July 24th, 2019. It is the date when the inventors of the game of cricket will host the coveted World Cup Final at the most hallowed ground of the game, Lords.
Currently ranked number 1 in ODIs, the English team have age, expertise, and rankings on their side. But how will the side fare in the World Cup 2019?
One of the biggest advantages that English teams have enjoyed over the years is that they are constantly encouraged to overlook past failures, and only focus on what is to come. The English cricket team is young and bursting with energy, and this will be a huge plus point for them. The summer of 2005 when the Ashes was staged proved that cricket can truly hypnotize the nation. Organizers are expected that with widespread and clever advertising techniques, revenue will be at an all-time high. In addition to this, playing at home in front of a well-educated crowd will always work in their favor, and England will be expected to cash in on it in the World Cup 2019.
With openers Jason Roy and Bairstow, England have nothing to worry about. They form the perfect team, complementing each other successfully while playing long innings. The pair has been responsible for handing the English team with many match-winning opening stands, including a double hundred together. Due to their pairing, the English team has changed their playing tactic. From a policy of holding back and playing calmly, England now follows the route of controlled aggression, which was on full display against West Indies recently, when they chased down 360.
Eoin Morgan buckled under the pressures of the previous management, but Andrew Strauss’ decision to retain him for World Cup 2019 was probably the best ideas in a long time. His team respects his decisions, and he understands which bowler to play, depending on the field conditions. However, the only source of worry for the team is Morgan’s own form. Averaging at 25 the past year, playing at number 4, his future seems shaky. However, he is still more than capable of an attack if England starts strongly. Though inconsistency is an issue with him, Morgan rises to the occasion when need be, like he did against Windies in the first ODI.
Liam Plunkett will be tucking up the bowlers in the middle overs, assisted by Mark Wood and Chris Woakes. England has an ace up their sleeve in the form of Adil Rashid, who can easily be used to null runs and snatch up wickets in the midst of the tournament. However, what England desperately lacks is a bowler like Sunil Narine, who can keep the opposition on their toes at all times. The bowling attack is their biggest worry though, with the pacers often going for a lot of runs throughout the innings. With no variety in the attack and with small grounds, England have struggled to curb runs and have easily allowed opponents to score 300+ runs, which will be a major worry in the tourney.
England has two very mature players in their team, in the form of Jos Buttler and Joe Root. These players have proven, time and again, that they can be depended on to salvage the lower order. Buttler has learned on how to play on more than one way, modeling his on-field mannerisms on MS Dhoni, possibly the coolest player of the game. Furthermore, Alex Hales can mold himself into any batting situation as well, and it is safe to say that the batting unit is one of the most settled ones among all teams that will play the World Cup.
England has a strong team this year, with players who understand the game, who do not stick to their conventional methods of gameplay, and who can model themselves to play on any surface. These requisites are of utmost importance, especially for a home team looking to redeem themselves and clinch the World Cup 2019, and make themselves a team to reckon with, yet again. England does suffer on slow pitches, but if recent matches are anything to go by, England is slowly becoming a master and they would hope to clinch their maiden title this year.
With just a month let for the IPL to begin, teams have already begun preparations in full force. The cricket extravaganza is not only known for its contribution to Indian cricket in terms of upcoming talents but also for giving foreign upcoming stars a launch-pad.
Various talented cricketers have been able to play for their country internationally after impressing in the IPL. In India, the prime examples of this are of pacer Jasprit Bumrah and leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Here’s taking a look at some of the most exciting newcomers in the 2019 season of the IPL.
Shimron Hetmyer (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The hard-hitting batsman from the Caribbean already made a name for himself in 2018, when he became the youngest cricketer to score a century in the Caribbean Premier League. Moreover, he was the top scorer for West Indies in their tour of India, with 259 runs in 5 innings, averaging at 51.80 with a strike rate of 140.
Bought by RCB for INR 4.2 crore, Hetmyer is sure to add on to the star power of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in IPL 2019.
