T20 World Cup – Round One Reviewed

A look back at round one of the T20 World Cup currently happening in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Yesterday the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup in Dubai got underway, with Australia beating South Africa and England obliterating the West Indies. In this post I look back at the events of the first round matches, which provided four of the teams contesting the Super 12s. Before that, I have a small piece of business to attend to: Phoebe has once again opened up her blog for people to share details of their own blogs.

EARLY EXCHANGES

I covered the opening day in this post. The day after those events the second group got underway. Ireland beat the Netherlands, with Curtis Campher taking four wickets in four balls, only the third bowler ever to do so in an international match (Lasith Malinga has done so twice, in an ODI and a T20I, and Rashid Khan of Afghanistan did it against Ireland in a T20I). Max O’Dowd scored a fighting 50 for the Netherlands but had zero support from the rest of the order. Campher followed up his bowling by being there to see Ireland over the winning line. In the other match Sri Lanka beat Namibia.

The second set of fixtures in the other group saw Oman fight hard but ultimately lose to Bangladesh, while Scotland beat Papua New Guinea.

Sri Lanka beat Ireland, and Namibia got the better of the Netherlands, confirming the latter’s elimination with a round to go. O’Dowd once again batted well, but once again had no support.

With Bangladesh beating PNG the game between Scotland and Oman became effectively a straight fight for one qualification spot. Oman managed only 122 from their 20 overs, with Josh Davey bowling especially well. Scotland were in control throughout the chase, and Richie Berrington finished the match with a six. Scotland thus won the group with three wins out of three, Bangladesh were second and Oman third. The co-hosts have a couple of good batters and a number of good bowlers but they are a poor fielding side, and it was this that cost them qualification.

The final set of group games saw Ireland v Namibia and Netherlands v Sri Lanka. O’Dowd failed with the bat for the Netherlands, and the rest of the order went down like a house of cards. Leg spinning all rounder Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (4-9) and right arm fast bowler Lahiru Kumara (4-7) were especially impressive with the ball, and off spinner Maheesh Theekshana also got among the wickets. Netherlands mustered a beggarly 44, the lowest total ever recorded in a T20 World cup. Ireland v Namibia was a magnificent match, going right down to the wire. In the end the vast experience of David Wiese told, as he steered Namibia over the winning line, and test playing Ireland found themselves eliminated at the first stage. Sri Lanka had dominated the group, winning all three matches and never really looking in trouble at any stage, Namibia deserve massive credit for getting the better of Ireland to join them in the Super 12s. The Netherlands’ awful showing was a sad way for Ryan ten Doeschate’s wonderful career to end.

A ‘MINNOWS’ XI

Many of the lesser nations involved at this stage had moments to cherish, and with the exception of one player from Ireland who can be considered their ‘given man’ (an expression dating from the days of professional touring XIs in the mid 19th century, when local teams sometimes had professionals to stiffen their ranks) the team I have selected is made up exclusively of players from non-test nations.

I decided to select an opening pair who provenly work well together, and the Oman pair of Jatinder Singh and Aqib Ilyas demonstrated in their 10 wicket win over PNG that they certainly can bat well together. The Netherlands had a horrible time, but Max O’Dowd scored 50s in their first two matches, which is enough to give him the number three slot. At number four is leg spinning all rounder Charles Amini of PNG (it was a choice between him and Assad Vala for the PNG representative, and I have gone for Amini). Number five and my choice as captain is Zeeshan Maqsood of Oman, who led his team to three wins out of three. Scottish wicket keeper Matthew Cross gets the nod at number six. A second Scot in a row, with Chris Greaves in at no7 (his Player of the Match winning performance against test playing Bangladesh is worth the pick on its own). At number eight is the given man, Mr ‘four in four’ aka Curtis Campher of Ireland. At number nine is a third Scot, seam bowler Josh Davey. At number ten, and not just because he possesses THE name of the tournament, is Pikky Ya France, Namibia’s off spinner. Rounding out the order, at his customary position of no11 is our fourth Scot, pace bowler Brad Wheal. For ease of reference:

  1. Aqib Ilyas – Oman
  2. Jatinder Singh – Oman
  3. Max O’Dowd – Netherlands
  4. Charles Amini – Papua New Guinea
  5. *Zeeshan Maqsood – Oman
  6. +Matthew Cross – Scotland
  7. Chris Greaves – Scotland
  8. Curtis Campher – Ireland
  9. Josh Davey – Scotland
  10. Pikky Ya France – Namibia
  11. Brad Wheal – Scotland

