What you missed this weekend: 8/16-8/18

It’s only a matter of a few weeks before the NFL and NBA get underway as Europe’s La Liga and English Premier League have already started. We still have some pre-season domestic news though along with some UFC and MLB action and the Ashes between England and Australia witnessed a thrilling second test of cricket. 

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215-365 Today at the Ashes Test Match by John Garghan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

GOLF: BMW Championship

Tiger Woods’ season has come to a disappointing end. After 18 holes, Woods shot even-par 72, which was seven-under overall, and unfortunately, he doesn’t qualify for the next round.

UFC-241: Stipe Miocic

After just a little over four minutes into round four, Stipe Miocic won back his heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier. Although Cormier had 73 more strikes than his counterpart, all it took was just one knockout for Miocic to win his beloved prize. This is the fourth time a champion ended up losing in Anaheim.

NFL: 

Injury news

Los Angles Chargers have lost Derwin James for three to four months due to foot surgery. New Jersey Jets LB Avery Williams tore his ACL in a practice game against the Atlanta Falcons and will probably miss the whole season. The Arizona Cardinals starting cornerback, Robert Alford, broke his tibia bone and will have to sit out for half of the season. The Baltimore Ravens will have to do without Taven Young, who will miss the season due to a neck injury.

Josh McCown

The former Jets quarterback has done a U-turn on his decision to retire and has signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has signed just a one-year deal with the Eagles.

LA Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys had the edge against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday night in Hawaii, winning 14-10. Devin Smith and Tony Pollard both reached the endzone for Dallas while only JoJo Natson Jr. was able to convert for the Rams.

MLB: 

Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres makes his name with the New York Yankees by becoming the second-highest Home Run scorer in a season with the Yankees. He scored his 29th Home Run right before turning 23 years of age.

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols brought light to his name by becoming the player born outside of the United States with the most hits. The Dominican-born player went to 3,168 hits on Saturday night for the Los Angeles Angels against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Soccer: 

Barcelona

Barcelona was welcomed to a shocking start in La Liga by losing 1-0 to Atletic Bilbao. The hero was Aritz Adruiz who scored in the 89th minute.

Cricket: 

The Ashes

Despite Steve Smith scoring 92(161), Australia ended up trailing England by 8 runs at the end of the first innings, being bowled out for 250. To Australia’s dismay, Smith was retired out first due to a concussion after being hit in the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer. When he returned to bat, Chris Woakes caught him LBW after Smith mistakably left the ball. The second innings didn’t start well for England, especially when skipper Joe Root was caught behind the first ball but England found a hero at Lord’s once again in Ben Stokes, who scored his seventh test match century.

Australia needed 267 runs to win in just a few hours, so a draw was the most likely outcome, but for a good amount of time, the England bowlers excellently created doubt in the Australian batting ability. David Warner and Usman Khawaja were both dismissed caught off of Archer’s bowling, but substitute Marcus Labuschagne bravely got to 59 before being controversially being caught out by Joe Root at square leg. In the final hour, England needed four wickets to win and Australia wasn’t in reach of victory, but the likes of Archer, Joe Denly and Jack Leach were unable to find the wickets and the match was declared a draw.

Australia currently leads the five-match series 0-1 after two tests.

What you may have missed this weekend: 08/01 -08/04

Before we get into what all we missed this weekend, I just want to say welcome back football. It’s been too long and yet still too far.

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-Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed for Public Domain

This weekend had a lot of cheerful moments like the Hall of Fame game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos. It was the start of the Hall of Fame weekend that welcomed in the Class of 2019. But let’s see what else we missed this weekend with more NFL news. There’s even news about the NBA and MLB along with a big weekend in Soccer and Cricket by Aman.

NFL:

Hall of Fame Game:

This is an extra preseason game for the two teams involved and it’s all about the Hall of Famers that get inducted the Saturday after. On Thursday, we got our first look at the 2019 NFL season as the Atlanta Falcons give up a touchdown to the Denver Broncos and loss 14-10. Of course, all the big name players weren’t playing in the game, but it was still a pretty good watch.

Hall of Fame Ceremony:

The Hall of Fame Ceremony was the better watch for the NFL. We got to see some of the best players and contributors become Hall of Famers in Canton, Ohio. Players like Chiefs’ safety Johnny Robinson, tight end Tony Gonzalez, Broncos’ corner back Champ Bailey and owner Pat Bowlen, Ravens’ safety Ed Reed, Patriots’ corner back Ty Law, Jets’ center Kevin Mawae, and Cowboys’ contributor Gil Brandt.

Chargers’ Gordon wants out:

In other NFL news, Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon likely wants out. With him currently holding out, there’s been a lot of rumors of a possible trade for Gordon. No team has emerged in talks yet, but let’s keep our eyes and ears open as we get closer to the opening weekend.

Brady gets Extension:

The six time Super Bowl winning champion doesn’t plan on going anywhere any time soon as he and the New England Patriots finalize a contract extension. It’s a two-year extension that will keep Brady under contract through the 2021 season and will get paid $23 million this year, a $8 million increase which makes Brady the sixth-highest-paid QB in the league. It looks like 2019 Draft pick, Jarrett Stidham, will have a few more years to learn behind the “G.O.A.T.”

NBA:

“Melo” times in the NBA:

There hasn’t been much news on the NBA now that the free agency period has been “melo” lately. The only real question is if Carmelo Anthony will play for an NBA team this season? He opens up about his few games with Houston, but says that he is ready for the bigger task at hand. Melo has been a great shooter all throughout his career, but still no defense. But can he stay on a team’s bench?