Sam Curran (Kings XI Punjab)
The English star was first noticed on an international platform during the Test series against India in 2018. He scored 272 runs in 4 matches at an average of 38.85, and also picked up 11 wickets at a rate of 23.54. The younger Curran brother is a lethal all-rounder, scoring crucial runs as a left-handed batsman and can be a dangerous seamer as well.
Curran was bought by KXIP for a whopping 7.2 crores, making him the highest bought cricketer in the franchise.
Shivam Dube (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Dube is a pace bowling all-rounder- a combination considered rare in India. However, in addition, he also stands tall at 6 feet, which makes him capable of bowling at great speeds, easily touching the 130-mark. On the eve of the IPL auction, Dube hit five sixes off five deliveries for Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy match against Baroda, prompting RCB to pick him up for a large sum of INR 5 crore for IPL 2019.
The 16-year old leg spinner from Bengal has already started making waves. Making his debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Barman picked up 4 wickets for 20 runs against Jammu and Kashmir in September 2018. This one match as enough to propel him to the big leagues, which ultimately resulted in RCB buying him for INR 1.5 crore. With the guidance of Indian captain Virat Kohli and lead bowler Yuzvendra Chahal, the IPL will surely be a huge boost for the youngster.
Prabhsimran Singh (Kings XI Punjab)
The wicketkeeper-batsman rose to the spotlight after hitting 65* off 37 balls in the finals of the U-19 Asia Cup last year. As a temporary captain for the team, he left no stone unturned to ensure his side clinched the coveted cup. Sold for INR 4.8 crore, Singh has a great chance to impress the management in the upcoming IPL.
With the ICC World Cup 2019 just three and a half months away, teams have started prepping their squads in full swing. While some teams still have areas of concern, others are fairly settled, sans the odd questions that crop up when a team underperforms in a match.
The Indian Team too look mighty strong on paper and is one of the favorites to win the World Cup 2019 but will need to sort out problem areas before the biennial event gets underway.
The inconsistent middle order
The Indian Cricket Team has been buoyed by a top-heavy batting unit, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shikhar Dhawan rising to the occasion more often than not. However, the concerns arise once the trio is back in the pavilion, with India’s middle-order looking unsettled and inconsistent.
Nine cricketers have been tried at the number 4 spot since January 2018, with Ambati Rayudu playing the maximum games in that position – 6. However, with a high score of only 40 and with his issues against pace no secret, the unstable number 4 can often undo all the good work that the top sets.
India’s numbers 5 to 7 have fared no better, with as many as 12 cricketers being given a go in the middle order in the last 13 months. The players in these spots have managed to score runs at only a strike-rate of 81.47, which is in contrast to the strike-rate of 94.80 that the top three batters have batted within this interim. Hence, once the top-order has been dismissed, the job of the bowlers is relatively easy, and with MS Dhoni no longer in ominous form, the struggles in the death overs while batting seems to have no immediate answer.
The performance of the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has managed to take the limelight away from the under-performance of the quicks in the ODI set-up. With no seamer except for Jasprit Bumrah putting his hand up, India remains crippled without a genuine quick who can create troubles up front.
Bumrah has managed to take the most wickets since January in 2019 – 22 wickets in 13 games – while the next best bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has picked up 26 wickets but in 22 matches. The inability of the swing bowler to maintain his line and length match-after-match too remains a worry, and with Mohammad Shami and Khaleel Ahmed going for runs too, the problem is only highlighted further.
The former had been unable to step up till the series in New Zealand, while the latter has hardly done anything noteworthy in his short international career. With Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul not in the fray, it is likely that Bumrah, Bhuvi, Shaami, and Khaleel will board the flight to England. However, they will have to raise their game, just like the bowling department had done in the World Cup in Australia four years ago.
The lack of a back-up bowler
Team India have finally found a bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya, who did reasonably well in the ODIs against New Zealand. However, he is prone to inconsistency and can be dreadfully wayward on his day. This is where India will need a sixth-bowling option. Kedar Jadhav has been donning the role for a while now, but with the tracks in England hardly assisting spinners, and with Jadhav being viewed as a ‘lucky bowler who somehow gets wickets’, it will be foolish to count on him match-after-match.
