There have been a few big moves in the county games over the last few weeks. The main one is the confirmation of Malan going to Yorkshire. He has been signed on a four-year deal. He has enjoyed 13 very good year’s at Middlesex but he opted for a new challenge. At 32 years old this will most probably where he sees out his career. Hampshire has signed Nathan Lyon for the county championship only. However, he is available for only the early season April fixtures. This seems a strange decision because of April time on off-spinner, whoever they are, probably won’t do much especially if they can’t really bat. Pat Brown has been picked up in the big bash by the Melbourne stars to replace Dale Steyn when he is on international duty. Pat is also set to play in the t10 league in Abhu Dubai. Nicholas Pooran has resigned for Yorkshire for the majority of the t20 blast. Last year he scored a memorable 67 off 28 in Yorkshire’s win over Leicestershire. Gale, the coach, says he will available for 11-12 games.
Ajax v Chelsea what a game. 2 own goals 2 red cards and 8 goals in a 4-4 thriller. The game started in dramatic style with an Abraham goal after only two minutes. Chelsea responded through netting a penalty to even up the scoring from the eventual man of the match Jorghino. However, a headed goal from the young exciting Quincy Promes made it 2-1. Then a spectacular own goal when the ball hit Kepa’s fave from the rebound made it 3-1. An exciting first half. Then after the break, Van De Beek looked to have one it for Ajax slotting away from 12 yards. However, this was just the start of an exciting comeback from Chelsea. Kickstarted from the captain Cezar finished from close range to make it 4-2 in the 63rd minute. Game on. Then only 8 minutes later a shot hit Joel Vettmans arm it was a penalty. Jorghino slotted away his second penalty to make it 4-3. There was real belief. Young substitute Reece James them came on to level the scoring with a low strike. The game ended 4-4 but it’s not one anyone will forget in a while. Ajax Chelsea and Valencia are all level on points so it will be a decisive round of games in group H.
England had a terrible collapse in their third t20 to hand new Zealand the game by 14 runs. They were well placed in there run chase at 138-2 off 14,5 overs. Only needing 43 off of 31 balls, with Vince and Morgan at the crease. However, from there we collapsed losing 5-10 in 18 balls. It was disappointing because up until then there were a lot of positives. A classy Malan 50 an explosive 18 from Banton showing all his potential. A guess Vince getting 49 was a positive however he will be very disappointed to get out on 48. Again he hasn’t seen his team home. It was a good debut from young legspinner Matt Parkinson taking 1-14 of two overs. Don’t know why he didn’t bowl more. The currans also impressed again Sam with 1 and tom with 2 for 29 off of there 4 overs. I expect the same team in the next game. I hope Parkinson gets to bowl his 4 overs in the next one and that Banton shows his undoubted potential. If this team clicks it could be very good.
Yesterday New Zealand levelled the 5 match series at 1-1. It was a sloppy performance from England with lots of dropped catches. That was the difference between the teams at the end of the day. However there have been lots of positives for England in these first two t20’s. Sam Curran, he has opened the bowling in the first two games and has done it very well. He has found a nack of taking wickets and going at under 6’s. His figures in the last game were 4-22 of 4 overs. Hopefully he keeps this up. Another positive was James Vince’s performance in the first game. His first t20 fifty and it was a truly classy knock. However he would have been disappointed not to see England home. On 53 hitting a long hop down the sweepers throat. Furthermore in the last game Jordan and Gregory were superb with the ball. Jordan claiming figures of 3-23 off of 4. Truly brilliant especially as he bowled in the power play and at the death. Now Lewis Gregory made an instant impact bowling De Grandhomme with his first ball. 2-10 of two overs. Should have bowled more. For Pat Brown it was a difficult day his two overs going for 32 runs. For the next game I believe Banton will come in for Malan and Parkinson for Rashid. These two could have a real impact.
Yesterday was a very historic day. New Zealand didn’t win reach the World Cup final. They have won the last two world cups. But they were stopped by a spirited England team. A comfortable in the end victory 19-7. Maro Itoje stood out with a powerful performance from the young 24. He showed a calm head on young shoulders. England were the better team from the first minute to the last. There response to the haka showed calmness. The simple grin of Owen Farrel has gone viral. They showed no fear and were ready to give the game of there lives. No fear unlike years before. With Manu tuilangi’s second minute try it was the earliest World Cup try. It was a statement of intent. If England can go on to beat South Africa in the final it will add real interest to the game of rugby. Even now more people are taking about the game of rugby. I don’t want to jinx it. But could it be coming home?
Yesterday Leicester equalled the 24 year record for the highest win in the premier league. They beat a 10 men Southampton 9 goals to nil. This moves the Leicester team to second in the league. They leapfrogged Manchester City and are only five points behind leaders Liverpool. Vardy scored a hat-trick and with his first goal for the club he went on to score 3. In the 131 year history of the premier league this is the biggest win from an away side. This I believe is a signal of Leicester’s intent. They have a better team then when they won the title. This by no means does it mean they will win the title. However they can compete for the top 4. Chelsea,Arsenal, Man united and Tottenham are the weakest they have been for a long while. Maybe just maybe Leicester could stay in the top 4.
India have wrapped up a 3-0 white wash of South Africa. They won all games relatively comfortably. They would bat first score 500 plus and put South Africa on the back foot. Inevitably India’s attack of 3 quality seamers and two superb spinners would bowl out South Africa. It has been a disappointing tour for South Africa unfortunately after a dismal World Cup performance. India have now extended there lead at the top of the test championship claiming a maximum 240 points. They sit 1st in the table ahead of New Zealand and Sri Lanka by 160 points. If India continue to keep winning like this then it is unlikely that anyone will catch them at the top of the standings. However they deserve it as they have played some wonderful cricket with both bat and ball. Who will be the team to stop them?