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Monthly Archives: March 2011

We are now at the stage of the tournament where nobody wants to lose. Well curiously if I was going to lose in a knock-out tournament I would rather lose here than in the Final, but that’s just me.

New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka survived this potential banana-skin Semi-Final against New Zealand in order to make their third World Cup Final, their previous appearances coming in 1996 (victory over Australia) and 2007 (loss to Australia).

New Zealand looked to be one course for a high total, but fell from 192-4 to 217 all out with seven balls of their innings remaining. Muttiah Muralitharan, playing his last ever international in Sri Lanka, did just as he did in his last Test match by taking a wicket with his final ball. The victim on this occasion was Scott Styris who was caught in the leg trap.

Sri Lanka’s reply was steady, with Tillekeratne Dilshan and keeper/captain Kumar Sangakkara putting on 120 for the second wicket. But Sri Lanka slipped from 160-1 to 185-5 by the 43rd over, exactly the same position New Zealand had found themselves in (but for the loss of one more wicket). The match was anyone’s, and that anyone proved to be Sri Lanka who reached the target score without the loss of any further wickets. There was a comedy of errors right at the death which didn’t ease the tension one bit.

Fireworks were set to go off all around the stadium when and if Sri Lanka won, and with less than four needed to win somebody was developing an itchy trigger finger. The fireworks were set off just as the ball which Thilan Samaraweera hit for four was being bowled. ‘Dead Ball’ was called and the winning runs didn’t count, but as we know now Sri Lanka still won.

New Zealand’s long standing captain Daniel Vettori has since stepped down as the Black Caps skipper, but this was the plan anyway. He and his team go back home with their heads held high, but yet again taste bitter defeat in a sixth Semi-Final. They are still waiting for their first Final appearance.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 47, Semi-Final 1) – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat

New Zealand

vs.

Sri Lanka

217 (48.5 overs @ 4.44 rpo)

Day/Night Match

220-5 (47.5 overs @ 4.60 rpo)

S.B. Styris 57 (77)

T.M. Dilshan 73 (93)

B.A.W. Mendis 3-35

T.G. Southee 3-57

Man of the Match – K.C. Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka won by 5 Wickets

 

India vs. Pakistan

This was more than just a Cricket match. This was (hopeful) the first step on the road to peace for these two rival countries.

On the pitch India, after winning the toss and electing to bat, got off to a flying start and the crowd watched eagerly as Sachin Tendulkar set about trying to score his 100th century for India. Pakistan it seems, were determined to help him out as well. They conspired to drop him on no less than four occasions after he had originally been saved by a correct L.B.W. appeal (he had been given out) and by a fraction of an inch the very next ball when he was almost stumped. Tendulkar fell just 15 runs short of his century, but his innings had set India on their way to a grand total of 260-9 after their 50 overs. Pakistan’s star bowler was Wahab Riaz, who took a career best 5-46 which included clean bowling Yuvraj Singh for a golden duck.

Pakistan knew they could chase India’s total down, and India more than anybody knew that. Pakistan like India made a fast start, but India were sharper in the field and took wickets regularly as some Pakistani batsmen began to crack under the pressure. Even captain Shahid Afridi lost his bottle (and thus his wicket) before he really got going. Pakistan also didn’t help their cause by not taking the batting power play until it was forced upon them. Misbah-ul-Haq’s slow batting also wasn’t what Pakistan needed. They eventually ran out of balls and with a win impossible Misbah-ul-Haq thumped the ball down Virat Kohli’s throat and gave the win and a place in the Final to India by 29 runs. This will also be India’s third Final after 1983 (victory over West Indies) and 2003 (loss to Australia).

Off the pitch the match broke records and helped to close old wounds. The game was watched by a global TV audience of over 1 billion people, putting up there with the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners and the funeral of Pope John Paul II in terms of audience figures.

Elsewhere, in the ground itself, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan sat together and watched the match. After the games, Yousaf Raza Gillani (Pakistan) and Manmohan Singh (India) pledged to resolve their differences and to cooperate in the investigation into the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

This is why I love sport so much. It can tear down any wall.    

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 48, Semi-Final 2) – Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh, India

India won the toss and elected to bat

India

vs.

Pakistan

260-9 (50.0 overs @ 5.20 rpo)

Day/Night Match

231 (49.5 overs @ 4.64 rpo)

S.R. Tendulkar 85 (115)

Misbah-ul-Haq 56 (76)

Wahab Riaz 5-46

A. Nehra 2-33

Man of the Match – S.R. Tendulkar (India)

India won by 29 Runs

 

So finally after 48 matches, we have the two teams who will contest the tenth World Cup Final…and it’s an organisers dream.

SRI LANKA

Vs.

INDIA

Match to be played at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India

 

P92 “I believe India vs. Pakistan at the 2011 World Cup will go down in the annals of sporting history for both its quality and its outside impact.  

Stumpy: “I totally agree with you. Now comes the really hard question: Sri Lanka or India? Murali or the Little Master?

P92: “I can’t answer that. I just hope the best team wins.

Stumpy: “Again my friend I’m going to have to agree with you.

P92: “You can watch the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup Final on Sky Sports 1 from 9am on Saturday 2 April.

Stumpy: “Hold onto your hats, because this is all set up to be an absolute classic.

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Wales

0

vs.