Christmas schedule released:

We have also been given the five Christmas Day games that we’ll be watching while we eat some of Mama’s delicious pies.

These are the games, but the times are not given yet.

  1. Zion Williamson’s takes his chance at guarding Nikola Jokic as the New Orleans Pelicans face the Denver Nuggets.
  2. There’s also the classic Eastern Conference showdowns between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks. How will Giannis Antetokounmpo do against both Al Horford and Joel Embiid?
  3. The other Eastern Conference game is the reigning champions, Toronto Raptors against the new look Boston Celtics with the likes of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.
  4. Then there’s the two guys that haven’t been able to beat the Warriors in the playoffs in the past five years teaming up with hopes of doing it again. Those two guys are James Harden and Russell Westbrook as they look to carry the Houston Rockets to a nice win over Steph Curry and the Warriors.
  5. Then there’s the game everyone wants to see: Lakers-Clippers 2.0. After their opening night game, we’ll have to wait until Christmas to see it again and seeing how each roster is, this will be a great game to watch.

Opening Day roster:

We will also see the battle of Los Angeles on Oct. 22 as LeBron James and the Lakers take on Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. That will be the second of a back-to-back as we get our first real look at the No. 1 overall pick. Zion Williamson (No. 1) will take his New Orleans Pelicans north to take on the defending NBA champions, Toronto Raptors.

MLB:

The biggest news in the MLB this weekend was the Trade deadline. Of course, most of these were done before the weekend, but all of them are taking place and being finalized. So let’s see some of the players who got trade and where.
  • Houston Astros traded five minor leagues players to the Arizona Diamondbacks for P Zack Greinke
  • Astros also traded OF Derek Fisher (NOT the Basketball star) to the Toronto Blue Jays for P Joe Biagini, P Aaron Sanchez, and minor league OF Cal Stevenson
  • The Milwaukee Brewers traded minor league infielder to the San Francisco Giants for a pair of pitchers, Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black.
  • The Minnesota Twins continue to surprise us with a good season and they trade minor leagues to San Francisco for P Sam Dyson.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers look to add insurance with the asquistion of infielder Jedd Gyorko from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals get P Tony Cingrani and minor league P Jeffry Abreu
  • The Philadelphia Phillies get OF Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • The Cincinnati Reds received a minor league OF from the Oakland Athletics in the Tanner Roark. Roark was the top starting pitcher traded on deadline day.
  • Chicago Cubs receive OF Nicholas Castellanos and cash from the Detroit Tigers who get a pair of minor league pitchers.
  • The Atlanta Braves boosted their bullpen in two different trades. They get pitcher Shane Greene from Detroit and Mark Melancon from San Francisco. They traded a pair of minor leaguers and and P Dan Winkler.
  • The biggest trade was between the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds that included the San Diego Padres. The trade was big for the Indians who traded P Trevor Bauer to the Reds. The Indians received OF Yasiel Puig and minor league pitcher from the Reds. They also received OF Franmil Reyes, P Logan Allen, and minor league infielder from the Padres. The Padres would receive minor league outfielder from the Reds.

Soccer: (Aman)

MLS All-Stars unable to stand up to Atlético Madrid:

Atlético Madrid are famed for their defensive strength and it was exactly that which won them their preseason match against the MLS All-Stars in Orlando. Along with keeping a clean sheet, Atlético Madrid also managed to score thrice, all with just 41 percent possession.
However, in that 41 percent, Atlético Madrid outshot the MLS All-Stars 8-19, with the three goals coming from Marcos Llorente towards the end of the first half, new signing João Félix in the 85th minute and Diego Costa adding salt to the wounds in the 93rd minute.

Bad day for LA Galaxy:

After a bad loss to LAFC, most did not expect Atlanta United to even be able to compete with LA Galaxy. But things did not necessarily go to plan. Atlanta went up 2-0 in the first half but they didn’t score either of the two goals.
An unfortunate occurrence of two own goals from David Romney and Giancarlo González 20 minutes apart set the win for the home side. Atlanta then made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute when Josef Martínez converted yet another penalty.

Dortmund shock Bayern Munich to win DFL Supercup:

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund usually play in the DFL Supercup and Bayern Munich usually win. But this time, Jadon Sancho had a show to put on. Dortmund shockingly beat the giants 2-0 thanks to goals from Paco Alcácer in the 48th minute and Sancho in the 69th. Sancho had put on such a performance, Alex Witself said later on that “Even Bayern were scared of Sancho!”

Messi handed three-month international football ban by CONMEBOL:

After Argentina controversially lost to Brazil in the Copa América Semi-finals, Lionel Messi didn’t hesitate and claiming CONMEBOL officials were guilty of corruption after a crucial referee decision against Argentina wasn’t reviewed.
CONMEBOL have since responded by banning Messi for playing for Argentina for three months, but this, amongst other things prove Messi was not wrong. Along with the corruption cases against FIFA, the President of the Argentina Fútbol Asociación Luis Segura was charged with fraud.

Philadelphia regains No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference:

To wrap up a weekend full of Soccer news, we have to take a look at the Eastern Conference standings in MLS. Going into their match on Sunday, Philadelphia Union was tied for 1st with Atlanta United FC at 39 points. The Unions opponents, DC United, were sitting at 4th with 36 and were looking for their chance to be the top team. With a win, DC United would’ve been in a three-way tie for 1st. However, Philadelphia Union didn’t let that happen as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over Wayne Rooney and DC United. There’s still plenty of games left and we could see more movement amongst the top four teams in the East.

