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Monthly Archives: February 2011

THE barren run of upsets continued during matches five to nine of this Cricket World Cup, but trust England to nearly be the first Test side to go down to an associate member team.

Netherlands vs. England

England were really made to work hard for their first win of the 2011 World Cup, but this was largely their own fault. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Netherlands went on to score their highest total against a Test playing nation, 292-6. Ryan ten Doeschate (who plays for Essex) smashed his way to his highest score in an O.D.I. (119) as England’s fielding discipline fell to pieces. Catches were dropped, there were comic miss-fields, and Stuart Broad had a wicket taken away from him when it became apparent that Paul Collingwood wasn’t in the 30-yard circle when the ball was bowled. England’s chase was nail-biting to watch, and all that was going through my mind was the Dutch’s win at Lord’s in 2009. But England got there with just eight balls remaining, but it was the Netherland’s who took the moral victory.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 5, Group B) – Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur, India

Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat

Netherlands

vs.

England

292-6 (50.0 overs @ 5.84 rpo)

Day/Night Match

296-4 (48.4 overs @ 6.08 rpo)

R.N. ten Doeschate 119 (110)

A.J. Strauss 88 (83)

G.P. Swann 2-35

R.N. ten Doeschate 2-47

Man of the Match – R.N. ten Doeschate (Netherlands)

England won by 6 Wickets

 

Pakistan vs. Kenya

Kenya wanted to put their humiliating loss to New Zealand out of their minds with a good performance against Pakistan. They started off well, restricting Pakistan for 12-2. But then things went from bad to worse for the Africans. Four Pakistani batsmen scored a half-century, with Umar Akmal making 71 off 52 balls on his World Cup debut. Pakistan’s total of 317-7 included 46 extras from Kenya, which included a record equalling 37 wides. Kenya never looked like chasing down Pakistan’s total, and were duly bowled out for just 112 in an innings that included no less than four (one golden) ducks. Pakistan’s captain Shahid ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi destroyed the Kenyan batting line up by taking five wickets for only 16 runs. These are the best bowling figures for a Pakistani in the World Cup.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 6, Group A) – Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota, Sri Lanka

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat

Pakistan

vs.

Kenya

317-7 (50.0 overs @ 6.34 rpo)

Day/Night Match

112 (33.1 overs @ 3.38 rpo)

Umar Akmal 71 (52)

C.O. Obuya 47 (58)

T.M. Odoyo 3-41

Shahid Afridi 5-16

Man of the Match – Umar Akmal (Pakistan)

Pakistan won by 205 Runs

 

West Indies vs. South Africa

The West Indies collapsed at the end of their innings, losing their last five wickets for just 13 runs. Imran Tahir (formerly of Pakistan) took four wickets for 41 runs on his South Africa debut. Things got worse for the Windies when Dwayne Bravo injured his knee immediately after bowling just the first ball of his third over. AB de Villiers scored 107 not out at just over a run a ball to see South Africa home by all of seven wickets after a short rain stoppage.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 7, Group B) – Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi, India

South Africa won the toss and elected to field

West Indies

vs.

South Africa

222 (47.3 overs @ 4.67 rpo)

Day/Night Match

223-3 (42.5 overs @ 5.21 rpo)

D.M. Bravo 73 (82)

A.B. de Villiers 107* (105)

Imran Tahir 4-41

K.A. Pollard 1-37

Man of the Match – A.B. de Villiers (South Africa)

South Africa won by 7 Wickets

 

New Zealand vs. Australia

Australia won their second game in a row as they attempt to win the World Cup for a fourth consecutive time, and in doing so brought New Zealand back down to Earth with a bump. The Aussies never allowed the Black Caps to put a big partnership together and restricted their neighbours to just 206. Shane Watson and Brad Haddin put on 133 runs for the opening wicket and set up a seven wicket victory for Australia. But the New Zealand players probably had other things on their minds.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 8, Group A) – Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur, India

Australia won the toss and elected to field

New Zealand

vs.