So who does Team India rely on in this case? With none of the top-order batters bowling – Rohit and Kohli no longer pitch in with the cherry – the responsibility will be on the fifth and sixth bowlers to be consistent and disciplined.
In the 2008 inaugural season of the IPL, an outstanding 158* off 73 by Brendon McCullum set the stage for the rest of the tournament, turning Kolkata Knight Riders into a global phenomenon.
Kolkata Knight Riders are known for a number of excellent knocks. However, no one can beat the team when it comes to excellent comebacks. The USP of KKR is that they know exactly how to redeem themselves when they have lost an immense amount of supporters. The team has constantly been in the news, whether it be due to their superstar owner Shah Rukh Khan, or due to their unique team decisions like multiple captains.
KKR also has an excellent research team, which always keeps in mind the need of the hour, and is always scouting for new talent. Most famously, KKR backed up Sunil Narine when nobody did, bringing him to the spotlight, and making him one of the best bowlers in the world.
KKR has set a number of records during the eleven years of the IPL. Here’s taking a look at some of them.
Highest Opening Partnership
In the first game of IPL 2017, Gujarat Lions had set up a formidable score of 183-4. However, the captain Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn, who replaced the previous opener Robin Uthappa, made a mockery of the target. The runs were reached in merely 14.5 overs, without the loss of a single wicket. Gambhir scored 76 off 48 balls, and Lynn smashed 93 off 41 balls. This record is yet to be broken.
In 2014, KKR had yet another experience of chasing a big score in a final, just like in 2012. They were playing against KXIP, who had reached the finals for the first time. Punjab struggled initially, but with the help of Wriddhiman Saha, they managed to put up a score of 199-4 on the board.
The run total was obviously huge, but in addition, KKR lost Orange-Cap holder Robin Uthappa in the first over itself. However, Manish Pandey rose to the occasion, scoring 94 off 50 balls, coupled with Piyush Chawla, who hit the running runs for KKR with just three balls to go.
Throughout their innings, KKR was well above the asking score of 10, thus setting the record for the highest run score chased in a final.
Bowling rivals for lowest total
In a match of KKR versus RCB in 2017, KKR were bowled out for 131. Sunil Narine gave a good start to the team. However, once he got out at 34 runs, the entire batting side collapsed, with KKR losing 9 wickets in 66 runs. Everyone thought that the match was surely one-sided, with RCB surely winning.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, something which was truly out of a storybook, the KKR bowling line-up rose to the occasion. They did not let the RCB side even cross 50 runs, which should have been a cakewalk for them, given that they had the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers with them. RCB were bowled out for 49, with not one cricketer crossing the double-digit mark.
Most Consecutive Wins in the IPL
The 2014 edition of the IPL was a roller coaster ride for the Kolkata Knight Riders. In the first seven games, they lost five and won only two. They were in the bottom half of the table, and their chances of qualifying were next to nil.
However, KKR lived up to their reputation of historic comebacks, and how. In what seemed like magic, they won the remaining seven games, won the first qualifier, and went on to pick up the trophy for the 2014 IPL tournament. In this edition, they went on a 9-match unbeaten streak. They then won the first game of the Champions League that year, finishing the streak at 10 matches, a record that remains unbroken till today.
Highest Score in the Powerplay
In 2017, RCB and KKR had yet another iconic showdown. During the first inning by RCB, Mandeep Singh and Travis Head helped Bangalore put up a decent score of 158-6 on the scoreboard. Having to chase 159, skipper Gambhir chose a new tactic, sending recently recovered Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine to open. This was surely odd, but an excellent decision nonetheless. They did not show respect to any bowler, smashing an astounding 105 runs in the powerplay. Narine smashed a 50 in just 15 balls, and Lynn followed suit in 21 balls. They broke the record of CSK, who held the record of most runs in the first six overs at 100-2 and still maintain it to this day.