Cricket:

Steve Smith silences England:

The first Ashes test at the Edgbaston, Birmingham has been highlighted by one player: Steve Smith. In his first test for Australia in 16 months, Smith scored 144(219), helping Australia from 122-8 to a respectable total of 284.
He first had an 88-run partnership with Peter Siddle, who scored 44(85) himself, and then the 10th-wicket partnership lasted 74 runs with Nathan Lyon, who scored 12(26)*. The loss of Jimmy Anderson due to injury made bowling difficult for England, but Stuart Broad passed the 450 mark in his five-for by bowling Smith.
In the next innings, England found a hero as well in the name of the opener Rory Burns. When Jason Roy’s dismissal reinstated doubts around England’s opening batsmen, Burns batted till Day 3, scoring 133(312), being dismissed caught behind. The skipper Joe Root and in-form Ben Stokes also provided half-centuries, but the biggest frustration for Australia was the ninth-wicket partnership between Stuart Broad, 29(67), and Chris Woakes, 37(95)*, which lasted 65 runs and 24.1 overs.

In the next innings, England found a hero as well in the name of the opener Rory Burns. When Jason Roy’s dismissal reinstated doubts around England’s opening batsmen, Burns batted till Day 3, scoring 133(312), being dismissed caught behind. The skipper Joe Root and in-form Ben Stokes also provided half-centuries, but the biggest frustration for Australia was the ninth-wicket partnership between Stuart Broad, 29(67), and Chris Woakes, 37(95)*, which lasted 65 runs and 24.1 overs.

England had a considerable lead of 90 runs, but Smith wasn’t done talking. Smith completed a rare Ashes twin century, scoring 142(207) this time. Multiple, lengthy partnerships seemed to kill England’s spirit as Australia batted on. First, a 48-run stand with Usman Khawaja, in which Khawaja scored 40 off just 48. Then, the Vice Captain, Travis Head got to his fifty from 116 deliveries as his partnership with Smith was worth 130 runs.
Things got even worse for England when Matthew Wade stepped up to the crease as Smith wasn’t the only one to score a century. Smith and Wade batted together for 126 runs and Wade went on to score 110(143), before being caught at fine leg by Joe Denly.
Some lower order power proved deadly for England as quick runs came from the skipper Tim Paine 34(44), James Pattinson 47(48) and Pat Cummins 26(33), setting England a target of 398.

To: The Ashes

Edgebaston Cricket Ground,

Birmingham, England, U.K.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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Howzat – The Ashes Trent Bridge 2015 by Airwolfhound is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Dear cricket,

What reason do I have to constantly have faith in the beauty of this game? What is it about a leather ball being hit by a wooden bat which I love so much? Or is there more to this game of cricket?

Do you know how strong my love for this game is? And not just me, but for nearly every fan who fills his or her leisure time by involving themselves in this sport? Be it from playing to watching to talking about it, is it possible to ever stop loving cricket?

Love for cricket is universal with people from all walks of life able to find a passion for it, be it an old taxi driver in the Carribean, an English father or a poor child in Pakistan. It was this passion which also started a war in cricket, a war which has lasted since the 1880s.

From this war came ashes. Not the ashes of soldiers or gunfire. The ashes of passion. The Ashes. When the stumps at The Oval Cricket Ground in London were burned after Australia beat England on English soil for the first time, ashes were burnt, a newspaper reported “The Death of English Cricket” and war was born.

But after winter comes spring and spirits are reborn. Since “The Death of English Cricket”, every two years The Ashes take place, marking the summit of the cricketing calendar. I’m a Pakistani teenager who has nothing to do with either England or Australia, but what can I do? The Ashes is like a gem to behold, whom anyone would give anything to see at least once in their life. When England take on Australia, it’s as if the rest of the cricketing world disappears from the face of the Earth.

Despite not being English or Aussie, The Ashes have provided moments throughout history which just simply can’t be replicated. And the excitement never dies or ages. Be it in the early 20th century when Sir Donald Bradman walked out to bat for the last time at The Oval and was dismissed LBW for duck or in 2009 when Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson batted 11 overs to force a draw.

The Ashes is why I love cricket. Five test matches, five battles, one everlasting war. Will Australia recover and retain the Ashes or will England find success on their home soil and send the Aussie soldiers back home with their heads bowed? I’ve asked a lot of questions in this letter, but you know what? Ignore them. All of them. Just allow us cricket fans to enjoy and love cricket at it’s best. Allow this flame to burn forever, turning our hearts to ashes.

Love, no one special.

Winners and Losers: England vs. Ireland Day 1

It’s been a long wait for fans of test cricket due to the World Cup (congratulations to England for winning it), but the white kits and red ball returned to Lord’s Cricket Ground in London with a four-day fixture between England and Ireland. And Day 1 did not disappoint. Well, that is if you’re not English. In Ireland’s third-ever test and Lord’s debut, things couldn’t have gone more perfectly. 

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Cricket Ireland flag by Sannita is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

After losing the toss, Ireland bowled England out for just 85, at the same ground in which England had won the World Cup ten days ago! The hero of the day was fast bowler Tim Murtagh who took five wickets in nine overs at his home ground. After lunch, Ireland scored 207, giving themselves a lead of 122 runs and giving England one over to bat again. Along with Murtagh, let’s see who else won the hearts of the Irish on Day 1 and who disappointed the hopes of the English.

Winner: Tim Murtagh

At this point, I’m pretty sure Ireland’s team meeting went something like this: “Hand the ball to Tim, hope for the best.” Well, his day couldn’t be any brighter than the smile on his face after walking off the field during the first innings break. Murtagh took five wickets from just nine overs, placing his name on the Honors’ Board.