Australia

206 (45.1 overs @ 4.56 rpo)

Day Match

207-3 (34.0 overs @ 6.09 rpo)

N.L. McCullum 52 (76)

S.R. Watson 62 (61)

M.G. Johnson 4-33

H.K. Bennett 2-63

Man of the Match – M.G. Johnson (Australia)

Australia won by 7 Wickets

 

Bangladesh vs. Ireland

Bangladesh avenged their 2007 World Cup defeat to Ireland with a 27 run victory against them. Ireland thought that their luck was in after they had bowled Bangladesh out for 205 and were 75-2 themselves. But spurred on by their home fans the Tigers dug deep and didn’t allow any Irish batsmen to get a score of 40 in the low scoring match. The wheels ended up coming off Ireland’s run chase and they ended up losing a game they really should have won.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 9, Group B) – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat

Bangladesh

vs.

Ireland

205 (49.2 overs @ 4.16 rpo)

Day/Night Match

178 (45.0 overs @ 3.96 rpo)

Tamim Iqbal 44 (43)

N.J.N. O’Brien 38 (52)

A.C. Botha 3-32

Shafiul Islam 4-21

Man of the Match – No Award

Bangladesh won by 27 Runs

 

Stumpy: “Coming up next are two MASSIVE matches and I can’t wait!

P92: “You’d be referring to Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka and India vs. England I take it?

Stumpy: “Yep. Sri Lanka and India all the way!

P92: “Sri Lanka and England all the way!

Stumpy and P92 glare at each other.

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THIS year’s Formula 1 curtain raiser, the Bahrain Grand Prix, has been cancelled. This is because of the bloody and ongoing civil unrest that has swept Bahrain and the rest of the Arab world.

So far (according to Wikipedia) seven people have been killed during the anti-government protests in Bahrain’s capital Manama. The protesters said that they would target the race in order to gain global publicity for their cause.

This sparked the cancellation of the GP2 Asian Series test session and races, and calls for the F1 test session at the Sakhir circuit and the race on 13 March to be called off as well.

The F1 test session and race were both rightly cancelled on Monday 21 February. This means that there will be only 19 races this season and not the record 20 that Bernie Ecclestone wanted. The 2011 F1 season will now start on 27 March in Australia, which is where I think the season should start every year.

To me, the cancellation of any Grand Prix is sad, but in the face of anti-government protests all across the Arab world, rolling in with all the fanfare of the opening race of the F1 season would just seem wrong.

But at least it’s only the Bahrain Grand Prix that has been called off. Let’s face facts; it isn’t the best race on the calendar (in fact if you ask me it is one of the worst). I won’t miss it; I’ll quite happily wait the extra two weeks for Australia.

I think the awfulness of the Sakhir track is reason enough to call the race off anyway.

THE first four matches of the 2011 Cricket World Cup has seen little in the way of shocks. The status quo has had it rather easy, which in turn makes me feel rather uneasy ahead of England’s opening match against the Netherlands.

India vs. Bangladesh

India’s Virender Sehwag smashed a huge 175 in the opening match for India who scored at almost seven and a half runs an over. They ended up with a score of 340-7 of their 50 overs and Bangladesh never really seemed like they would chase 341. But to their credit they weren’t all out and finished on a total of 283-9, thus giving India the win by 87 runs.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 1, Group B) – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field

India

vs.

Bangladesh

370-4 (50.0 overs @ 7.40 rpo)

Day/Night Match

283-9 (50.0 overs @ 5.66 rpo)

V. Sehwag 175 (140)

Tamim Iqbal 70 (86)

Mohammad Mahmudallah 1-49

M.M. Patel 4-48

Man of the Match – V. Sehwag (India)

India won by 87 Runs

 

New Zealand vs. Kenya

In the second match New Zealand annihilated Kenya. The African side won the toss, went in to bat and were duly bowled out for just 69 in 23.5 overs. Man of the match Hamish Bennett took four wickets for just 16 runs. New Zealand went about their run chase at great speed. They managed to get smash 72 runs off just 8 overs at a run rate of nine an over to win by 10 wickets. They will be brimming with confidence ahead of their next match, an ANZAC derby with Australia.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 2, Group A) – MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, India

Kenya won the toss and elected to bat

New Zealand

vs.

