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Recent Match Report – Australia vs England, World Cup, 2nd Semi-final

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England (Roy 85) beat Australia 223 (Smith 85, Woakes 3-20) by eight wickets

How does that old song go again? Thirty years of hurt? Make that 44 and counting (and contrary to the lyrics, England’s cricketers certainly gave up dreaming for at least 20 of those). But suddenly it’s all up for grabs. On home soil, with the wind behind their backs and the fates screaming in their favour. Is it coming home this time? If you don’t believe it now, you truly never will.

One thing is for sure. New Zealand await in the World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday, where for the first time since Sri Lanka at Lahore in 1996, a brand-new team is sure to be crowned as champions. But after the jitters and the wobbles, the niggles and the doubts, today was the day when England banished the angst and restored the roar that had carried the side to the top of the world ODI rankings.

Put simply, Australia are not meant to suffer beatings this comprehensive in World Cup knock-out matches. They had not lost any of their previous seven visits to the semi-finals, and yet a massive 107 deliveries still remained when victory, fittingly, was sealed with a swipe over long-on from England’s captain, Eoin Morgan, the man in whose image this team has been remoulded since the misery of 2015.

After adapting their gung-ho attitudes to haul themselves into the last four, this was a throwback performance of precisely the right genre from England, on a day that had dawned fraught with the sort of anticipation not truly witnessed in an England v Australia contest since that seismic Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005. Then as now, England knew they had their opponents’ measure after a generation of subjugation, but the weight of history isn’t something that can be cast off at a whim.

Or so we might have assumed. Instead, England tapped into the same mindset that had crushed Australia 5-0 in their bilateral series a mere 12 months ago, and produced a performance that had far more in common with that 481-run pasting at Trent Bridge than the rather timid, confused surrender at Lord’s a fortnight ago that had left their tournament in such jeopardy.

Ferocity was England’s watchword from the outset, and with ball and bat alike. Not even the loss of an apparently crucial toss could unhinge them, as Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer contrived in the space of 16 balls to blow away Australia’s totemic openers, Aaron Finch and David Warner, before Adil Rashid produced the spell of his tournament to undermine a doughty fightback from Steve Smith and Alex Carey, who batted on gamely after a savage blow to the chin from Archer had left him bleeding profusely and requiring stitches.

And thereafter it was over to Jason Roy – the man of England’s tournament, whatever the final may bring – who climbed into a sub-par target of 224 with a hugely intelligent blend of caution and mounting arrogance. He and Jonny Bairstow displayed the wisdom gleaned from earlier tournament hiccups to see off a briefly threatening Mitchell Starc, but retained the right to flog allcomers with impunity wherever their lines strayed from the straight and narrow.

At the end of the Powerplay, England were 50 for 0 and cruising, and Roy began to turn on the afterburners. Nathan Lyon, a scourge of English batsman in Ashes battles gone by, was pumped for six first-ball as he entered the fray for the 11th over. And when Australia, in desperation, tossed the ball to Smith in a bid for any sort of a breakthrough, Roy responded with three consecutive sixes – the third of which, into the fourth tier of the new stand, was surely the largest on this ground since Andrew Flintoff’s iconic smoking of Brett Lee into what was then a building site during that 2005 Test.

Only accident or injury seemed capable of dampening England’s day, and both did briefly flare up – first when Bairstow had to receive treatment after tweaking his groin while turning for a second run. He was never quite as fluent again before falling lbw to Starc for 34 – a dismissal which, in using up England’s review, had a major bearing on the second flashpoint of England’s chase.

On 85, Roy climbed into a pull at a bouncer from Starc – and was left utterly bewildered as umpire Kumar Dharmasena first began to single a wide, but then rather apologetically raised his finger, seemingly swayed at the last second by the vehemence of Australia’s appeals. Roy signalled for the review, was reminded he had none left, and then launched into an apoplectic rant that betrayed the enormity of the task still at hand.

Full report to follow



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BCCI invites fresh applications for India team’s support staff

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The BCCI has called for applications for the entire roster of support staff for the India senior men’s cricket team, which ended its World Cup 2019 campaign with a semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

The contracts of the coaching staff, led by head coach Ravi Shastri, run up to the end of the World Cup. The BCCI subsequently extended the contracts by 45 days to include India’s tour of the West Indies, which starts on August 3 with the first of three T20Is. Three ODIs will follow the T20Is, with two Tests – part of the World Test Championship cycle – to come after the limited-overs matches.

The applications have been called for the positions of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach, and administrative manager, with the deadline being 5pm on July 30.

The BCCI said that the current coaching staff of the team would get “automatic entry in the recruitment process”, but it’s unclear as yet if Shastri, Sanjay Bangar (assistant and batting coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach), R Sridhar (fielding coach), and Sunil Subramaniam (team manager) are going to re-apply for their positions or not.

Physiotherapist Patrick Farhart and strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu have both opted not to renew their contracts, and ended their association with the Indian team after the World Cup.

For the position of the head coach, who should be below 60 years of age, the BCCI wants the candidates who apply to have a BCCI Level 3 qualification. Failing that, the person should have played at least 30 Tests or 50 ODIs.