His first victim was debutant Jason Roy who played the swinging ball too early, edging it to Paul Stirling in slip. The second opener Rory Burns fell in a similar fashion, being caught behind, just like Moeen Ali later. Wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow was bowled on duck and Chris Woakes was caught LBW for not as well.

But Murtagh wasn’t done for the day as he played a cameo with the bat as well. Scoring 16(10), Murtagh was responsible for hitting Stuart Broad for three boundaries within one over! Surely at this point, Murtagh has secured the Man of the Match award.

Loser: Jason Roy

After a splendid World Cup performance, Roy was poised to be the solution to England’s opening options, but it seems no one can replace Sir Alastair Cook. Roy turned out to be quite the opposite, playing Ireland’s swinging deliveries to early rather than waiting and the price he paid was departing for just 5(11).

Loser: Joe Root

Body language says a lot and the captain’s body language perhaps speaks the loudest (the only person who defies this rule would be Pakistan’s captain Sarfaraz Ahmed). Throughout the day, it seemed as if Joe Root stopped caring due to frustration. First, Root was caught LBW on 2(7) by Mark Adair then he went on to drop two catches in the slips in Ireland’s innings.

Loser: Jonny Bairstow

Bairstow’s innings was chaotic from the start. In his one over at the crease, he was probably confronted by the umpires as many times as he faced deliveries for impeding on the protected zone of the pitch. On one delivery, Bairstow withdrew from the crease right before the bowler’s release, and that ball ended up clipping off-stump. But Bairstow’s stay was short anyway after he was bowled by Murtagh himself.

Winner: Andrew Balbirnie

Ireland batted well after they bowled spectacular. After a decent opening partnership, Andrew Balbirnie came in and got his second test fifty with 55(69), comprising of 40 runs in fours. Along with Stirling, the two put together an 87-run partnership from just 89 deliveries, giving Ireland the lead.

Winner: Ollie Stone

Yes, there actually was one good performance from the England side. After his four fours took Stone to 19(18), Stone did his job with the ball by picking up three wickets at 9.66 apiece from 12 overs. His first wicket was a masterpiece, removing Balbirnie’s middle stump out of the ground. He then followed up by getting Gary Wilson caught in the slips for duck and closed off with finding the wicket of Murtagh, caught at deep mid-wicket by Burns.

A Day of Cricket

“Hey bro, you down for cricket today?” I asked my best friend.

“Right after school?” He turns around to face me and answers back, eyebrows aware.

“Alright, perfect,” I respond with a smile, heading to my first class of the day.

It was seven A.M., just fifteen minutes prior to class, but throughout the day, it had already been deemed that my mind was to be on the cricket field. 

The cricket field we played at was a rather peculiar one. It was just a large area of grass enclosed by apartments on three sides and a parking lot right behind the batting end (therefore, meaning no runs to be scored behind). 

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Poor in quality but quality in memory. The Hill Cricket Ground used to host after-school test matches with my friends and me.

There is another unique feature of this ground which isn’t clear by the picture. The left side of the ground was much higher than the right. Hence the name Hill Cricket Ground (Or The Hill, we would say for short). The pitch was made on the highest part of the left side of the field, meaning no off-side boundary either.

We would play, sometimes just four of us in a 2v2 game, sometimes on a good day, ten of us in a 5v5 game, after school ’till sunset. After some time, it seemed that a crowd just as diverse as us players, some Pakistani, some Indians, Bengalis, Mexicans, Americans, enjoyed watching us from their balconies (either that or they weren’t allowed to smoke cigarettes in their homes).

Despite shorter boundaries and the pitch being elevated above the boundaries, it wasn’t as easy to bat here as one would think. The uneven grass made the ball move early on in the innings and assist spinners, later on, making batting a real scary task. This lead to some interesting results. I can remember on multiple occasions teams being bowled out for under 20. But I can also remember the more courageous and brave batting innings which the ground has provided.

If a batsman can manage to see out the new ball, scoring, later on, becomes much easier here and it’s the bowlers who end up having to worry. I still remember very vividly, scoring a half-century from 163 deliveries, perhaps making the scorer more tired than myself. Deciding not to open in another game, coming in later after the ball moved around less made batting a bit easier. My only ever century was a result of that game, that too coming in no time from just 86 deliveries (Ben Stokes, anyone?).

However, perhaps my favorite ever match here came late in March one year, when our team won by a very close and nerve-wracking margin of just 25 runs (a fairly small margin in test cricket).

We were sent in to bat first by the opponent and it seemed early on we were going to struggle. After losing two early wickets, we defensively kept the wickets steady and by the end of the day’s nearly 40 overs (we’re high schoolers who have assignments, so 90 overs was improbable), our side managed to be steady at 130-3.

The next day, after completing my half-century, I decided to declare at 166-4, hoping to bowl out the opponent within the 30-or-so overs left in the day. And exactly that happened. The pitch was spinning too much and they made a mere 40-or-so runs. By the end of Day 3, we would’ve thought the match was in our hands, especially when we put up 88-2dec., setting a target of 255 with just a little over a day left.

Early into Day 5, the match was exactly how we wanted it. They were down 40-3, still needed 215 with just two batsmen left. But when their captain had grabbed the bat and came to the crease, everything was to change. Although in person, he was quite the comedian, this was one game he didn’t take as a joke. With a gritty and determined half-century, they shockingly passed the 200-mark, setting up a 100+-run partnership. Now the tables had truly turned and we needed some magic if we were to win this game. And then I saw the moment.

At 225-3, the captain mistimed a defensive block against one of my deliveries, sending the ball straight up in the air. Despite how tired I was trying to get this wicket for the past few hours, this wicket would’ve been too valuable for me to neglect. I quickly ran to my left and seized the catch, as if nothing else had mattered in this world.