Kenya

72-0 (8.0 overs @ 9.00 rpo)

Day Match

69 (23.5 overs @ 2.90 rpo)

M.J. Guptill 39* (32)

R.R. Patel 16* (23)

N.N. Odhiambo 0-5

H.K. Bennett 4-16

Man of the Match – H.K. Bennett (New Zealand)

New Zealand won by 10 Wickets

 

Sri Lanka vs. Canada

Sri Lanka continued the trend of the stronger teams winning comfortably. They scored 332-7, which included a century from Mahela Jayawardene and a 92 from captain and keeper Kumar Sangakkara, who also dismissed four Canadian batsmen in their chase. Canada (who ran England close in a warm-up game) limped to 122 all out and Sri Lanka won by a grand total of 210 runs.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 3, Group A) – Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat

Sri Lanka

vs.

Canada

332-7 (50.0 overs @ 6.64 rpo)

Day/Night Match

122 (36.5 overs @ 3.31 rpo)

D.P.M. Jayawardene 100 (81)

Rizwan Cheema 37 (35)

J.M. Davison 2-56

K.M.D. Kulasekara 3-16

Man of the Match – D.P.M. Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka won by 210 Runs

 

Australia vs. Zimbabwe

Three-times reigning world champions Australia got their campaign off to a comfortable start by beating Zimbabwe by 91 runs. Shane Watson opened with a score of 79 to help the Aussies to a score of 262-6. In reply Zimbabwe were bowled out for just 171, with Mitchell Johnson rediscovering his form which deserted him in the Ashes, finishing with figures of 4-19.  

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 4, Group A) – Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad, India

Australia won the toss and elected to bat

Australia

vs.

Zimbabwe

262-6 (50.0 overs @ 5.24 rpo)

Day/Night Match

171 (46.2 overs @ 3.69 rpo)

S.R. Watson 79 (92)

A.G. Cremer 37 (51)

C.B. Mpofy 2-58

M.G. Johnson 4-19

Man of the Match – S.R. Watson (Australia)

Australia won by 91 Runs

 

The next four matches are: England vs. Netherlands (Group B), Pakistan vs. Kenya (Group A), South Africa vs. West Indies (Group B) and New Zealand vs. Australia (Group A).

Stumpy: “Will England keep up appearances by beating Netherlands?

P92: “Yes. I can’t see them beating us. No way.

Stumpy: “You said that about that Twenty20 game in 2009 and the Dutch won.

P92: “Shh! Anybody can beat anybody at Twenty20, but the Dutch won’t beat England in a full blown O.D.I.

THE 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup gets underway tomorrow (19 February) with two of the three co-hosts, India and Bangladesh, taking each other on at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. The other host nation, Sri Lanka, begin their campaign on Sunday (20 February) against Canada.

The three sub-continent countries were awarded the 2011 World Cup on 30 April 2006 along with Pakistan. But Pakistan were stripped of their hosting rights back in 2009 after a group of terrorists opened fire on the touring Sri Lankan team’s bus in Lahore. This attack killed six Pakistani policemen and two civilians while injuring six Sri Lankan cricketers, two of their staff and a reserve umpire. As a result, eight of the games Pakistan was scheduled to host were moved to India, four to Sri Lanka and two to Bangladesh.

The tournament itself contains 14 teams unlike 2007 when there were 16. All ten full ICC members: Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe all qualified automatically either as hosts or by being full members. The other four teams (all associate members) had to qualify and are: Canada, Ireland, Kenya and Netherlands.