If there is a football event that immobilizes the world of sports, it is the El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, monopolizing the attention of more than 650 million viewers worldwide, proving that it is much more than just a football game.
When German striker Udo Steinberg scored the first two goals of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on May 13, 1902, at the Hipodromo Stadium in Madrid he did not know he was writing the first chapter of one of the biggest rivalries in world football. The game with 2 thousand fans was for the semi-finals of the Coronation Cup (predecessor of the Copa Del Rey of Spain). More than a century later, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who face each other on Thursday at the same tournament, monopolize the attention of football fans. Spain is divided in front of this classic and nobody is indifferent.
The story begins
Barcelona was born first, on the initiative of the Swiss athlete Joan Gamper, who arrived on Spanish soil for professional reasons. Months later, Gamper put an ad in a sports magazine to invite all the foreign legion of the city, to be part of a new project. The plan on November 29th, 1899 was baptized with the name of Futbol Club Barcelona.
The city of Madrid would also have its equipment. In February 1900 the Madrid Football Club was constituted, and on 6th of March of 1902 is established officially like Real Madrid. By that time, both clubs played and did not go beyond the normal rivalry between the two teams. In fact, the first time they played officially in 1902, the Catalan team won in the semi-final of the Coronation Cup.
The first controversial transfer
Striker Josep Samitier Vilalta played an important role in the history between both teams. He is the third top scorer in the history of Barca (333), behind Paulino Alcantara (369), and Argentine Lionel Messi (404), current Blaugrana player. He was one of the great figures and emblem of the Catalan box in which he played for 17 years until he signed for Real Madrid in 1933. The event increased the hostility between the two clubs. With the political situation that surrounded, where a change in regime led to a civil war, the country went through a military dictatorship that reinforced the image of FC Barcelona as a figure of Catalan identity that opposed the Spanish government.
Political problems and 11-1
In the 1930s, the political situation in Spain became complicated after a regime change that would impose a military dictatorship. Barcelona would reinforce its image as a Catalan identity against the Spanish government that banned all languages except Castilian.
During the dictatorship, a Real Madrid vs Barcelona in the semifinal of the Copa del Rey would be played, the Catalans would win at home 3-0, in a match with insults in the stands against Real Madrid. The return, played in Madrid had the bulging Real Madrid victory 11-1, however, before the match, the Spanish army and police went to the dressing room of the Catalan team to intimidate them.
Fernando de Argila, Barcelona’s goalkeeper, said afterwards that the referee told him,
“Look how the stand is. We cannot allow something to happen here. You already know what you have to do.”
Help of Franco to Real Madrid
HIRING DI STEFANO
One of the greatest players in history, the Argentine was hired at the same time by Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was not clear which club was the owner of the South American footballer’s rights. The Spanish court ruled that for four years Di Stefano would play each one season in each club. Barcelona refused, considering the absurd decision, and the Argentine turned idol of Madrid.
CONSTRUCTION OF STADIUM
Santiago Bernabeu, a Francoist soldier, was president of the club at the time of the construction of the monumental stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu) in the Spanish capital in 1947. The country lived a post-war period and Real Madrid was out of money. Even so, the work ended in less than three years, possibly with the help of the central government, done in a hidden way.
RELATIONSHIP WITH REFEREES
Finally, the rivalry still exposes what would be a rather suspicious relationship between the club and the football referees. The wives of the referees received gifts from Real Madrid. The growth of the Madrid club would be a project of Franco to become a propaganda agent of the regime in the rest of the world.
Impact of Johan Cruyff and Michael Laudrup
On February 17, 1974, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 0-5 in their own backyard. Johan Cruyff silenced the Bernabeu with his football being decisive of that historical marker. That Barca would win the League again 14 years later.
20 years after the win at the Bernabeu, Johan Cruyff would repeat another 5-0 as Barca coach. The coach changed the philosophy of the club by winning 4 consecutive leagues and the coveted European Cup in Wembley (1992). The “Manita” achieved in the 1993-1994 season was the culmination of a glorious stage with the benches.