With 30 more runs to win with one wicket left, the sun setting, all three results were possible. At this point, although I’d prefer to have won, I would’ve accepted a draw after the innings I had just witnessed. But when the next batsman hit the ball down to fine leg for four, fears of losing were re-ignited.

The next ball was a single, 25 runs left to win. I’m sure the batsman knew as well that the sun was setting and a draw seemed imminent. The bowler bowled a full-length ball on middle-stump and feeling confident, the batsman-on-strike went for six but I came underneath the ball, praying I could manage this catch. And the next thing I remember, I heard the bowler celebrate and saw the batsman fall on his knees, failing to comprehend how they could’ve lost.

It’s been two years since I’ve last played at The Hill, but the memories are alive as if I am still in the moment. Everything so simple, yet perfect. Cricket being the most unforgiving yet giving game.

What you may have missed this weekend: 7/12-7/14

Just like how there were three finals last weekend, there were three more this weekend, two of which were extremely close, breath-taking encounters. We’ll start off with the closing of Wimbledon in which both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals took place as Simona Halep took on history seeking Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic fighting against Roger Federer in London. Also in London on the same day was the Cricket World Cup Finals, where both England and New Zealand were looking for their maiden World Cup titles. We’ll also cover a special night for the Los Angeles Angels in the MLB after they played the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. 

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Novak Djokovic by Kate Tann is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Wimbledon

Halep prevents Williams from making history:

Williams was on the verge of a record 24th Grand Slam title but it seems she will have to wait even longer. Unfortunately, it felt as if Williams was unable to compete against Halep as both sets ended 6-2. Halep smartly played risk-free tennis and out-forced errors for Williams 26-3 on her way to being handed the Wimbledon title by Princess Megan Markel.

Djokovic holds off Federer till final tie-breaker:

Three of the five sets in the final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were decided by tie-breakers but by the end of the second set, it seemed that Djokovic was no match for Federer. After Djokovic won the first set 7-5 on tie-breakers, Federer smashed his opponent 6-1 in the next set. The third set went to a tie-breaker yet again with Djokovic edging out his opponent 7-4. Federer then again won the fourth set comfortably again, this time 6-4. All the action was yet to come in the fifth set. After the two tied 12 all on rounds, Djokovic won on tie-breakers 7-3.

Cricket

England wins first World Cup title at home:

After losing three World Cup finals, England won the 2019 Cricket World Cup in perhaps the greatest One-Day International match in history. After England’s fast bowlers restricted New Zealand to 241-8 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, New Zealand bowled out England for 241 as well, forcing a super over to decide the winner.

In the first innings, Martin Guptill was rather unsuccessful with the bat again, scoring 18(19), but his partner, Henry Nicholls, went off to score 55(77). Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett were the picks of the bowlers with three wickets each. England was in trouble in the second innings, being at 86-4 until Ben Stokes came out to bat. Stokes and Jos Buttler held a 110-run partnership before Buttler was dismissed and England was bowled out for 241, Stokes being left on 84(98)*.

Stokes’ innings did not come without controversy though. After completing a single, a throw from Guptill was deflected off of Stokes’ bat and went for four. The umpire awarded six runs in total when in reality it was worth five, meaning England technically would’ve lost by one run. Stokes later said in a press conference that he would “Be apologizing for the overthrow for the rest of my life,” and that the deflection “was completely unintentional.”

England batted first in the super over. Buttler and Stokes both found the boundary and England set New Zealand a target of 16. After Jimmy Neesham hit a six, New Zealand needed two runs off the last ball with Guptill on strike. The two completed a single but Guptill was run out coming for the second, devastating the country of New Zealand and handing the win to England on boundary count, 26-17.

Stokes was named Man of the Match and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was named Player of the Tournament. The tournament’s best batsman was India’s Rohit Sharma with his five centuries and his 648 runs and the tournament’s highest wicket-taker is Australia’s Mitchell Starc with 27 wickets.

MLB

Angels dedicate win over Mariners to Tyler Skaggs:

After Tyler Skaggs passed away, the Los Angeles Angels threw a no-hitter game as the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 13-0. After Skaggs’ mother threw the first pitch, the Angels scored seven in the first three innings. There were also some other interesting connections to Skaggs as CBS Sports explains in this Instagram post that night. Our thoughts and prayers are present to Skaggs’ family, team and friends from us at Fourth Quarter Sports.

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What you missed this weekend: 6/21-6/23

Another week in this summer has flown by really quickly and with that, another weekend! Although domestically, there wasn’t much action on the field, the NBA and NHL leagues had their drafts for the next season. The MLB, a summer tradition, of course still continues and the US is currently involved in the Women’s FIFA World Cup and the Gold Cup. Speaking of the Americas, the group stages of the Copa America have nearly been concluded and some teams are either making their exits or pushing for a Semi-final spot in the Cricket World Cup as well. Let’s start off with some historic draft picks, first with the NBA.

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IMG_4921 by Dinur is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

NBA Draft

Bol drafted surprisingly low:

Oregon player Bol Bol was expected to be one of the top picks but didn’t get drafted until Miami Heat picked him up as the 44th overall. Concerns about his injuries were likely the key reason. He did miss the rest of the last season after November following an ankle injury, but Bol himself says, “My foot is 100 percent healed.” Following the pick, Bol was traded to the Denver Nuggets, who have a different approach, a more positive one, to the Bol situation. Tim Connelly, the President of Basketball Operations at the Denver Nuggets said, “It’s hard not to be excited,” when referring to Bol.