They have been split into two groups of seven, with each side playing each other once. The groups are listed below:

Group A

Group B

Australia – Reigning Champions (’87, ’99, ’03 & ’07 winners)

India – Co-host (’83 winners)

New Zealand

England

Pakistan (’92 winners)

South Africa

Sri Lanka – Co-host (’96 winners)

West Indies (’75 & ’79 winners)

Canada

Bangladesh

Kenya

Netherlands

Zimbabwe

Ireland

 The top four from each group progress to the Quarter-Finals, and from then on it is a case of if you lose you go home. This is a change to the format we have seen in the last few World Cups. The second stage was either a ‘Super Six’ or a ‘Super Eight’ affair that just took too long. I still believe that the format is wrong though. Just have 16 teams (four groups of four) and have the top two go into the Quarter-Finals and so on. But then again the more games that are played the more money the competition makes I suppose.

Unfortunately the building work in India has again been a joke. England’s game against India at Eden Gardens (the Lords’ of India) has had to be moved because the redevelopments wouldn’t be completed on time. The game will now be played in Bangalore, adding to the cost of the trip for England fans that had already brought their tickets. Also the venue for the Final, Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, has just failed a fire safety inspection. If you add this to the fun and games we had with the Commonwealth Games in India last year, they can forget bidding for the 2020 Olympic Games.

However, I am backing India to win this World Cup. They will be playing at home and since last October they have beaten Australia and New Zealand 1-0 and 5-0 respectively in O.D.I. series at home, and only just lost their O.D.I. series in South Africa 2-3. But will all their home fans put too much pressure on them? Even if this is the case I still say it would be very brave person indeed not to back India.

Given England’s previous O.D.I. and World Cup form I reckon we’ll get into the knock-outs, but then it really will be a case of fingers and everything else crossed.

The official mascot for this World Cup is an Elephant called Stumpy, 10, who (like Zakumi) will be following the World Cup with me.

Stumpy: “Hello everyone.

P92: “So Stumpy, India or Bangladesh. Who is your money on?

Stumpy: “I can’t say. I don’t want to see one of the hosts lose but in this game one of them will have to.

P92: “Not if it’s a tie.

Stumpy: “I’ll settle for that then. India and Bangladesh will tie.

P92: “Can’t see that happening. India will win.

  

Denmark

1

vs.

2

England

Daniel AGGER 7’

 

Att = 21,523

Darren BENT 10’

Ashley YOUNG 68’

International Friendly

Ref = Jonas ERIKSSON (SWE)

Parken Stadion – COPENHAGEN

ENGLAND won their first match of 2011 by two goals to one at the expense of Denmark in Copenhagen last Wednesday (9 February).

The match saw Arsenal’s midfielder Jack Wilshere make his first England start, while Chelsea’s Frank Lampard led the team out as captain for the very first time in place of regular skipper (Rio Ferdinand) and vice-captain (Steven Gerrard) who were both injured. This was Lampard’s 84th England cap, just three behind his Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole who is now England’s most capped full-back.

In an eventful opening few minutes Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark) and Wayne Rooney (England) almost scored as a result of defensive errors. The first goal of the night followed not long afterwards. Christian Eriksen – the 18 year-old wonder kid of Danish football – provided a pin-point cross from a free kick onto the head of Liverpool defender Daniel Agger who gave England goalkeeper Joe Hart little chance of saving the header. It is strange seeing players from the club you support on the side you want to beat isn’t it?

But England hit back just three minutes later courtesy of Darren Bent being in the right place at the right time. Theo Walcott fended off the challenges from Simon Poulsen to fizz the ball across the six yard box and directly into the path of Bent who made no mistake with the finish. It then became apparent that Walcott had been cut just below his left eye by Poulsen. Replays showed the Dane was clawing at Walcott’s face, but fortunately a nasty injury was avoided. 

Bent (9) equalises for England. Walcott (background) has just realised he has been cut by S. Poulsen (red shirt centre).

Bent nearly scored a second for England ten minutes later.