2

England

Attendance = 68,959

Frank LAMPARD 7P’

Darren BENT 15’

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Ref = Olegário BENQUERENÇA (Portugal)

Millennium Stadium – CARDIFF

ANY hopes Wales had about beating England in last Saturday’s (26 March) Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff were dashed as they lost the 100th match between the two.

Wales’s captain for the game was 20 year-old Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey. That’s not bad is it? You’re 20 and in just your 11th match for your country you are made captain against your biggest rivals. However, the Welsh were without their star player, Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, who was out injured.

England were led out by John Terry, who was back as captain after coach Fabio Capello reinstated him as full-time captain over Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Terry had been stripped of the captaincy in early 2010 after explosive revelations about his private life hit the headlines. All I’ll say on this matter is this: “Bad move Fabio.

The match itself got off to a fiery start (after God Save The Queen was booed by the Welsh) with Wales’s Craig Bellamy keeping his rough-boy reputation.  But England got their revenge when James Collins brought down Ashley Cole in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. Frank Lampard coolly rolled the ball into the net and England led 1-0 just seven minutes in.

Lampard makes it 1-0 from the spot.

Eight minutes later England tore Wales’s defence apart. Glen Johnson passed the ball with pin-point accuracy from 60-70 yards away to Ashley Young who crossed the ball into the box to set up Darren Bent from seven yards out. Bent made no mistake from there and England were now 2-0 to the good.

Darren Bent celebrates his third England goal.

Wayne Rooney could have made it 3-0 soon after but his shot went wide.

England continued to dominate a first half in which Wales had no shots on goal and only one touch in England’s penalty area. Ashley Young had the best chance of the half with five minutes of it left. His powerful volley only just went over the crossbar, and would have been a goal of the season contender had it gone in.

Wales gave England a game in the second half. Nine minutes into the second period Bellamy set up Andy King who hit his shot wide of the post. Just after the hour mark Ramsey shot over from the edge of England’s area. The Welsh Dragon was starting to stir, how would the Lions respond?

The response came immediately with Lampard curling a free-kick directly into the hands of Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey. Young Jack Wilshere then blasted a shot over from 20 yards out.

Then it was Wales’s turn to attack with four corners in relatively quick succession, but nothing came of them.

England held onto their 2-0 lead as the clock ticked ever closer toward full-time. In the 90th minute Stewart Downing almost scored England’s third after an impressive solo run, but missed the target by a Nat’s hair length.

Bellamy shot wide two minutes into additional time, and then came the final whistle. England had won 2-0 and returned to the top of Group G, while Wales stay at the foot of the table still without a point.

The other match in Group G saw Bulgaria and Switzerland play out a goalless draw in Sofia.

Here is how Group G looks at the halfway stage.

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

England (6)

4

3

1

0

9

1

+8

10

2

Montenegro (25=)

4

3

1

0

3

0

+3

10

3

Switzerland (23)

4

1

1

2

5

5

0

4

4

Bulgaria (47)

4

1

1

2

1

5

-4

4

5

Wales (116)

4

0

0

4

1

8

-7

0

 Group winners and best runner-up all qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine automatically. The remaining group runners-up qualify for the Play-Off round. Brackets show current FIFA World Ranking.

The next matches in this group take place on 4 June. England play Switzerland at Wembley while Montenegro take on Bulgaria in Podgorica. England’s next international is tonight against 2010 World Cup Quarter-Finalists Ghana at Wembley.

Some other Euro 2012 Qualifying and International Friendly Results

Austria 0 – 2 Belgium

Armenia 0 – 0 Russia 😮

Georgia 1 – 0 Croatia 🙂

Germany 4 – 0 Kazakhstan

Hungary 0 – 4 Netherlands

Luxembourg 0 – 2 France 😦

Norway 1 – 1 Denmark

Republic of Ireland 2 – 1 Macedonia 😦

Serbia 2 – 1 Northern Ireland 😛 (crowd of only 200 or so Northern Irish because of Serbian fan violence in game against Italy).

Slovenia 0 – 1 Italy

Spain 2 – 1 Czech Republic (With his two goals for Spain, David Villa is now their all-time top goal scorer with 46).

Friendly Matches

Estonia 2 – 0 Uruguay 😮

Lithuania 2 – 0 Poland

Montenegro 1 – 0 Uzbekistan

North Korea 0 – 2 Iraq

Portugal 1 – 1 Chile

Scotland 0 – 2 Brazil (Played at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium) 😛

U.S.A. 1 – 1 Argentina

HERE we go; this is where the World Cup really starts. From now on if you lose, you pack your bags.

West Indies vs. Pakistan

Pakistan destroyed a woeful West Indies side in this, the first of the Quarter-Finals. With the Bangladeshi crowd cheering on Pakistan (who were playing the side who bowled their men out for 58 earlier in the tournament) they dismissed the West Indies for just 112.

The Pakistani opening pair, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal (47) and Mohammad Hafeez (61) saw their side home by 10 wickets in just 20.5 overs. Pakistan have now reached the Semi-Finals in the last eight ICC tournaments.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 43, Quarter-Final 1) – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

West Indies won the toss and elected to bat

West Indies

vs.

Pakistan

112 (43.3 overs @ 2.57 rpo)

Day/Night Match

113-0 (20.5 overs @ 5.42 rpo)

S. Chanderpaul 44* (106)

Mohammad Hafeez 61* (64)

Shahid Afridi 4-30

D.J.G. Sammy 0-18

Man of the Match – Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan)

Pakistan won by 10 Wickets

 

Australia vs. India

India dumped triple reigning champions Australia out of the World Cup with a five wicket victory in front of their home fans in Ahmedabad :-). Aussie captain Ricky Ponting scored his first 50 since the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on his way to a grand total of 104. Australia eventually made 260-6, which was probably 15 or so runs short of what they needed.