The support staff – with the exception of the team manager – have all had long stints with the team. While Shastri, Bangar, Arun and Sridhar all joined the team in mid-2014 for the limited-overs leg of the tour of England after a heavy loss in the Test series, Farhart and Basu had been part of the set-up since July 2015. Shastri, originally brought in as team director, was not part of the support staff for a year between mid-2016 to 2017, when Anil Kumble was in charge – and neither was Arun – but returned as head coach after that.

The BCCI’s elections are scheduled for October 22, which will also mean the exit of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators, and CoA chairman Vinod Rai had clarified earlier that until the elections were held, the body would continue to monitor and authorise cricketing operations, including matters related to the appointment or renewal of coaching staff.



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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Northamptonshire, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings

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Derbyshire 146 (Hudson-Prentice 55, Sanderson 5-46) and 155 for 5 need a further 164 runs to beat Northamptonshire 342 and 122 (Palladino 4-33) by 308 runs

An astonishing day on which 24 wickets fell ended with Northamptonshire closing in on victory against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

After Ben Sanderson took 5 for 46 to bowl Derbyshire out for 146 with Fynn Hudson-Prentice unbeaten on 55, Tony Palladino claimed 4 for 33 as Northants were shot out for 122. That left Derbyshire chasing 319 for victory but by the close, they were 155 for 5, still 164 runs short of the target.

A pitch offering spin and variable bounce was certainly demanding to bat on but lack of foot movement and poor shot selection accounted for the majority of the wickets.

The carnage began when Wayne Madsen played across the line to give Sanderson his first victim and the rest of the day became a procession as wickets tumbled to a rash of poor strokes. Tom Lace and Leus du Plooy paid the price for failing to get forward as Derbyshire slipped to 60 for 6 before Hudson-Prentice took 22 from a Rob Keogh over.

Matt Coles struck with his third delivery by trapping Matt Critchley on the crease but Hudson-Prentice reached 50 before Keogh wrapped up the innings giving Northants a lead of 196.

They chose not to enforce the follow-on but instead of an afternoon of accumulation, Northants moved into T20 mode and were bowled out in a chaotic session on a pitch which had clearly put doubts in the minds of the batsmen.

Ricardo Vasconcelos was run out attempting a second to deep square leg and after Luke Proctor offered no shot to Hudson-Prentice, Palladino profited from inadequate technique and ill-judged shots.

Keogh played across the line, Adam Rossington drove wildly at his first ball and although Temba Bavuma and Josh Cobb briefly threatened to restore order, more frantic shot selection sent the innings into terminal decline.

Cobb drove Critchley to long off and Bavuma fell victim to the mood of recklessness when he skied Palladino to point. Hamidullah Qadri beat Coles’s charge and less than 31 overs had been bowled when Saif Zaib holed out to leave Derbyshire facing the highest successful run chase at Queen’s Park.

They clearly decided to approach it in a positive way as Billy Godleman and Luis Reece came out swinging in the late afternoon sunshine. Godleman repeatedly charged the opening bowlers before he was stumped for 25 off Sanderson in the fifth over and Madsen lost his middle stump trying to work Coles through midwicket.

Reece was lbw playing back to Keogh and Luke Proctor struck twice in his first over to leave Northants favourites to wrap up victory on Tuesday.



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World Cup final viewing figures compete with 2005 Ashes after free-to-air return

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Sunday’s World Cup final, the first England international on free-to-air UK television since the 2005 Ashes, attracted a peak viewership of 8.3 million.

The game was simulcast on several channels: Sky showed it on Sky One, Main Event, and their Cricket channel, while Channel 4 split their coverage between their main channel and More 4 during the British Grand Prix.

The peak audience was only marginally below that recorded during the 2005 Ashes, when 8.4 million people watched the culmination of England’s win at Trent Bridge on Channel 4. By contrast, the first Test of the 2015 Ashes, shown only on Sky, attracted a peak viewership of 467,000.

The World Cup final had to compete for attention with the men’s singles final at Wimbledon between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, as well as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Cricket will return to free-to-air TV in the UK from next summer, after the BBC agreed a deal in 2017 to show ten men’s and eight women’s matches from The Hundred per year, as well as two men’s T20Is and one women’s T20I.

Liam Plunkett, the fast bowler who took three wickets in England’s win, had previously voiced support for the final to be broadcast free-to-air.

“Playing for England, you’re the pride of the country and you want people to be able to access that and watch that,” he said after the group stage win against New Zealand. “I’m not sure it’s going to happen but for the guys, you want as many people to watch it as possible.”

Sunday’s final was a sell-out, with unofficial resale platforms offering tickets priced at several thousand pounds. As well as the millions watching on TV, thousands of fans gathered in the fanzone in Trafalgar Square, first to watch and then to celebrate England’s win.

There was widespread support for Sky’s decision to allow the game to be shown on free-to-air TV, a move that the ECB encouraged but did not demand. But Ashley Giles, the director of cricket for England’s men’s teams, suggested that England might not have been able to win the World Cup without Sky’s investment.

When asked by BBC Radio 4 if it would have been impossible, Giles said: “Quite possibly, yes. The investment in the game from grassroots to professional has allowed us to do what we’ve done.

“Sky took the game on and have been fantastic supporters since. Thank you to them for allowing it on Channel 4.”

Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon said it was “wonderful that the whole nation can come together to share these momentous British sporting events”.



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