This side features eight players who could make major contributions with the bat, a superb new ball pair in Davey and Wheal, every kind of spin bar left arm wrist spin – Greaves and Amini both bowl leg spin and could certainly bowl a four over allocation between them, Maqsood is a left arm orthodox spinner and Ya France an off spinner. Finally, there is the bowling wildcard that is Curtis Campher. Additionally Aqib Ilyas is a Liam Livingstone type, able to bowl both off and leg spin.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Some work related pictures for my usual sign off. These items will be going under the hammer on November 24th, and you can view a full catalogue and sign up to bid here or here.

World T20 Cup Sees Upset On Day One

A look back at day one of the T20 World Cup – Oman v Papua New Guinea and Scotland v Bangladesh. Also some of my recent photographs.

As coverage of the first match on day two of the World T20 Cup gets underway (Ireland are in action against the Netherlands) I look back at the events of the opening day.

OMAN V PAPUA NEW GUINEA

The tournament is being co-hosted by Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and yesterday’s action came from the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat. The first game saw the co-hosts in action against world cup debutants Papua New Guinea. PNG had not played an international fixture in 670 days and sadly it showed.

Oman put PNG into bat and after 1.3 overs the score was 0-2, with both openers gone. PNG skipper Assad Vala (56) and Charles Amini (37) shared the only substantial partnership of the innings. Once Amini was third out at 81 the rot quickly set in and PNG finished with a score of 129 which did not look like being adequate. Left arm spinner and Omani captain Zeeshan Maqsood took 4-20, a superb performance.

Aqib Ilyas and Jatinder Singh opened the batting for Oman and they were the only batters required by the co-hosts, knocking the runs off with 6.2 overs to spare. Singh with 73 not out was especially impressive and finished proceedings with a six, while Ilyas also had an unbeaten half century to his credit.

For PNG as well as Vala and Amini with the bat Kiplin Doriga impressed behind the stumps.

SCOTLAND V BANGLADESH

The second match saw Scotland in action against Bangladesh, who had recently won a T20 series against no lesser opponents than Australia. When Scotland slumped to 53-6 the match seemed to be going emphatically according to the form book. However a lower order revival spearheaded by Chris Greaves got Scotland to 140, a total large enough not to be an absolute formality to chase down. Scotland’s three county seamers, Davey (Somerset), Sharif (Derbyshire) and Wheal (Hampshire) all bowled well, and Bangladesh lost two early wickets before Shakib al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim steadied the ship. However, this pair, especially al Hasan, dropped increasingly behind the rate, and when al Hasan holed out off the irrepressible Greaves for a 28 ball 20 Scotland became favourites, an impression that was reinforced a few moments later when Rahim also fell. Bangladesh had one big over, but for most of their innings they were dropping ever further behind the rate, which climbed past 12 per over with four overs remaining. Scotland’s left arm spinner, Mark Watt (as far as I am aware unrelated to James Watt of steam engine fame) bowled an exemplary 18th over, finishing his spell with 4-0-19-1. The 19th over was also a good one and Bangladesh went into the 20th needing 24 to win. The last over was Bangladesh’s second best of the innings, but they finished up beaten by six runs, and in truth this was a more comfortable victory than that narrow margin suggests – Bangladesh scored less than the required rate in 19 of their 20 overs, including that crazy last over. Greaves, with a crucial 45 and 2-19 from three overs of leg spin was quite rightly named Player of the Match. Bangladesh are in serious jeopardy of failing to qualify for the super 12s, while at the moment Scotland’s third group match, against Oman, has all the appearances of being the game that will decide who wins the group.

An upset early on in a big tournament is always good news, and this one had the additional bonus of featuring an epic recovery act. When Shakib al Hasan was dismissed I posted on twitter that I reckoned that made Scotland favourites and got a disdainful response from a Bangladesh fan who was still in denial about how badly his team were playing. However, my reasons for making the call I did were sound, and I was proven right. The series that Bangladesh won against Australia was played in Bangladesh and was very low scoring, taking place on wickets that were obviously prepared to emasculate the batters, making scoring very difficult indeed. Here, on a good cricket pitch, giving everyone the opportunity to shine Bangladesh were exposed.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Scotland 2021: Homeward Bound

The account of my homeward journey from my Scottish holiday.

This post concludes my coverage of my recent Scottish holiday (28th May to 5th June) by looking at the journey home.