The Indian batsmen scored three 50s during their chase and made it to the winning post with 14 balls remaining. This makes this the first World Cup since 1992 that Australia won’t play in the Final.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 44, Quarter-Final 2) – Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad, India

Australia won the toss and elected to bat

Australia

vs.

India

260-6 (50.0 overs @ 5.20 rpo)

Day/Night Match

261-5 (47.4 overs @ 5.48 rpo)

R.T. Ponting 104 (118)

Yuvraj Singh 57* (65)

Yuvraj Singh 2-44

D.J. Hussey 1-19

Man of the Match – Yuvraj Singh (India)

India won by 5 Wickets

 

New Zealand vs. South Africa

New Zealand caused the shock of the Quarter-Finals with victory over much fancied South Africa. After making a modest 221-8 and seeing The Proteas getting to 108-2 it seemed all over for the Black Caps.

But South Africa slammed the self-destruct button and collapsed to 172 all out, handing New Zealand a 49 run win. This is the sixth time New Zealand have made it to the last four of a World Cup, while South Africa’s World Cup knock-out match barren run stretches to five out of five.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 45, Quarter-Final 3) – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat

New Zealand

vs.

South Africa

221-8 (50.0 overs @ 4.42 rpo)

Day/Night Match

172 (43.2 overs @ 3.97 rpo)

J.D. Ryder 83 (121)

J.H. Kallis 47 (75)

M. Morkel 3-46

J.D.P. Oram 4-39

Man of the Match – J.D.P. Oram (New Zealand)

New Zealand won by 49 Runs

 

England vs. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka sent a tired England back home after crushing them by all of 10 wickets. Jonathan Trott’s 86 helped England finish on 229-6 from their 50 overs.

Then Sri Lankan openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga scored 108* and 102* respectively as the co-hosts reached their target of 230 in 39.3 overs. This is the highest successful run chase in a 10 wicket win in O.D.I. history.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 46, Quarter-Final 4) – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

England won the toss and elected to bat

England

vs.

Sri Lanka

229-6 (50.0 overs @ 4.58 rpo)

Day/Night Match

231-0 (39.3 overs @ 5.85 rpo)

I.J.L. Trott 86 (115)

T.M. Dilshan 108* (115)

M. Muralitharan 2-54

L.J. Wright 0-17

Man of the Match – T.M. Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka won by 10 Wickets 😦

 

So, here we have the Semi-final line-up. Note the second match.

New Zealand

Vs.

Sri Lanka

India

Vs.

Pakistan

New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka is tomorrow (29 March) in Colombo (Sri Lanka), while India vs. Pakistan (the second biggest rivalry in Cricket) is on 30 March in Mohali (India).

P92 (Taking off his party hat): “Well…what can I say?

Stumpy: “I thought England would get further than that? I thought England would win? What happened to the Ashes form? How could Sri Lanka beat us by 10 wickets? The list is endless.

P92: “You’re not helping with the pain. So who is going to win now that England and South Africa are out?

Stumpy: “Hopefully the best team.

P92: “Right now I’m an A.B.P. (Anybody But Pakistan). But if pressed for comment I’d say Sri Lanka because that’s where my parents went on their Honeymoon.

Stumpy: “Arrr.

REIGNING world champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) laid down the gauntlet to all the other drivers on the grid who will challenge for his crown this year.

The youngest ever F1 world champion stormed his away to pole position for the first race of the 2011 season in Australia. His fastest Q3 lap time around the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne was 1:23.529 – an average speed of 142.011mph.

The former holder of the title ‘Youngest world champion’, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), will line up alongside Vettel on the front row after setting a lap of 1:24.307. Yes Vettel really is on pole by 0.778 seconds. Home favourite Mark Webber (Red Bull) is third on the grid after setting a lap of 1:24.395.

The rest of the top ten are from fourth to tenth: Jenson Button (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Vitaly Petrov (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) and Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso).

Petrov, Kobayashi and Buemi all surprised me by getting into Q3. Buemi was probably luckier to be in Q3 than the other two, but the more established order of drivers had a bad time of it in Q2.

The drivers who fell in Q2 and thus making up places 11 – 17 on the grid are (in order): Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Sauber), Paul di Resta (Force India), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Rubens Barrichello (Williams).

Schumacher only just missed out on Q3, but in F1 ‘just’ is the difference between winning and losing. Sutil and Barrichello both had embarrassing spins during the 15 minute session.  Sutil spun on the start-finish straight after putting left-rear wheel on the grass and opening his rear-wing flap (Draft Reduction System – DRS) at the same time, while Barrichello dropped his Williams in the gravel trap at Stewart (Turn 14).

But things were worse for Nick Heidfeld (Renault). He was the big name to fall in Q1 and will start from 18th on the grid. Something tells me he is a) still a bit rusty having sat out most of last season, and b) Robert Kubica would have done much better. Petrov’s grid position backs this up.

The rest of the grid from 19th to 22nd is (again in order): Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli (both Lotus) and the Virgins of Timo Glock and Jérôme d’Ambrosio.

The two HRTs of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan both failed to qualify for the Grand Prix, both of them falling victim to the reinstated 107% rule. In Q1 they needed to set a time of 1:31.266, but all they could respectively manage was a 1:32.978 and 1:34.293.