Timberwolves exchange Saric for number six pick:

The Minnesota Timberwolves exchanged their no. 11 pick and Dario Saric for a number six pick from the Phoenix Suns. The Minnesota President Gersson Rosas was working for some time to move the Timberwolves’ pick up higher and settled for sixth. If the Suns chose to keep Saric, he would be a good pick after he averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.

Hachimura becomes the first Japanese player drafted in the first round:

Only two Japanese players have ever been drafted before in NBA history, and Rui Hachimura became the first one to be drafted in the first round. The Washington Wizards drafted Hachimura as their ninth overall pick, citing his flexibility to play multiple positions and his key role in the Japanese national team, heading into the Olympics. Being a junior at Gonzaga, he averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

NHL Draft

Record eight US players picked in the first round:

Starting with Jack Hughes to the New Jersey Devils, eight players in total from the US under-18 national team were selected in the first round. The previous record was four in 2000, 19 years ago. Typically, the draft is dominated by European players. Here is a list of the American players drafted and by which team:

  • Jack Hughes to New Jersey Devils, no. 1
  • Alex Turcotte to Los Angeles Kings, no. 5
  • Trevor Zegras to Anaheim Ducks, no. 9
  • Matthew Boldy to Minnesota Wild, no. 12
  • Spencer Knight to Florida Panthers, no. 13
  • Cam York to Philadelphia Flyers, no. 14
  • Caul Caufield to Montreal Canadiens, no. 15
  • John Beecher to Boston Bruins, no. 30

MLB

A warm welcome home for Pujols:

Although Albert Pujols’ current team, the Los Angeles Angels lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 2-4 on Saturday, the moment of the match came for the Angels when Pujols homered in the seventh innings in front of his former home crowd. The sold-out St. Louis crowd greeted Pujols with loud cheers and salutes, to which Pujols responded by returning from the dugout and tipping his hat.

FIFA Women’s World Cup

Germany crushes Nigeria 3-0 in Round of 16:

Both Germany and the US are currently undefeated and both Germany and the US are yet to concede a goal in the entire tournament! Alexandra Popp scored the opener in her 100th appearance for the country with a header in the 20th minute. Seven minutes later, Sara Daebritz netted in a penalty for the Germans. Both goals were given with the assistance of VAR, to the dismay of Nigeria. The third goal didn’t come until the 86th minute after Lea Schüller scored.

Norway sends Australia home after penalties:

After the game ended 1-1 at the end of the two-hour mark, Norway beat Australia on penalties 4-1. Before penalties, Australia fell a player short after Alanna Kennedy was sent off. Both sides did have plenty of chances missed though as Norway had 11 shots off target out of their 24, and Australia, despite having six percent more possession, registered only 8 shots, four on target.

England too good for Cameroon:

Just like Germany, England beat their Round of 16 opponents, Cameroon, 3-0. England’s first goal, which came in the 14th minute, was a rarity, coming from an indirect free kick (a free kick inside the keeper’s box in which defenders can defend the goal) after the Cameroon goalkeeper, Annette Ngo Ndom, picked up the ball after it hit her own teammate last. The Cameroon players ran into some trouble with VAR after Ajara Nchout’s goal was deemed offside and the players clearly objected in the dying minutes of the first half. Alex Greenwood got the third goal in for England at the 57th minute after receiving a pass from a corner kick and netting it in the low right corner.

France survives Brazil scare:

France played an intense game at home against Brazil where the game had ended 1-1 at the end of the 90th minute. Valérie Gauvin opened the scoring for the French in the 52nd minute before Thaisa scored an absolute beauty in the 63rd minute for Brazil. Thaisa’s goal was originally called offside but was overturned after a VAR review. The moment of the game came in the 106th minute when Amandine Henry scored in the bottom left corner after receiving a long free kick and France beat Brazil 2-1.

Copa América

Machís, Martínez send Venezuela through to Quarter-finals:

After struggling to find some goals in their opening two matches, Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 to advance to the Quarter-finals and finish second in their group. In the first few minutes, one could tell it was all over for Bolivia as Machís ran easily through the defense to meet a cross with his head in the second minute, which found the back of the net due to poor goalkeeping. Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez ended up scoring a header too in the 86th minute, right after Leonel Justiniano was able to pull one back for the Bolivians four minutes earlier.

Peru qualifies for knockout rounds despite Brazil thrashing:

In the final game of Group A, Brazil beat Peru 5-0, but Peru’s four points were enough to get them past the group stage. All five goalscorers for Brazil were different with Casemiro, Roberto Firmino with a no-look goal and Everton scoring in the first half, before Dani Alves netted and Willian scored in the last minute. Brazil finished first in the group with seven points.

Argentina beats Qatar to qualify for Quarter-finals:

Argentina needed to win to survive in this Copa América and they did just that. Lautaro Martínez scored in the fourth minute and Sergio Aguero made it 2-0 in the 86th. Argentina finished second in their group, leaving Paraguay in third at Qatar packing their bags at fourth.

Cricket World Cup:

England no longer favorites:

It seems that England has lost their title of favorites once Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunuratne handed the ball to veteran Lasith Malinga. On a slow Leeds pitch, Sri Lanka scored 232-9 after Angelo Matthews stepped up with his 85(115)*, and was hoping that would be enough to bowl England out. Surely enough, it was. Not only did Malinga pick up four wickets, but he also picked up the most crucial of them, getting both of the English openers along with Joe Root and Jos Buttler out. Spinner Dhananjaya de Silva helped clean up the lower order, grabbing the wickets of Moeen Ali, who miscued a shot to Isuru Udana at long mid-on, and having both Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid caught behind. Ben Stokes played a heroic effort, scoring 82*, but the game ended when Mark Wood edged Nuwan Pradeep behind on duck at the end of the 47th over. England is still in the top four, but they play Australia, India and New Zealand next while Sri Lanka’s semi-final hopes are still alive.

