The Wright View: Super sporting spectacle

first_imgLast weekend provided a smorgasbord of sports that was just enough to make it the fantastic one the romantics promised. As I settled in front of the television, the English Premier League (EPL) set the tone on Saturday morning, with six games before noon and one game after. The 1-2 loss by Manchester United to Sunderland ensured that their manager/coach Louis van Gaal will definitely be looking for new employment later on this year. The afternoon game had a resurgent Chelsea Football Club, under the leadership of ‘super sub’ manager/coach Gus Hiddink, demolishing hapless Newcastle, whose players must now be looking at the possibility of life in the second tier of English football. Then, Saturday night served up two fantastic cricket matches, both one-day internationals (ODI). First, was the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, with the West Indians facing India, who were unbeaten in this tournament and had not lost an ODI since a defeat to England in the quarter-finals of the 2014 tournament. The ‘outsiders’ were the youngsters from the West Indies, who lost their three warm-up games against hosts Bangladesh, and who were beaten by England in the first game of the tournament. Later on that night, England and South Africa met in the final game of a five-match series, with both sides winning two games each, as South Africa rebounded from losses in the first two games. Then we came to ‘Super Sunday’ in the EPL, with third place Arsenal against leaders Leicester, and second place Tottenham against fourth place Manchester City. The supporters of Arsenal and Tottenham certainly felt the love permeating Valentine Sunday, as victories for both these clubs left them joint second in the League, with Tottenham ahead on goal difference. However, losing sleep to watch both cricket matches on Saturday night (which takes some doing) was well worth it, as the games were of an exceptionally high standard. In the England-South Africa game, the South Africans prevailed due in no small way to the batting of captain AB de Villiers and previous captain Hashim Amla. England lost the series mainly because after going two up, they formed the impression that South Africa were soft and changed their previously successful game plan to one of non-stop aggression. This was brilliantly exploited by the South Africans. The moral there – never count your chickens before they are hatched. In the Under-19 World Cup finals, the underdogs, the West Indies, triumphed because of (a) talent, (b) character and (c) a determination to relax and enjoy the game. After winning the toss and sending in the favourites to bat, the fast bowling duo of Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder ensured that India were always going to play catch up. They never batted out the allotted 50 overs and were dismissed for a paltry 145. The first wicket claimed by the West Indies appeared to be a ‘Mankad’, as I do not recall the wicketkeeper for the West Indies, Tevin Imlach, warning the Indian batsman, Rishabh Pant, that he had wandered out of his crease before removing the bails. The decision is recorded as a stumping as Pant was not attempting a run, but had in fact left his crease. According to the rules of the game he was OUT. Yet, not one murmur from those who condemned Keemo Paul for a similar dismissal in the match against Zimbabwe. I suppose that since it was the first wicket and India were supposed to win, that ‘Mankad’ was OK! Hmmm. Then in the run chase we saw a lesson in batting concentration from the young West Indian Keacy Carty, whose 152-ball 52 was instrumental in the victory, belying the fact that for the entire tournament, Carty had faced 132 balls and scored 60 runs. This victory validates my suggestion that the West Indies (senior team) withdraw from Tests and ODIs until this group of young men have two more years of experience playing international cricket. Then, and only then, should the West Indies return to international Test cricket and ODIs, thus ensuring that we have a legitimate chance of returning to a place in the top echelons of world cricket, instead of the present scenario where we are represented by people who don’t appear to care one iota for the West Indian fan! Well done young WI!last_img read more

Windies Women win first T20 World Cup

first_imgKOLKATA, India (CMC):Teenager Hayley Matthews and captain Stafanie Taylor fashioned half-centuries as West Indies Women produced a superb run chase to beat three-time defending champions Australia Women by eight wickets and lift their first-ever Twenty20 World Cup title here yesterday.Set 149 for victory at the historic Eden Gardens, West Indies Women reached their target with three balls to spare, with the 18-year-old Matthews top-scoring with 66 from 45 balls and the in-form Taylor getting 59 from 57 balls.The pair put on a magnificent 120 for the first wicket to take Australia Women out of the contest and even when Matthews fell in the 16th over, Deandra Dottin (18 not out) joined Taylor to add 24 for the second wicket to keep the Caribbean side on top.West Indies Women entered the final over requiring three to win and Dottin reduced the target even further with a single to cover off seamer Ellyse Perry.Britney Cooper, who finished on three not out, failed to score off the next delivery, but took off for a suicide single off the third ball. The fielder at short midwicket missed a direct hit at the bowler’s end that would have seen Cooper on her way and the resulting overthrow handed West Indies Women the crucial win.The result sparked scenes of jubilation across the outfield as the remainder of the women’s team, along with members of the men’s team, ran on to the ground to celebrate.ELATED TAYLOR”I am (on top of the world). I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” an elated Taylor said afterwards.”I think it has actually come at the right time because we’ve played some fantastic cricket today. We didn’t get the start that we wanted with the ball, but I think the batting gave us the edge.”Matthews, who struck six fours and three sixes to post her maiden T20 International half-century, was voted Player of the Match, while Taylor was adjudged Player of the Tournament for her 246 runs overall.Earlier, Australia Women captain Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani both struck 52 to get the title favourites up to 148 for five off their 20 overs, after opting to bat first.Alyssa Healy fell cheaply for four at 15 for one in the second over when she tapped a low return catch to off-spinner Matthews, but Lanning and Villani put on 77 for the second wicket to rally the innings.Lanning faced 49 balls and gathered eight fours, while opener Villani counted nine fours in her 37-ball innings.”We probably did not get the result that we wanted, but congratulations to West Indies for the way they batted,” Lanning said. “We felt we were a little short, 160 would have been nice. But if we had bowled well we would have defended.”last_img read more