I foresee either Vettel or Hamilton winning this race. But with brand new Pirelli tyres, the fact it’s the first race of the season and that it’s Albert Park, the race is really anyone’s for the taking.   

PS: Good luck to all the rookies in this their first Grand Prix. That’s: Perez, di Resta, Maldonado and d’Ambrosio.

AT 00:45 GMT on 18 March 2011, NASA’s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft became the first probe to enter into the planet Mercury’s orbit.

An artist’s impression of MESSENGER in Mercury’s orbit.

MESSENGER was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, back on 3 August 2004. To finally get into a position to be captured by the smallest planet’s gravity, MESSENGER had to complete no less than six planetary flybys: one of Earth, two of Venus and three of Mercury itself.

During its mission from here on in, MESSENGER will orbit Mercury approx. 730 times, and will capture some spectacular pictures of the planet with orbits on average just 36 million miles (58 million Km) from the Sun.

Because of its close proximity to the Sun, Mercury’s surface temperature can reach over 427˚C, which is hot enough to melt lead. So to cope with these extreme mercury levels (couldn’t resist) MESSENGER has had special heat deflecting shields attached to it. But that’s just when it is facing the Sun. The night side of Mercury has to suffer temperatures of a chilling -183˚C.

MESSENGER is only the second spacecraft to visit the innermost planet. Back in 1974/5, Mariner 10 mapped around 45% of Mercury’s surface. It is now MESSENGER’s job to map the rest. Hopefully we’ll be getting some more great images of Mercury like the one below, which MESSENGER took on a previous flyby.

Meanwhile, deep in the Solar System another NASA probe reached an important milestone. The New Horizons spacecraft crossed the orbit of the planet Uranus on the very same day MESSENGER entered Mercury’s orbit at 22:00 GMT. But unfortunately no pictures could be taken because Uranus was nearly 3.9 billion Km away at the time.

New Horizons is just over five years and two months into its mission to the dwarf planet Pluto, and will be the first probe to reach the ex-planet. On its long voyage across the Solar System, New Horizons crossed Mars’s orbit on 7 April 2006, got a gravitational assist from Jupiter on 28 February 2007 (and took some awesome pictures of the gas-giant and its moons to boot), passed Saturn’s orbit on 8 June 2008, and reached half-distance on 29 December 2009. New Horizons will cross Neptune’s orbit on 24 August 2014.

Pluto will finally be visited on 14 July 2015 at 11:47 UTC at a distance of 13,695 Km. 14 minutes later, New Horizons will flyby Pluto’s three moons: Charon, Hydra and Nix. The probe will then do as Pioneers 10 and 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 did and leave the Solar System. This is expected to happen in 2029, 99 years after Pluto was discovered.

An artist’s impression of New Horizons’ Pluto flyby.

A day later (19 March) it was the Moon that made the headlines as it made its closest approach to Earth in almost 20 years. The Supermoon appeared about 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter than a normal full moon in the cleat Saturday night sky.

I for one wasn’t going to miss it, and went up into my garden with my plucky digital camera. I go a few pictures, but they are far off being world class. The one below is the one I am most proud of.  I think I set it to black and white, and was quite stunned to find that I had captured some of the detail on the lunar surface.

Eat your heart out Hubble.

And finally, today (23 March 2011) is the tenth anniversary of the deorbit of the Russian space station Mir.

Mir in it’s prime.

After years of service, it became unfeasible for the Russians to fund both it and the International Space Station (ISS). So Mir was brought back down to Earth over Fiji in a fire ball, which as an eight year-old boy I found rather exciting.

One ex-space station.

THE group stage of the 2011 World Cup finished in a flurry. South Africa destroyed Bangladesh, which allowed England to advance to the Quarter-Finals. :–) And continuing the good news, Pakistan beat Australia, inflicting the first World Cup loss on the Cons since 1999. 😛

South Africa vs. Bangladesh

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 39, Group B) – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat

South Africa

vs.

Bangladesh

284-8 (50.0 overs @ 5.68 rpo)

Day Match

78 (28.0 overs @ 2.79 rpo)

J.H. Kallis 69 (76)

Shakib Al Hasan 30 (49)

Rubel Hossain 3-56

R.J. Peterson 4-12

Man of the Match – L.L. Tsotsobe (South Africa)

South Africa won by 206 Runs

 

Australia vs. Pakistan

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 40, Group A) – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Australia won the toss and elected to bat

Australia

vs.

Pakistan

176 (46.4 overs @ 3.77 rpo)

Day/Night Match

178-6 (41.0 overs @ 4.34 rpo)

B.J. Haddin 42 (80)

Asad Shafiq 46 (81)

Umar Gul 3-30

B. Lee 4-28

Man of the Match – Umar Akmal (Pakistan)

Pakistan won by 4 Wickets

 

Zimbabwe vs. Kenya

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 41, Group A) – Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat

Zimbabwe

vs.

Kenya

308-6 (50.0 overs @ 6.16 rpo)

Day Match

147 (36.0 overs @ 4.08 rpo)

C.R. Ervine 66 (54)

N.N. Odhiambo 44* (47)

E. Otieno 2-61

R.W. Price 2-20

Man of the Match – C.R. Ervine (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe won by 161 Runs

 

India vs. West Indies  

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 42, Group B) – MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, India

India won the toss and elected to bat

India

vs.