Afghanistan nearly causes World Cup’s greatest upset:

Six days after India beat Pakistan by 89 runs, one wouldn’t think Afghanistan would be too big of a problem for Virat Kohli’s India either. But Afghanistan’s spinners Mujeeb Ur-Rehman and Rashid Khan attacked the Indian batting extremely well, leaving them desperate at 224-8. Rohit Sharma, six days prior, scored 140 but was dismissed for just one after being bowled by Ur-Rehman. Kedhar Jadhav also played a handy 52 off 68, but India would’ve thought they fell short on runs. Man of the Match Mohammad Shami got the crucial wicket of Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai, but Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi held their ground, frustrating the Indian bowlers. After an over of six yorkers by Jasprit Bumrah, Afghanistan needed 12 from the last over but Shami completed a World Cup hattrick, taking the wickets of Nabi, who was caught by Pandya at long mid-on, and bowling both Aftab Alam and Ur-Rehman.

Brathwaite can make history but not re-create it:

Three years after Carlos Brathwaite hit four sixes against Stokes in the final over in Kolkata, Brathwaite was bound to do something similar against New Zealand in Manchester. The match started off West Indies’ way when Sheldon Cottrell found two wickets in the first over, trapping Martin Guptill LBW first ball and bowling Colin Munro. A 160-run partnership between New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor made things right before Taylor departed for 69 off of Chris Gayle’s bowling and Cottrell added a third wicket in Williamson being caught behind.

Gayle was brilliant in the next innings, scoring 87(84), but the Kiwis did pick two early wickets in Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran. Trent Boult was brilliant for New Zealand, registering four wickets and three runs per over and securing a very important catch later on. After Gayle was dismissed in the 24th over, a middle-order collapse left West Indies’ fans worrying as West Indies were at 245-9 at the 45th over, Brathwaite on 60* at the time. With just one wicket left, Brathwaite hit five sixes to get him to his maiden One-Day International century and with just six runs needed to win from seven deliveries, Brathwaite went for six again, but Boult was sitting at the mid-wicket boundary, waiting for the catch. Brathwaite was left crying on his knees as New Zealand ended up winning by five runs.

Pakistan comes to light; South Africa in disarray:

Both sides needed a win in order to stay alive in the World Cup, but it looks like South Africa will be the one going home. Pakistan had a perfect start at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London with openers Imam Ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman involved in an 81-run partnership, before both batsmen were dismissed for 44. Babar Azam scored yet another half-century, but the most impressive batsman was Haris Sohail, who came in for Shoaib Malik, scoring 85 off just 59 to take Pakistan to 308-7.

South Africa, who have never chased a target above 300 in a World Cup before, was off to a bad start when Mohammad Amir got Hashim Amla out LBW with his very first delivery. Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis worked to recover with their 87-run partnership before Shadab Khan found the wicket of de Kock, who was caught at fine leg by Ul-Haq. From there, Pakistan continued to take regular wickets as Amir had a total of two and Khan and Wahab Riaz both had three wickets to their name. Andile Phelukwayo’s 46(32)* prevented Pakistan from bowling South Africa out, but Pakistan still won by 49 runs.

 

Cricket World Cup Round Six review

In just three days, we’ve seen a wild range of cricket matches and emotions. India outclassed Pakistan in Manchester, Bangladesh finessed their way to a record run chase against the West Indies and England blew away Afghanistan. In a sell-out match, India scored a high total (but not the highest this week) of 336-5, to which Pakistan could only respond 212-6 in 40 overs. West Indies thought they had an upper hand over Bangladesh, scoring 321-8 in the first innings, but Shakib Al-Hasan and Liton Das had other plans in mind. Finally, Eoin Morgan and co. put up 397-6 vs. Afghanistan, to which Afghanistan heroically scored 247-8. Let’s see which players can call themselves winners or losers and predictions for the next four matches.

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India vs. Pakistan

Winner: Rohit Sharma

Century number two in this World Cup for Rohit Sharma and who better to did than against Pakistan? Nearly every shot of Sharma’s was perfect, pulling the short ones, driving the full ones and he even played spin well, despite Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan looking threatening. Unfortunately, one poor shot in which he attempted to scoop Hasan Ali resulted in him being caught out at short fine leg by Wahab Riaz and Sharma had to depart for 140(113).

Winner: Vijay Shankar

Picture this: Your best fast bowler gets injured in the middle of his over and you bring on a part-timer to finish the over and guess what?! He gets the opponent’s opener out first ball.

After Bhuvneshwar Kumar left the field four balls into his third over due to an ankle sprain, Vijay Shankar continued the over. After Pakistani opener Imam Ul-Haq faced four out-swinging deliveries from Kumar, Shankar’s first delivery swung into leg-stump and the umpire had to give him out LBW.

Loser: MS Dhoni

Well, Mohammad Amir is a hard bowler to face, but no one wants to leave the field for just one run off two balls. It was a very short game for MS Dhoni as he didn’t find any catches behind the stumps either while keeping. And if you’re a keeper, the worst way to be dismissed is being caught behind by the wicketkeeper, and that’s exactly what happened to Dhoni after he edged a bouncer from Amir to Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Winner: Amir

There’s just something about England which allows Amir to perform well. He’s currently the World Cup’s highest wicket-taker with 13 to his name, adding three of them from against India. First, he managed to make Indian captain Virat Kohli walk after Kohli thought he edged the ball behind. Then his next two wickets were the dangerous Hardik Pandya and Dhoni. Amir is currently Pakistan’s best bowler but he does have a slight issue: the lack of wickets in the first 10 overs when they really matter.