With ten minutes of the half to go young Eriksen hit the post from around 20 yards out to keep England honest. Four minutes later England were thankful to Heart who saved a tight angle shot from Dennis Rommedahl with his feet. The last meaningful action of the first half was Lampard putting the ball in the back of the Danish net with a cheeky back flick. However the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.

The visitors came out the more aggressive side in the second half and Bent almost scored with a close range header but his effort was smothered by Denmark’s keeper Thomas Sørensen of Stoke City. Sørensen caught half-time substitute Ashley Young’s headed shot just a minute later to keep the score level.

Bent almost scored yet again on 56 minutes but his shot just skimmed the side netting. At this point I was beginning to wonder if these misses would come back to haunt England. My nerves jangled even more so when Hart made a low save from Rommedahl with just under 25 minutes to play.

But Ashley Young became the hero of the night when with just over 20 minutes to go, he latched onto a pass by Glen Jonson on the edge of the box and coolly slotted the ball past Sørensen at the near post to put England 2-1 up. This was Young’s first goal for England in his 12th match for the Three Lions.

The next 20 minutes passed by without much incident. Young had another shot on goal but it was blocked in the area. Denmark had the last attack of the match from a free-kick and the resulting corner but these came to no avail and England put to rest the ghost of their last trip to Denmark when we lost 1-4.

All in all this was a good game of football. England played well but I still get the impression that when it eventually comes to playing one of the higher ranked teams, we will still be lacking that vital edge.

England’s next match is a Euro 2012 qualifier away to Wales on 26 March. Then three days later England host Ghana in what will be the first ever match between the Three Lions and the Black Stars.

Some other friendly result from around the world

Spain 1 – 0 Colombia

Netherlands 3 – 1 Austria

Germany 1 – 1 Italy

France 1 – 0 Brazil – Brazil have not beaten France since 1981.

Argentina 2 – 1 Portugal (played in Switzerland)

Croatia 4 – 2 Czech Republic

Greece 1 – 0 Canada

Iran 1 – 0 Russia

Luxembourg 2 – 1 Slovakia 🙂

Malta GC 0 – 0 Switzerland 🙂

Poland 1 – 0 Norway

San Marino 0 – 1 Liechtenstein 😀

South Africa 2 – 0 Kenya

Turkey 0 – 0 South Korea

WHAT a weekend this has been.

England won their opening Six Nations match in Wales 26-19. Ireland needed a late score to beat Italy in Rome 13-11, and reigning champions France beat Scotland at home 34-21.

The Premier League saw a whopping 43 goals in the ten fixtures this weekend. Results included: Everton 5-3 Blackpool, Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (Arsenal were 4-0 up after 26 minutes), Wigan 4-3 Blackburn, Wolves 2-1 Man Utd (this ends Man Utd’s 29 match unbeaten run).

But the best result of all was Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool! Fernando Torres (JUDAS!) making his debut for €hel$ea couldn’t prevent Liverpool from doing the double over the defending league champions thanks to a second half strike from Raul Meireles. 😀

In Cricket, Australia completed a 6-1 O.D.I. series win over England by taking victory at the WACA Ground in Perth by 57 runs. This series has been to drawn out in my opinion. The two Twenty20 games should have been played on the same day and there should only have been three O.D.I. games. Now England have injures and tiredness to cope with before the World Cup in India/Sir Lanka/Bangladesh. A World Cup preview blog will appear on this site soon.

On the ugly side of the game now; three Pakistani cricketers have been handed down lengthy bans by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for last Augusts’ spot-fixing scandal at Lord’s. Former Captain Salman Butt has been banned for 10 years (five suspended) and bowlers Mohammads Asif and Amir have been banned for seven years (two suspended) and five years respectively for agreeing to bowl no-balls at a certain point in the match against England in exchange for money. All three have the right to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Formula 1’s Robert Kubica may well have ended his F1 career after crashing heavily in a Rally in Genoa, Italy. The Pole hit a church wall at high speed and suffered fractures to his right arm, leg and hand. It is almost certain that he will miss the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix on 13 March. This means that his seat at Renault will now be filled by either former HRT driver Bruno Senna or 2009 Renault driver Romain Grosjean. Get well soon Robert.