West Indies

268 (49.1 overs @ 5.45 rpo)

Day/Night Match

188 (43.0 overs @ 4.37 rpo)

Yuvraj Singh 113 (123)

D.S. Smith 81 (97)

R. Rampaul 5-51

Zaheer Khan 3-26

Man of the Match – Yuvraj Singh (India)

India won by 80 Runs

 

Here is how both the groups ended up. The top four in each has advanced to the Quarter-Finals.

Group A

Pos.

Team

P

W

L

T

NR

NRR

Pts.

1

Pakistan

6

5

1

0

0

+0.758

10

2

Sri Lanka

6

4

1

0

1

+2.582

9

3

Australia

6

4

1

0

1

+1.123

9

4

New Zealand

6

4

2

0

0

+1.135

8

5

Zimbabwe

6

2

4

0

0

+0.030

4

6

Canada

6

1

5

0

0

-1.987

2

7

Kenya

6

0

6

0

0

-3.042

0

 

Group B

Pos.

Team

P

W

L

T

NR

NRR

Pts.

1

South Africa

6

5

1

0

0

+2.026

10

2

India

6

4

1

1

0

+0.900

9

3

England

6

3

2

1

0

+0.072

7

4

West Indies

6

3

3

0

0

+1.066

6

5

Bangladesh

6

3

3

0

0

-1.361

6

6

Ireland

6

2

4

0

0

-0.696

4

7

Netherlands

6

0

6

0

0

-2.045

0

 

And so after 42 matches, we finally have the Quarter-Final line-up, which looks like this:

Pakistan

Vs.

West Indies

Australia

Vs.

India

South Africa

Vs.

New Zealand

Sri Lanka

Vs.

England

 

P92: “These all have the potential to be cracking matches, but Australia vs. India is the one that really sticks out.

Stumpy: “I can’t wait either. The triple reigning champions verses the highest ranked host team. It’s just a shame it isn’t the Final. But more importantly for you, how do you think England will get on?

P92: “Let’s see, it’s the Quarter-Finals of a major World Cup so…we’ll lose. We only make it into the last four once in a blue moon.

Stumpy: “That’s good to hear. Come on Sri Lanka!

P92: “COME ON ENGLAND! THE ASHES URN AND TWENTY20 TROPHY NEED A NEW FRIEND!

ENGLAND won this year’s Six Nations championship after having gone without the title since 2003’s Grand Slam triumph.

The 2003 world champions finished with eight points and 13 tries to their name. France, last year’s Grand Slam champions, finished second on six points, with Ireland third, also on six points but with a lower points difference (+12 instead of France’s +26). Wales came fourth, also finishing on six points but with a points difference of just +6. Scotland finished fifth with two points and Italy once again picked up the wooden spoon (for the ninth time since 2000) with two points, but with a points difference of -68, whereas Scotland’s was -27.

The 119th championship kicked-off on Friday 4 February with Wales taking on England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. England made their title intensions clear with a 26-19 win, which extended Wales’ long run without a Test match victory. The next day Ireland were lucky to beat Italy in Rome’s Stadio Flaminio. A drop goal from Ronan O’Gara two minutes from time saw the Irish scrape a 13-11 victory. Later that day in the Stade de France, Paris, reigning champions France beat Scotland 34-21.

The second round of matches was held the next weekend, 12-13 February. Chris Ashton ran in four tries as England thumped Italy at London’s Twickenham Stadium 59-13. Ashton became the first player to score four tries in a match since the championship became the Six Nations back in 2000, and also became the first English man to score four tries in a Six, Five or Home Nations match since Ronald Poulton did so against France in 1914. These tries, plus the two he scored against Wales, put him on six in total and level with Will Greenwood (England) and Shane Williams (Wales) for the most tries scored in a Six Nations campaign. Meanwhile, Scotland’s bad start continued as they lost 6-24 to Wales at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. France kept their Grand Slam dreams alive by ending Ireland’s hopes with a 25-22 at the new Aviva Stadium (the old Lansdowne Road) in Dublin.

After a short gap the championship resumed over the weekend of 26-27 February. Wales won in Italy 24-16, before England ended any ideas France had about back-to-back Grand Slams with a 17-9 win at home. In the 52nd minute of the match, the legendary Jonny Wilkinson kicked a penalty that made him the all-time leading point scorer in Rugby Union history, overtaking All Black Dan Carter. Scotland lost their third match in three (and second at home) to Ireland 18-21.

After three of the five weekends of the championship, only England were able to complete the Grand Slam.

The fourth weekend (12-13 March) began with the upset of the championship. Italy beat France for the first time in 31 matches, and for the first time ever in the Six Nations. The Azzurri were 6-18 down with 20 minute to play, but roared on by the partisan home crowd ended up winning the match 22-21. 🙂 After the match, French coach Marc Lièvremont said that his players had let him and the French nation down, that they were cowards and that some of them had worn the French jersey for the last time. I don’t think he was too pleased to do? Later on that day, Wales won the most controversial match of this years’ championship at home to Ireland. The final score was 19-13 to Wales, but that included a converted try that should never have been given. In the 50th minute, Mike Phillips ran in a try, having received the ball from Welsh team-mate Matthew Rees who had taken a quick line-out after Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton had kicked the ball into touch. But the ball-boy handed Rees a different ball, which is against the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) rules. Nobody picked up on the error until it was too late, and when it was discovered Ireland felt understandably hard done by. Without those seven points for Wales, they would have won 13-12.