A TRICKY START

I woke early on the morning of Saturday June 5th, and it was just as well that I did so. A check of my emails revealed on overnight message from thetrainline.com telling that the service I was due to be leaving Wick on at 8:02AM had been cancelled. Fortunately I was able to locate a bus service leaving Wick at 6:57 and arriving into Inverness at 9:58 giving me plenty of time to get back on track from there. Thus rather than £100s and almost certainly an overnight stay somewhere on the way home I was able to get round the problem for £22 and some seriously shredded nerves. It also meant missing breakfast which I had intended to be the main meal of the day for me as I expected opportunities to eat while travelling to be limited. I currently have a compensation claim with Scotrail awaiting resolution. They initially insisted that I destroy the ticket even though it was only ever valid for travel on June 5th and then claimed not to have received my image of the destroyed ticket – I uploaded it again today and tweeted their social media team as well.

WICK TO INVERNESS

The bus was ready precisely when it was supposed to be, and the journey to Inverness was accomplished with little difficulty. Getting from the bus station to the train station was slightly tricky – I had seen a sign pointing to the train station on the way in and aimed for that but it was only signing the station car park, which is actually a few minutes walk from the station itself. Once I had got into the station I discovered that there was a train to Edinburgh departing at 10:46, getting me comfortably back on track – indeed slightly ahead of schedule.

INVERNESS TO EDINBURGH

The train from Inverness to Edinburgh ran exactly according to schedule. The route is a scenic one. I had three hours at Edinburgh Waverley before my next train (on which I had a reserved seat) to Grantham was due to depart. This gave me an opportunity to consume some refreshments (and as it turned out was the last such I would have, not greatly to my surprise).

EDINBURGH TO HOME

The train to Grantham (terminating there – there were various problems afflicting the network) ran smoothly. At Grantham I had to board a replacement bus service from there to Peterborough, which arrived just a few minutes before the train for Ely was departing. At Ely I had one final change to the train to King’s Lynn, which fortunately went without incident. At 11:25PM this last train arrived at King’s Lynn. Then it just remained for me to walk home. Though there were a few nervy moments this last section of the journey from Edinburgh to my home in Norfolk went precisely as the itinerary had stated.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have photographs covering Wick to Edinburgh…

Scotland 2021: Castle Mey

The latest post about my Scottish holiday looks at Castle Mey.

I resume my account of my Scottish holiday (28 May to 5 June) with an account of the Thursday which featured a visit to Castle Mey.

THE CASTLE ITSELF

We started our visit to this landmark with seeing what we could of the castle itself. Unfortunately only a tiny fraction of the building was open to the public, and just as unfortunately they had a no indoor photography rule which annoyed me. They also focussed their information purely on the building’s last private owner, the Queen Mother, completely ignoring its prior history as one of the Sinclair family (earls of Caithness for centuries) seats.

THE GARDENS

The gardens are spectacular, although our exploration did not begin well – we tried to enter the walled garden through an entrance that was clearly signed as being the way in only to be snapped at by an overly officious attendant who did point us to the correct way in – they had instituted a one-way system round the walled garden due to Covid but had not bothered to update their signage. Once we had cleared that hurdle however all went very nicely.

THE ANIMALS

After the gardens it was time to go and look at the animals. These were quite remarkable, including a variety of birds ranging from finches to geese, as well as sheep, piglets, pygmy goats and a donkey. There was also a lot of information available about all the animals we encountered there.

After we had finished looking at the animals we had some food and drink at the cafe before heading off.

DUNCANSBY HEAD

After Castle Mey we paid a quick visit to Duncansby Head, to see the view from the top (see wildlife cruise for another angle on this location).

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have plenty of photographs of everything save the inside of the castle…

Scotland 2021: Dunnet Bay and a Meal Out

The Wednesday from my recent Scottish holiday.

This latest post about my Scottish holiday (May 28th – June 5th including travel) deals with the events of the Wednesday.

FLAGSTONES

Those who have seen some of my earlier posts will have noted a lot of natural rock formations that look sculpted. It is very easy to cut large flat slabs of rock from these formations, and such slabs are known as flagstones, from the Old Norse word Flaga. Near Castletown is a historic trail which gives the history of flagstones, once a major export from this part of Scotland. In the same area is a walk out to an old battery.Thirdly this same area is home to the remnants of the quarry from which the stone was extracted which contains a few samples of flagstone art.