A year and a day later, Real Madrid returned the “Manita” in 1994-95. Zamorano, Luis Enrique and Amavisca scored on a historic night that ended with Cruyff’s “Dream Team”. It was the first year of Michael Laudrup in white, who took revenge on his former team. The Whites recovered the League after 4 consecutive League wins of the Catalans.
Luis Enrique and the historic transfer of Luis Figo
In the summer of 1996, Luis Enrique signed with Barcelona. The Spaniard had not triumphed in the Real house but he managed perfectly with the Barca feeling. As soon as he arrived in Barcelona, he reneged on his Madrid past and was inflated to score goals against his ex-club.
Luis Figo took the opposite path in the year 2000. Florentino Perez reached an agreement with the captain of Barcelona and won the presidential elections of Real Madrid holding the Portuguese hand. The whites paid the clause of 60 million euros to get the star of their biggest rival. In October, Madrid visited Camp Nou and Figo received the “boo” of the century. The fans call him Judas, they threw tickets with his picture.
In 2002 Figo returned to the Camp Nou but this time he decided not to be impressed. The atmosphere was very hostile again and every time he got close to taking the corner, objects of all kinds rained down on him. Among them, a bottle of whiskey and a head of suckling pig. The game was interrupted for a few minutes but it resumed despite the hostility. The score of 0-0 was practically anecdotal.
The Present Era
Since the turn of the century, the two Spanish giants have won nine of the 17 Champions League titles. They’ve also soaked up all but three La Liga titles since 2001 as the duopoly sinks its hooks deeper into the coffers of Spanish soccer. As two of the dominant sides in Europe, Real and Barcelona have become destinations for the world’s greatest players. Since Figo’s transfer between the two El Clasico rivals in 2000, five of the past six latest world-record transfer fees in the new century have involved players either moving to or from a Spanish club.
There was nothing that guaranteed El Clasico would turn into the biggest rivalry game in the world. Most rivalries in soccer around the globe are predicated on proximity; Barcelona and Madrid are more than 300 miles apart. But they’ve both been good regularly, and at the same time, and that certainly helps build bad blood between two teams.
The combination of a long history of competition against one another, the politics that inevitably come to shape the evolution of particular clubs and fan bases and the fact that the two clubs have historically been perennial contenders have all played a role in developing the rivalry we now know as El Clasico. Keep that in mind when you see the two teams square away in the next edition of a legendary duel.
El Clasico has always been memorable for the quality of players on display. The likes of Di Stefano, Emilio Butrageuno, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, and of modern times Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, have all graced Clasicos down the years. It is a shame, therefore, that the modern-day Clasico has often been overshadowed by play-acting and simulation from both sides. The soccer seems to have taken a back seat, with the amount of yellow and red cards being the more important statistic. But whilst these two great teams remain rivals, El Clasico, the second-most watched soccer match in the world, will continue to be a spectacle for all.
Sparks fly every time they face on the field. Both star in the so-called Northwest Derby, but in reality it is the classic of English football par excellence. Not in vain, we are talking about the two most successful clubs in England.
Manchester United – founded in 1878 under the name of Newton Heath LYR Football Club – and Liverpool – created in 1892 by a businessman named John Houlding. Two historical rivals, two heavyweights not only of English football but also of the world, with five European Cups for the club of Anfield and three for the Red Devils.
For many it is the biggest rivalry that exists in the British island and the fans of both clubs consider it more emblematic than the local derby they dispute, Liverpool does against Everton and Manchester United has to see the faces with the uncomfortable neighbor, Manchester City.
The Eternal Hatred
One of the main reasons why there is so much hatred among fans is the proximity between the two cities, as they are only separated by 56 kilometers. The arrival of the industrial revolution began to originate a tension both economic and industrial. Liverpool became the economic capital of the north and was one of the main ports around the world during that time, thanks to the production of cotton, however, in Manchester were located the large fabric factories in England.