I personally blame the ball-boy above everybody else for this incident. He should know the rules just like everybody else who has a direct effect on the match. But the touch judge has to get some of the blame as well. He should have been looking to see if the ball was the correct one or not too.

Ireland did have something to smile about though. With the conversion of their captain, Brian O’Driscoll’s record equaling 24th championship try, Ronan O’Gara became only the fifth Rugby Union player to score 1,000 Test match points.

England kept on course for the Grand Slam with a 22-16 home win over Scotland, although England didn’t look like the side from the previous weekends. During the match, French referee Romain Poite tore a hamstring muscle and had to be replaced.

The fifth and final round of matches all took place on Saturday 19 March. Scotland won their only match of the championship 21-8 at home to Italy, thus avoiding the wooden spoon. England’s Grand Slam dreams were shattered by Ireland who won 24-8 in Dublin. England played like a bunch of schoolboys in comparison to how they played against Wales and in particular Italy earlier in the championship. This loss for England meant that if Wales beat France by 27 points or more in Paris, then they would be champions instead of England. But fortunately England, France won the last match of the championship 28-9.

England’s Chris Ashton finished as top try scorer with a grand total of six. His ‘Swallow Dive’ celebrations are my moments of the tournament. His England team-mate, Toby Flood, scored the most points in the championship with 47 points to his name. But the major achievement of the championship came from Ireland’s captain, Brian O’Driscoll. His try against England on the last weekend was his 25th in the championship, which is a new all-time record. Well done sir.

Chris Ashton’s ‘Swallow Dive’.

Brian O’Driscoll’s record breaking try.

As we now all know, England won the championship but not the Grand Slam and thanks to their loss to Ireland, failed to win the Triple Crown as well. Ireland also retained the Millennium Trophy as a result of this win. Ireland also got their hands back on the Centenary Quaich after their win over Scotland. Italy won the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy for the first time ever after their famous win over France, and England retained the Calcutta Cup with their win over Scotland. 🙂

All in all, I’m very happy that England won this years’ Six Nations. It has been too long since out last triumph – 2003 – and if you are looking for good omens, this was also the year we won the World Cup. But without the Grand Slam, coupled together with how it was denied, it seems a slightly hollow victory.

England…CHAMPIONS! 😀

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

PF

PA

+/-

Tries

Pts.

1

England

5

4

0

1

132

81

+51

13

8

2

France

5

3

0

2

117

91

+26

6

6

3

Ireland

5

3

0

2

93

81

+12

10

6

4

Wales

5

3

0

2

95

89

+6

7

6

5

Scotland

5

1

0

4

82

109

-27

6

2

6

Italy

5

1

0

4

70

138

-68

6

2

FROM now until the Quarter-Finals I’ll just be putting the scorecards on this blog. Trying to blog each match (especially when I can’t watch them) has proved too much. Sorry about this.

Bangladesh vs. Netherlands

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 32, Group B) – Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat

Netherlands

vs.

Bangladesh

160 (46.2 overs @ 3.45 rpo)

Day Match

166-4 (41.2 overs @ 4.02 rpo)

R.N. ten Doeschate 53* (71)

Imrul Kayes 73* (113)

Abdur Razzak 3-29

T.L.W. Cooper 2-33

Man of the Match – Imrul Kayes (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh won by 6 Wickets

 

Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 33, Group A) – Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat

Zimbabwe

vs.

Pakistan

151-7 (39.4 overs @ 3.81 rpo)

Day/Night Match

164-3 (34.1 overs @ 4.80 rpo)

C.R. Ervine 52 (85)

Asad Shafiq 78* (97)

Umar Gul 3-36

R.W. Price 2-21

Man of the Match – Umar Gul (Pakistan)

Pakistan won by 7 Wickets (D/L Method)

 

South Africa vs. Ireland

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 34, Group B) – Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India

Ireland won the toss and elected to field

South Africa

vs.

Ireland

272-7 (50.0 overs @ 5.44 rpo)

Day/Night Match

141 (33.2 overs @ 4.23 rpo)

J-P Duminy 99 (103) 😦

G.C. Wilson 31 (48)

J.F. Mooney 1-36

R.J. Peterson 3-32

Man of the Match – J-P Duminy (South Africa)

South Africa won by 131 Runs

 

Canada vs. Australia  

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 35, Group A) – M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India

Canada won the toss and elected to bat

Canada

vs.

Australia

211 (45.4 overs @ 4.62 rpo)

Day/Night Match

212-3 (34.5 overs @ 6.09 rpo)

H. Patel 54 (45)

S.R. Watson 94 (90)

B. Lee 4-46

J.M. Davison 1-29

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

Australia won by 7 Wickets

 

England vs. West Indies  

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 36, Group B) – MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, India

England won the toss and elected to bat

England

vs.

West Indies

243 (48.4 overs @ 4.99 rpo)

Day/Night Match

225 (44.4 overs @ 5.04 rpo)

I.J.L. Trott 47 (38)

A.D. Russell 49 (46)

A.D. Russell 4-49

J.C. Tredwell 4-48

Man of the Match – J.C. Tredwell (England)

England won by 18 Runs 😀

 

 

Ireland vs. Netherlands

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 37, Group B) – Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India

Ireland won the toss and elected to filed

Netherlands

vs.

