Updated: Nov 22, 2022
T20 Cricket World Cup
The first T20 ICC World Cup semi-final was yesterday between England and New Zealand and the second was today between Pakistan and Australia. Starting with semi-final one, England were up to bat first with Butler and Bairstow on the crease. Bairstow was the first to go, with just 13 runs, and after Butler fell for 29 it didn’t look too promising for England. This changed with Ali’s inspiring performance of 51 runs of just 37 balls, including 2 of England’s 4 sixes, to help England reach a score of 166-4 at the end of 20 overs. 167 was not the highest bar to set for New Zealand but seemed manageable. England started New Zealand’s innings well, with two wickets in the first three overs, including NZ captain Kane Williamson, some good bowling from Woakes. Things continued to look up for England, especially after Livingstone delivered two wickets in the space of two overs, breaking up partnerships. New Zealand’s Mitchell was on fire yesterday, scoring 72 runs which included 4 sixes and 4 fours off just 47 balls to win the match. It was very close and a slightly bitter pill for the English to swallow, although the sportsmanship and quality New Zealand showed proved they deserve the spot in the final and I know I will be rooting for them, especially after the heart-breaking way they lost the last World Cup to England off Boundaries.
The second semi-final was today with Pakistan vs Australia, with both teams having delivered consistent performances throughout the competition this was always going to be close. Pakistan were up to bat first and they set the high target of 176-4, with Rizwan putting in a great performance of 67 runs, including 3 fours and 4 sixes off just 52 balls. 177 is quite a good target to set in T20 cricket and Pakistan took advantage of their innings to make life harder for the Australians. Finch and Warner were the opening batsmen for Australia, and they did not get off to the best start. Shaheen bowled Finch a lbw and he was out on his first ball with a duck. Warner then rose to meet the challenge, gaining and losing two more batting partners while scoring 49 runs off 30 balls including 3 fours and 3 sixes. Australia reached the 177 target with an over to spare. It was a similar match to the other semi-final with the Pakistan bowlers putting in a great innings, Shadab gaining 4 wickets in 24 balls was outstanding bowling. This means that it is the old rivalry of Australia vs New Zealand who meet in the final, which is on Sunday, 14th November 14:00 BST, I know I’ll definitely be watching.
Mexico Grand Prix
Formula 1 was back in Mexico at the weekend and all eyes were on Sergio Perez, for whom it was a home Grand Prix. What a homecoming it was, Red Bull were outstanding, sandwiching Lewis Hamilton on the podium yet again this season. Max Verstappen continued his season’s habit of winning Grand Prix’s, with Mexico being his ninth of twice as many races. After the way qualifying went for the Red Bull team, this result was not expected, after both cars had trouble with Yuki Tsunoda in Q3, something Christian Horner was less than impressed about, the two Mercedes clinched pole and P2, meaning that they were the first two cars on the grid, and in the lead at lights out. Sadly, for Mercedes their dream start was spoiled, as Verstappen managed to use their slipstream leading into turn one and overtake on the outside to put himself in first. To add salt to the wounds, Daniel Ricciardo accidently made contact with Bottas, causing him to spin and drop to the back of the grid just after turn one. Hamilton was left between the two Red Bull cars, a standing that remained consistent for most of the race, Verstappen was just too quick for him, and he entered a race for second against Perez, rather than racing for the win. The last few laps were reminiscent of Austin, but in reverse. While then Hamilton had been edging closer and closer to Verstappen, this time it was Perez who came very close to overtaking Hamilton and securing 2nd in his home country. The Honda engines really proved themselves in Mexico, supplying three out of the top four cars: Verstappen, Perez, and Pierre Gasly. Gasly drove very well, with his points taking AlphaTauri level with Alpine in the Constructor Standings. After Mexico, there is now one point separating Mercedes and Red Bull, although, there are 19 between Verstappen and Lewis. All this could shift however, one issue with a car or a DNF and everything changes, the championship is still undecided.
Last weekend brought us the return of the Manchester Derby, and it was City who left the match with the bragging rights. United had far from the best start, with their defender Eric Bailly accidently turning the ball into his own goal in the 7th minute. This prompted the onslaught of attempts from City, who finally doubled their lead in the closing seconds of the first half. Bernardo Silva took advantage of some very poor defending from Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to sneak behind and score from a well-placed cross. While the score line looks a lot better than United’s loss to Liverpool the other day it was not. City had over 15 shots at goal, and it was David De Gea, who produced numerous great saves, including one ball that was nearly kicked in by his own teammate, that saved them from even more humiliation. While the difference in the score is 2-0, the difference in the quality of performance is massive, another embarrassing home game for United.
Super Sunday lived up to its name, bringing some nail-biting action in the form of West Ham vs Liverpool. Going into this match most people would have thought West Ham were the clear underdogs, but in reality, it was a game between third and fourth on the table. There was and early own goal in this match too, with the Liverpool keeper Allison putting the ball in his own net after confusion in a West Ham corner. Liverpool managed to equalise just before half time, with Salah taking a short free kick that Alexander-Arnold curled into the goal. With around a quarter of the match left West Ham regained their lead and added to it, scoring two goals in seven minutes courtesy of Fornals and Zouma, who’s header prompted the London Stadium to erupt with noise. Liverpool tried to salvage a point from the match, scoring in the 83rd minute and continuing to press until the final whistle, but they were out of luck. The match finished 3-2 and the dramatic match pushed West Ham into 3rd and Liverpool to 4th, just two points above 5th place Arsenal who have managed to take control of their season after a rather sub-par run at the start.
Women’s Super League
West Ham’s women did not get quite the same result as their male counterparts, they were up against Arsenal, who continued their winning run in the WSL. If this Arsenal team has proven one thing this season, it is their ability to whitewash half the teams they play, and emphatic 4-0 victory added to their already staggering goal difference in the league. Kim Little was the star of the show scoring a brace, with a goal in either half. Her first goal came in the 39th minute after Arsenal had been knocking at the door for quite some time, Mead picked out Little who ran through the West Ham defence and buried the ball in the bottom left corner. Her second goal marked her 50th goal in the WSL in 98 appearances, just over one goal in every two games, pretty impressive! The other two goals came in very different ways, Beth Mead scored in the 61st minute and then towards the end of the match West Ham’s Grace Fisk had a bit of a nightmare, putting the ball in the back of her team’s goal. This was a match where the difference in the score line represented the difference in the quality of the two teams, Arsenal could’ve scored more goals if not for their own mistakes.
Another match with a multitude of goals, was Leicester City vs Manchester City, marking a decade, to the month, since they last hosted Man City in a league match. Leicester were off to a flying start, scoring inside the first minute, after Jessica Sigsworth stole the ball off a Man City defender and was left both time and space to run the ball into the box and score. However, the match then turned, and Man City were on the rise, with Caroline Weir equalising in the 24th minute, and Keira Walsh producing a stunning goal in the 37th minute to take them into the lead. There were a few attempts and blocks within the penalty box before Walsh found the ball on the edge of the box and fired it into the back of the goal with a bullet of a strike. In the second half goals from Lauren Hemp, who had quite a few attempts before, and Laura Coombs took Man City to a 4-1 victory. It provided a needed three points to Man City, who now sit just in the bottom half of the table at 7th, while Leicester remain 12th with no points.