England beats Australia in an astounding Test match

I have made no secret of the fact that when it comes to cricket, I like the long form of the game that lasts for five days rather than the shorter forms that last for one day (50 overs per innings) or that utter abomination, the three-hour version (20 overs per innings). The reason is that the longer form allows for all the skills and strategy that make the game what it is (or should be) to be brought in to play. With the shorter forms, the need for many of those skills is eliminated in favor of mainly big hitting and defensive bowling.
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England win cricket World Cup in wild and crazy final

I cannot really do justice to the incredible game that was just played. England won in the end after a tie-breaker within a tie-breaker. It was really wild, with fortunes swinging this way and that, and with some freak plays at the very end. You can read a comprehensive report here. In short (and this summary comes nowhere close to capturing the drama that took place on the field) , what happened was that New Zealand batted first and scored 241 in their 50 overs (300 deliveries) for the loss of eight wickets. England also scored exactly the same number of runs in their 50 overs, losing their last wicket off the very last ball, making it a rare tied game.
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English cricketer Jason Roy behaves badly and stupidly

In the semi-final game against Australia, English batter Jason Roy let loose with a fiery tirade against the umpires when, as was clear from the replay, he was mistakenly given out.

Roy, leading England’s chase of Australia’s 223, was batting on 85 when he attempted to pull Pat Cummins’ short delivery and missed by a fair margin, as replays later confirmed. Alex Carey dived to his left behind the stumps and pulled off an excellent collection and went up in appeal along with the bowler and some of the Australian fielders. Umpire Dharmasena looked uncertain but raised his finger, and with Jonny Bairstow having wasted England’s review earlier in the innings, Roy had to go.

He stood his ground at first and then walked off clearly unhappy, remonstrating with the umpires – Marais Erasmus was the other on-field official – on his way out and making his displeasure obvious. The stump mics even caught a furious Roy yelling “that’s f***ing embarrassing”.

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England beats Australia in second cricket World Cup semi-final

In the second semi-final game played today, England beat Australia. It does not really count as an upset since there is not a whole lot of difference in the skill sets and rankings of the two teams. But England had lost badly to Australia in their first round match and even lost to lowly Sri Lanka. Meanwhile Australia had won seven of their nine matches, most quite easily, losing only to the strong Indian team and to South Africa in their last game when they had already clinched a spot in the semi-final and the pressure was off. Australia was the in-form team and had also never lost a semi-final game in their seven previous appearances in the 11 tournaments held before the current one.

So Australia was favored to win this game but not overwhelmingly so. The real surprise was how easily England won.

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Sensational win for New Zealand over India

In an upset win in a rain-interrupted game, New Zealand beat favorites India in a thrilling first semi-final game in the cricket World Cup. New Zealand batted first and scored a very modest 239 runs in their 50 overs. Given the powerful Indian batting line up, it seemed like India would win with ease even on a difficult pitch but their top order batting collapsed, leaving them reeling at 92 for 6 before a stout rearguard action by M.S. Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja threatened to completely turn the tables by taking them to a score of 208, leaving them with just 32 runs to make to win.
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Cricket World Cup update

The preliminary round-robin stage of the ten nations in the tournament ended yesterday. India, Australia, England, and New Zealand ended up qualifying for the semi-finals. Since each team played nine games, with two points for a win, one point for a tie or no decision or abandonment, and zero for losing, the maximum points a team could earn is 18. These four teams had 15, 14, 12, and 11 respectively. The top three positions were filled by the pre-tournament favorites.

India will play New Zealand on the 9th and Australia plays England on the 11th. The final will be on the 14th. I will naturally be cheering for New Zealand to win because not only do they tend to play the game in a good spirit, the other three nations form a cartel that is using their financial muscle to squeeze the other nations to the detriment of the game worldwide. I would love to see them get their comeuppance on the field.
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Stunning upset in cricket World Cup

Against all odds Sri Lanka, whose performance in the tournament so far can only be described as utterly pathetic, today beat England, a team strongly tipped to win the tournament, in an exciting match. This was the first real upset so far in the tournament where the favorites have tended to win easily, the closest contender being the victory by Bangladesh over the West Indies though in that case it was an upset when viewed as a relative newcomer to Test cricket beating a Team that has been around for a long time. But Bangladesh has been surging recently while West Indies has been uneven and so the result was not really stunning.
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The cricket World Cup has become a waterlogged mess

After getting off to a good start for the first ten matches, the rains have come with a vengeance in the UK and four of the last eight games, including the one today between New Zealand and India, have been called off. Since these two were the last remaining unbeaten teams, there had been considerable interest in this game, making its cancellation particularly disappointing for fans everywhere. Tomorrow West Indies are scheduled to play England and the forecast calls for a ‘few showers’, not a good sign, but mostly in the morning so we may get (or at least hope for) a delayed but complete game.
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Rain disrupts cricket World Cup

Because cricket matches take such a long time, are played in open-air stadiums, and cannot be played when the ground is wet, they are highly prone to being interrupted by rain. According to the rules of the one-day game, each team must face a minimum of 120 deliveries of the allocated 300 for the game to be counted. Anything less than that and the match is considered a no-decision and the two points that goes to the winner is shared between the two teams.
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The puzzling stability of cricket bails

In cricket, there are three upright sticks (called stumps) about knee height behind the batter. If the ball delivered by the bowler hits any of the three stumps, the batter is out. This is the case if the batter completely misses the ball or hits it and the ball still goes on to hit the stumps. In order to provide an unambiguous signal that the ball has hit the stumps, on top of the stumps are two small cylindrical objects known as ‘bails’ that straddle the two gaps between the three stumps. These bails rest on grooves carved into the top of the stumps and for the batter to be out, at least one of the bails has to be dislodged and fall to the ground. The grooves are supposed to be deep enough that the wind won’t dislodge them but shallow enough that even very slight contact by the ball with any of the three stumps will cause them to fall. On very windy days, umpires have the option of using heavier bails.
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