Ireland

306 (50.0 overs @ 6.12 rpo)

Day Match

307-4 (47.4 overs @ 6.44 rpo)

R.N. ten Doeschate 106 (108)

P.R. Stirling 101 (72)

P.R. Stirling 2-51

T.L.W. Cooper 2-31

Man of the Match – P.R. Stirling (Ireland)

Ireland won by 6 Wickets

 

 

Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 38, Group A) – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat

Sri Lanka

vs.

New Zealand

265-9 (50.0 overs @ 5.30 rpo)

Day/Night Match

153 (35.0 overs @ 4.37 rpo)

K.C. Sangakkara 111 (128)

L.R. Taylor 33 (55)

T.G. Southee 3-63

M. Muralitharan 4-25

Man of the Match – K.C. Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka won by 112 Runs

P92: “I have a confession to make. I wrote England off when the West Indies needed about 25 runs to win.

Stumpy: “You should know by now that anything can happen in this game.

WELL everybody, he’s just one away now.

India vs. South Africa

Sachin Tendulkar scored his 99th international century with a score of 111 as India batted first against South Africa. When the ‘little master’ was out India were 267-2 and a score of over 330+ was on the cards. But the rest of the Indian batting line-up collapsed. They lost their last eight batsmen for just 28 runs and failed to make 300. Dale Steyn showed why he is one of the best bowlers in the world by taking five for 50.

South Africa went about their chase at a steady pace, but as the end drew nearer India seemed to have the upper hand. With just one over remaining in the match South Africa needed 13 runs to win. These were made in just four balls, leaving a stunned partisan crowd wondering just what might have been had their lower order batsmen showed up.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 29, Group B) – Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur, India

India won the toss and elected to bat

India

vs.

South Africa

296 (48.4 overs @ 6.08 rpo)

Day/Night Match

300-7 (49.4 overs @ 6.04 rpo)

S.R. Tendulkar 111 (101)

J.H. Kallis 69 (88)

D.W. Steyn 5-50

Harbhajan Singh 3-53

Man of the Match – D.W. Steyn (South Africa)

South Africa won by 3 Wickets

 

New Zealand vs. Canada

New Zealand once again went mad with their scoring rates as Canada were put to the sword once again. ‘Black Caps’ wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum made 101 – his first 50 runs coming from just 38 balls. Captain Ross Taylor hit Hanvir Baidwan for four sixes in an over in a fourth wicket partnership worth 69 in only 4.1 overs (16.83 runs per over)! New Zealand continued to go up through the gears in the last part of their innings, whacking 122 runs from the last 60 balls. James Franklin made a spectacular contribution, making an unbeaten 31 runs from the eight deliveries he faced.

Canada needed to put on the run chase of their lives to reach the target total of 359. A brave fourth wicket partnership of 125 between keeper/captain Ashish Bagai (84) and Amarbir Hansra (70* – a personal best score) saw Canada to a 50 over total of 261-9. They may have lost by 97 runs and are now out of Quarter-Final contention, but they weren’t bowled out, which is a plus I guess. New Zealand on the other hand will play in the last eight.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 30, Group A) – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India

Canada won the toss and elected to field

New Zealand

vs.

Canada

358-6 (50.0 overs @ 7.16 rpo)

Day Match

261-9 (50.0 overs @ 5.22 rpo)

B.B. McCullum 101 (109)

A. Bagai 84 (87)

H.S. Baidwan 3-84

J.D.P. Oram 3-47

Man of the Match – B.B. McCullum (New Zealand)

New Zealand won by 97 Runs

 

Australia vs. Kenya

Australia have also made it into the last eight thanks to their 60 runs win over Kenya. Michael Clarke came up seven runs short of a century as the triple reigning champions made 324-6 in their 50 overs.

Kenya did the same as Canada in the game before. They lost but batted their whole allocation of 50 overs, reaching a score of 264-6. Collins Obuya anchored the innings but unfortunately ended up two runs away from what would have been his first O.D.I. ton.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 31, Group A) – M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India

Australia won the toss and elected to bat

Australia

vs.

Kenya

324-6 (50.0 overs @ 6.48 rpo)

Day/Night Match

264-6 (50.0 overs @ 5.28 rpo)

M.J. Clarke 93 (80)

C.O. Obuya 98* (129)

N.N. Odhiambo 3-57

S.W. Tait 2-49

Man of the Match – C.O. Obuya (Kenya)

Australia won by 60 Runs

Stumpy: “How did India loose?

P92: “It happens. I’m English I should know.

JUST when you thought the status quo had been restored in this World Cup…BOOM! It gets smashed again.

Netherlands vs. India

The Dutch won the toss and decided to bat against India in New Delhi. The Netherlands failed to build on an opening stand of 56, and after Zaheer Khan took three wickets for 20 they were all out for 189. They had their captain, Peter Borren, to thank for his 38 from 36 balls at number eight or else their total would have been much less.

India’s batsmen made starts to their innings, but they kept getting out in the 20s and 30s. But Yuvraj Singh stayed put and steered India to a five wicket win with plenty of overs remaining. He also scored his third consecutive 50 in this World Cup.  

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 25, Group B) – Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi, India

Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat

Netherlands

vs.

