish this eclectic selection of images with some stamp album lots where I decided rather than photographing whole pages to focus on smaller quantities of stamps…
There has been much talk at the Cricket World Cup about how the tournament should be formatted, especially given that there are those who would reduce it to a ten team tournament (so utterly harebrained a notion that I do no more than mention it). Several of the associate nations at this world cup have given good accounts of themselves, with Ireland having a strong chance of progressing to the quarter finals.
My formula for a Cricket World Cup would be as follows:
16 teams to play in the tournament. Stage one would involve two groups of eight teams, the top four from each group progressing. Each group would play its matches in sets of four (hence two groups of eight), making seven rounds of matches for each group, to played on alternate days (i.e. this stage would span two weeks, with each side having a day off between matches.
After the group stage would be a three day break before the quarter-finals, which would be played all on one day. After a two day break the semi–finals would take place. Then following another two day break the final would take place. This would mean that the tournament would be played in a period of three and a half weeks (a sensible length for a global tournament).
As for the TV people: If they don’t like it they can lump it.