The citizens of Manchester decided to build the Manchester Ship Canal. In this way they could prevent the merchandise from going through Liverpool first, to later arrive in their city. This did not please the Liverpool businessmen, who immediately opposed the construction, but they could not do anything and in 1894 the canal was finished, which gave rise to a historical rivalry between these two cities.
The Early Rivalry
Months after the completion of the construction of this channel, there was the first match between these two teams, on April 28 and 1894. Liverpool won 2-0 against Newton Heath, the name in which Manchester United was founded. Although at the beginning there was a lot of hatred between both the set of fans, it was still not called a classic, it was at the end of the 20s, that it began to be considered as such.
With the arrival of Matt Busby to the bench of the Red Devils, in 1945, the rivalry reached another level. Busby had been an iconic player for Liverpool from 1935 to 1939 and was coach of Manchester United was not something that pleased the Reds fans. Manchester won 2 leagues during the 50, time that the fans of the port want to forget since from 1954 to 1962 they were in the second division.
Liverpool’s Golden Age
Bill Shankly was the person responsible for taking Liverpool to its former glory, once the returned to England’s first division, it took him two years to win the championship. From the 1963 season to 1967, these two clubs shared the English football titles, with which the hatred between the supporters began to grow more.
For the next two decades, Liverpool had their best time in history, and they won 11 league titles, 3 FA Cups, 4 league cups and four European Cups. While Manchester United did not have good results and their best achievement was to beat the Reds in the final of the FA Cup of 1977.
Alex Ferguson Knocking Liverpool Off Their Plinth
In the 80s, these games were stained by the shadow of the Hooligans that hurt English football so much. Although it was during this decade that Sir Alex Ferguson became the coach of the Red Devils which changed the history of the team forever. With the creation of the Premier League, in 1992, it was the turn of Manchester United to have its golden age. They won 13 titles of English football and 3 Champions League. Although Liverpool did have a joy that could rub his rival, by defeating Milan in the final of the Champions League in 2005, for many experts, some of the most dramatic finals in history.
This classic promises a lot, Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool playing at a high level and fans are starting to get excited about the possibility of lifting the first Premier League title. For their part, Manchester United has suffered at the beginning of this campaign, but the presence of Jose Mourinho always generates expectation, so next Monday in Anfield we expect a match that nobody can miss.
March 23, 2018: Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt trained at Borussia Dortmund’s training ground wearing the famous black and gold jersey of Dortmund alongside first team members Mario Goetze and Marco Reus in an open training session. Unlike his training with the team a day before on Thursday, which was held behind closed doors, Friday’s session was attended by around 1500 supporters and 200 journalists who cheered Bolt on as he netted in two goals and nutmegged a youngster from the club’s academy.
The open training was live streamed by the Bundesliga club and was watched by 1.2 million people alone in China. Earlier this year, Borussia Dortmund had agreed to let Bolt train with the first team in a two-day trial as the two share Puma as their official sponsor.
The 31-year-old has long expressed a desire to play top-flight football. He joined the training session at Dortmund after playing in an all-star five a side friendly where he featured alongside the likes of Hernan Crespo and Diego Maradona and was coached by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
After the training session, Bolt posed with the players and approached fans to sign autographs. “I think overall I will give myself probably a seven out of ten,” He said to reporters, “I wanted to play my best. I wanted to move and give the guys options and I tried my best. I’m really trying to make it professionally, so I have to play at a high level.”
Questions were asked about his plans for the future after he retired from a glorious sprint career in August last year.
“I’ve talked to the club and told them I’m really serious about this so they said I should come back for a longer period and do some more training, then they can assess me and tell me what level I can play at. So I’m looking forward to that and that’s my focus right now.”
“Hopefully the team welcome me in the near future,” Bolt explained. I’d like to continue training with them, getting more experience, getting better and hopefully signing. You never know.”
Bolt announced recently on social media that he is to take part in a Soccer Aid for UNICEF football match at Old Trafford later this year on 10 June that will mark his first official match as a football player.
While it may still be unclear as to how Bolt’s footballing career is going to fare, what is clear is that the Jamaican sprint star is still hungry to achieve new milestones in the world of sports.