India

189 (46.4 overs @ 4.05 rpo)

Day/Night Match

191-5 (36.3 overs @ 5.23 rpo)

P.W. Borren 38 (36)

Yuvraj Singh 51* (73)

Zaheer Khan 3-20

P.M. Seelar 3-53

Man of the Match – Yuvraj Singh (India)

India won by 5 Wickets

 

Sri Lanka vs. Zimbabwe

 Sri Lanka’s innings was a classic ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ affair. Opening batsmen Upul Tharanga and Tillekeratne Dilshan put on a huge 282 run stand (the biggest partnership of this World Cup) for the first wicket. This is just four off the all time record, which is also held by Sri Lanka. Tharanga was out for a career best 133, while Dilshan was out soon after, having 144 to his name. Sri Lanka were now 289-2 and could easily get to a final score of around 360ish. However Zimbabwe’s Christopher Mpofu (who got Tharanga out) led a bowling revival that skittled Sri Lanka to 308-6. The co-host’s eventually finished on 327-6, still a very good total, and one that Zimbabwe would have a hard time chasing.

In response Zimbabwe’s top pair, Brendan Taylor and Regis Chakabva, put on their own century partnership, which in the end was worth 116. Taylor top scored in the Zimbabwe innings with a score of 80. His achievement in this innings was overshadowed however, by one of Sri Lanka’s first innings heroes, Dilshan. He got Prosper Utseya out stumped with the help of keeper/captain Kumar Sangakkara. He then dismissed Craig Ervine (leg-before), and with his very next delivery sent Greg Lamb back to the pavilion for a golden duck, after getting him to edge the ball to Mahela Jayawardene at first slip. Dilshan was inches away from taking a Hat-Trick when Alex Cremer edged the ball to Jayawardene who only just missed the catch. Dilshan picked up his fourth wicket, that of Tinashe Panyangara (leg-before) to put Sri Lanka only one wicket away from victory. Dilshan’s bowling figures proved to be quiet exceptional: three overs, one maiden, four wickets for four runs. To score 144 runs and take four for four with the ball in the same match is simply outstanding. Sri Lanka won by 139 runs when Muttiah Muralitharan bowled Mpofu, securing Sri Lanka’s place in the Quarter-Finals.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 26, Group A) – Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field

Sri Lanka

vs.

Zimbabwe

327-6 (50.0 overs @ 6.54 rpo)

Day/Night Match

188 (39.0 overs @ 4.82 rpo)

T.M. Dilshan 144 (131)

B.R.M. Taylor 80 (72)

C.B. Mpofu 4-62

T.M. Dilshan 4-4

Man of the Match – T.M. Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka won by 139 Runs

 

West Indies vs. Ireland

With a victory against England under their belt, Ireland would have fancied causing another upset against the West Indies. But the Windies made the most of being put into bat first as Devon Smith and Shivnarine Chanderpaul made an opening stand of 89. Smith would go on to anchor the West Indian innings with Keiron Pollard. Pollard smashed a career best of 94 off just 55 balls and was out trying to go to his first 100 with a six, but Smith did score his first ever O.D.I. 100, eventually being bowled out by Kevin O’Brien for 107. Without this pair though, Ireland would have gotten the West Indies out for around 60! Yes the rest of their batting card was really that bad.

Ireland put on a brave run chase, with Ed Joyce (84) and Gary Wilson (61) providing the backbone of the innings, making a 91 run stand for the fourth wicket. Unfortunately for the romantics, Ireland’s run rate wasn’t up with the required one, and had they made it into the last over they would have needed 45 to win from six balls.

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 27, Group B) – Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Punjab, India

Ireland won the toss and elected to field

West Indies

vs.

Ireland

275 (50.0 overs @ 5.50 rpo)

Day Match

231 (49.0 overs @ 4.71 rpo)

D.S. Smith 107 (133)

E.C. Joyce 84 (106)

K.J. O’Brien 4-71

S.J. Benn 4-53

Man of the Match – K.A. Pollard (West Indies)

West Indies won by 44 Runs

 

England vs. Bangladesh

England’s World Cup dreams hang in the balance after yet another shock loss, this time to co-hosts Bangladesh.

England were put into bat and only scored a very chaseable 225 all out. Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan scored 67 and 63 respectively, when no other English batsman made it into the 20s.

Bangladesh were 155-3 in reply and going well before things started to go pear shaped for them with Imrul Kayes run out when he had scored 60. The Tigers then slumped to 169-8 and England had a chance to save their blushes and Graeme Swann’s temper. His quite vocal on field complaints about the ball cost him 10% of his match fee. It was up to Mohammad Mahmudallah and Shafiul Islam to see Bangladesh home in front of the partisan Chittagong crowd, and see their side home they did. Their ninth wicket partnership was worth 58, which was enough to win the match for The Tigers by two wickets. England’s Lions on the other hand were left licking their wounds once again. 😦 Perhaps conceding those 33 extras (23 wides in that lot) was what cost us?

2011 Cricket World Cup (Match 28, Group B) – Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field

England

vs.

Bangladesh

225 (49.4 overs @ 4.53 rpo)

Day/Night Match

227-8 (49.0 overs @ 4.63 rpo)

I.J.L. Trott 67 (99)

Imrul Kayes 60 (100)

Naeem Islam 2-29

Ajmal Shahzad 3-43

Man of the Match – Imrul Kayes (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh won by 2 Wickets

Stumpy: “Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh!

P92: “Oh go step on your trunk! Do you know what the injured Kevin Pietersen was up to the night of the match? He was at a seedy nightclub in Soho with his brother and agent.

Stumpy: “I don’t know what to say about that other than I’m stunned.

P92: “Anyway, I don’t really mind about Bangladesh winning. In light of other events that day a cricket match isn’t important at all.

Stumpy: “Here here.