The Victorian battery is not safely accessible, but there is a WWII relic that can be got to, and the walk out along the side of Dunnet Bay is very scenic.

The flagstone art is misdescribed as sculpture which it really isn’t, but it was worth devoting a few minutes to.

The three things between them make for a decent outing, and there is plenty to see.

A MEAL IN THURSO

That evening we went out for supper at a restaurant in Thurso. The food was quite excellent, and they served a decent beer as well. I opted for kiln smoked salmon to start and beef for the main course.

PHOTOGRAPHY

I have plenty of photos for you…

The Wolf Burn Distillery

Continuing my account of my Scottish holiday with a distillery tour and the cooking of a meal.

Thus post, the latest in my series about my Scottish holiday (May 28 to June 5), covers a visit to the Wolf Burn distillery and my cooking of the subsequent evening meal.

THE WOLF BURN DISTILLERY

In it’s current incarnation, using a couple of warehouse buildings just outside Thurso this distillery is a mere eight years old, though many years ago there was another distillery of the same name. The name comes from a local river, the Wolf Burn (a burn in Scotland is a small river – probably the best known to the world at large under this designation is the Swilcan Burn which crosses St Andrew’s golf course).

The tour began with an explanation of how the malt is prepared before the distillation process can even start, before describing the latter. Incidentally if anyone ever tells you that a peaty element in a whisky comes from the water they are fibbing (as the guy at Talisker on the Isle of Skye did when I visited their establishment) – that flavour element is created by the malt being smoked by burning peat.

The other major contributor to the final flavour of a whisky is the type of cask in which it is matured – this distillery uses casks that have previously been used for Sherry, Madeira, Bourbon and others, and each has its own influence on the final flavour of the product.

The casks are stored up to three high and no higher – heat rises and one does not want the product to overheat while it is maturing.

The experience ended with a sampling of the products. This started with something called Aurora which had been matured in sherry casks and which I found overly sweet and not very much like a whisky. Second up was Northland, matured in American Oak quarter casks. This was preferable to the first. The third sample was an unscheduled bonus, and was decent but not great. The Langskip was is the strongest of their products, 58% alcohol, but for me it was outdone by the final product, the Morven, of which I purchased a bottle to go with the free glass we were each given as souvenirs.

I enjoyed this visit and hope that things go well for the distillery.

VARIATIONS ON A FAMILIAR THEME

That evening I cooked the main meal, doing my chicken and coriander concoction. There were a few tweaks by necessity: the house had no blender, so I created the ginger paste by grating ginger into a cup, adding a bit of water and using the plastic handle of a chopping knife as a mixer. I also had to assess quantities of ground cumin and ground coriander by eye as there were no measuring spoons. Also none of the pans were non-stick, which meant that the chicken needed careful attention while it was cooking. However, the only thing I had come up short on in the early stages of the cooking was the salt, quite a lot of which I had to add at the last checkpoint to generate sufficient flavour. In the event the meal was good and every scrap of it got eaten, though the flavour was not quite up to my usual standards. Given the circumstances however I am pleased with the result.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some photos from the distillery…

Scotland 2021: Dunnet Head and St Mary’s Crosskirk

An account of the first part of Tuesday as I work through my Scottish holiday, from which I returned on Saturday just gone.

Welcome to the latest post in my account of my holiday in Scotland, from which I got home very late on Saturday (a combination of that, a long day of travel and poor internet connections at the hotel I stayed in on Friday are the reason I have not put a post up for a few days). Today I cover the first activities of the day after my birthday (See here for the main event of that day), when after a brunch we set off to visit Dunnet Head and the remains of St Mary Crosskirk, a 12th century chapel the burial ground of which is still very well preserved before going on a distillery tour in the afternoon.

DUNNET HEAD

Dunnet Head is the northernmost point of mainland Britain and is noted for its bird life, though I did not get to see much of the latter. There is an ordinance survey summit marker at the highest point of the head, a viewing area from which one can enjoy splendid sea views and a lighthouse designed by Robert Stephenson of the great engineering family which played a huge role in railway history (the novelist Robert Louis Stephenson was also of this family, being Robert of lighthouse fame’s grandson).

St Mary’s Crosskirk

The walk to access this ruin is in parts steep, including a staircase that looks more unpleasant to walk than it actually is. It also takes one past a wind farm, while there are some splendid views along the way. The chapel itself is missing its entire roof and part of its walls.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some pictures from both attractions…