And finally, I have just heard of the extremely sad news that legendary rock guitarist Gary Moore has died at the age of 58. 😦 He was found dead in the early hours of Sunday (6 February) morning while on holiday in Spain. During his musical career he released a number of solo albums and was once a member of Thin Lizzy and played with Greg Lake on one of my all time favorite albums. He will be sorely missed.

RIP Gary.

 

 

Wales

19

vs.

26

England

Try: Morgan STODDART 60’c

Con: Stephen JONES (1/1)

Pen: Stephen JONES (3/4) 23’ 29’ 43’

James HOOK (1/2) 70’

MotM = Toby FLOOD (ENG)

Try: Chris ASHTON (2) 14’c 56’c

Con: Toby FLOOD (2/2)

Pen: Toby FLOOD (3/3) 19’ 32’ 47’

Jonny WILKINSON (1/1) 75’

2011 Six Nations Match 1

Ref = Alain ROLLAND (IRE)

Millennium Stadium – CARDIFF (Att. = 74,276)

ENGLAND won their opening 2011 Six Nations match against Wales at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium last night to set up the Grand Slam and inflict yet more pain on the Welsh. 😛

It was Wales who started the stronger side and had two early penalties awarded to them by 2007 World Cup Final referee Alain Rolland. But both were missed by Stephen Jones and James Hook and Wales saw six vital early points go begging.

Then it was England’s turn to take charge of the match, and the 2003 world champions opened the scoring thanks to a try from the diving Chris Ashton on 14 minutes.

Toby Flood converted the try and kicked a penalty five minutes later to put England 10-0 up.

Wales scored their first points of the match not long after thanks to a penalty from Stephen Jones and soon found themselves a man up when England’s Louis Deacon was sin-binned for ‘killing the ball illegally’, when Wales were bearing down on the English try line. Jones scored the resultant penalty but again Wales failed to press home the advantage and it was England’s Flood who scored the last points of the half. England led 13-6.

Jones kicked a penalty for Wales to put the home team just four points behind England at the start of the second half, but hopes of a Wales fight back were dashed when Craig Mitchell was put in the sin-bin for killing the ball at a ruck. Flood again scored his third penalty of the night to put England 16-9 up.

Then Ashton put England well and truly at arm’s length by scoring his second try of the night. This too was converted by Flood. England now led 23-9. But Wales were now back up to 15 men and determined to fight back and with only 20 minutes to go Morgan Stoddard scored a much needed try for Wales. Jones converted said try and this brought Wales back to being just seven points (a converted try) away from England.

Shortly afterwards Man of the Match Toby Flood was replaced by the legendary Jonny Wilkinson, which brought many boos from the Wales supporters. It’s not unsporting; they’re just showing that they are worried he is on the pitch.

Unfortunately it wasn’t Wilkinson doing the next bit of scoring. That honour fell to Hook whose successful penalty kick brought the score to 23-19 in England’s favour with just 10 minutes on the clock. England then promptly went up the other end of the pitch and battered Wales’s try line looking to end the game, alas to no avail.

But fortunately for England, Wilkinson kicked a late penalty to secure a 26-19 win for England. 😀

This is England’s first victory in Wales since 2003, the year we last won the Grand Slam and the year we won the World Cup – there just happens to be one of these in New Zealand later this year. Wales on the other hand have still yet to win a Test match since last year’s Six Nations when they beat Italy 33-10 on the last day.

The match itself was a great advert for the game, and more importantly (referencing England’s Ben Foden) THE BIG COUNTRY HAS PUT THE LITTLE COUNTRY WELL AND TRULY IN IT’S PLACE!

England now have three consecutive matches at Twickenham against: Italy, reigning champions France and Scotland.

This could get very tasty indeed.