Loser: Hasan Ali

Just like how Amir was forced to sit out of the side for some time until he regained his form, the same is going to have to be done with Hasan Ali. Ever since Australia’s last tour of the United Arab Emirates, Ali has struggled to find wickets and gradually became more expensive. He bowls short balls when unnecessary and hasn’t been able to land a good yorker as of late. This Sunday, against India, Ali became the most expensive bowler in World Cup history (until Rashid Khan bowled against England on Tuesday) with figures of 0-84.

Winner: Imad Wasim

Although it may not feel like it because of the team’s low morale, Wasim had a rather impressive performance, going for only 49 with the ball and scoring 46(39)* with the bat. He scored six boundaries, all fours and put up a 47-run partnership with Khan.

Winners: Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam

Two of Pakistan’s batsmen were able to prove their consistency. Fakhar Zaman scored a half-century, adding on to his previous 114 against India in the Champions Trophy finals in 2017 and Babar Azam pitched in with his 48(57). Together, the duo put up a 104-run partnership, lasting from the fifth to the 25th over, until Azam was bowled by a beauty of a delivery from Kuldeep Yadav and Zaman saw himself caught by Yuzvenda Chahal.

Loser: Shoaib Malik

Pakistan fans needed some hope and their most experienced batsman, Shoaib Malik steps up to the crease. And wow! Pandya has bowled Malik first ball. A full-length delivery removing off-stump, but it was too quick for Malik to get his footwork right and Pakistan has surely lost the match.

Winner: Pandya

Just like Wasim, Pandya used his all-round skills to perform well with both the bat and the ball, scoring 26(19) and taking two wickets, Mohammad Hafeez and Malik back-to-back.

Winner: Yadav

Turns out Pakistan was unable to play spin well as Yadav’s youthfulness was too good for the Pakistani batsmen to handle. When the Zaman-Azam partnership was threatening, Yadav removed both of them in consecutive overs, one being bowled and one being caught.

 

West Indies vs. Bangladesh

Winners: Mohammad Shaifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman

If these two pacers didn’t bowl well in the death overs, it’s likely that the West Indies would’ve given Bangladesh a target too high to reach. The West Indies had easily reached the 300+ mark, but Mohammad Shaifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman picked up three wickets each and limiting them to just 321-8. The duo’s wickets column are as followed:

  • Chris Gayle c. behind Mushfiqur Rahim b. Mohammad Shaifuddin 0(13) WI: 6-1 3.2 overs
  • Shai Hope c. Liton Das b. Mustafizur Rahman 96(121) WI: 297-7 47 overs
  • Shimron Hetmyer c. Tamim Iqbal b. Mustafizur Rahman 50(26) WI: 242-4 39.3 overs
  • Andre Russel c. behind Mushfiqur Rahim b. Mohammad Shaifuddin 0(2) WI: 243-5 40 overs
  • Jason Holder c. Mahmadullah b. Mohammad Shaifuddin 33(15) WI: 282-6 43.4 overs
  • Dwayne Bravo b. Mohammad Shaifuddin 19(15) WI: 321-8 50 overs

Shaifuddin was effective at striking when the batsmen had just arrived at the crease and were the most vulnerable while Rahman did an excellent job taking the wickets of West Indies’ most important run-getters.

Winner: Evin Lewis

Evin Lewis was struggling in this World Cup, struggling to adapt to English conditions, but that changed against Bangladesh. His 70 off 67 was crucial to prevent Bangladesh from obtaining too many early wickets as Lewis and Shai Hope put on a 116-run partnership, which lasted 127 balls.

Winner: Hope

Well, sure, having hope and optimism is always nice, but I’m referring to the batsman Shai Hope. But let’s be honest. Does the West Indies have any better batsman at the moment? He’s already scored a half-century against Australia and nearly got a century against Bangladesh here before he got caught by Liton Das on 96. His control is a spectacle to see but the greatest marvel is his temperament, going however slow necessary to establish himself and adapt to the bowling.

Winner: Shimron Hetmyer

Although the West Indies had wickets in their hand by the time Shimron Hetmyer had come out to bat, the other batsmen played a bit defensive, requiring a batsman to put his foot on the accelerator. Hetmyer did exactly that. He made 50 in no time, taking up just 33 balls, pushing the Windies to 242-4 by the time he was dismissed in the 40th over.

Winners: Al-Hasan and Das

Nearly every time Bangladesh wins a historical game, it always involves a long-lasting, middle-order partnership. Nearly every time that happens, Al-Hasan is one of the two batsmen. It was such against New Zealand two years ago at Cardiff, against South Africa a few weeks back in London and now vs. the West Indies in Taunton. Al-Hasan scored his second consecutive century of the tournament and Das nearly did so as well, scoring 95 from just 69. The pair lasted 22.3 overs and scored 189 runs in that short period of time!

Losers: Shanon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas

No matter how good West Indian batting can be, it’s always the fast bowling which the opponents are wary of and it’s always the fast bowlers which have won matches for the Windies. Monday was just not one of those days. Opening bowler Oshane Thomas bowled just six overs as he was deemed too expensive by the captain. His six overs went for 52, bowling at an economy of 8.66, although he was able to pick the one wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim. Extras was another big issue for the Men in Maroon as the Windies bowled a total of 26 of them that day, five of them being Thomas’.

Although Shanon Gabriel only bowled one wide instead of the five, he was far more expensive, bowling 8.3 overs for 78 runs, an economy of 9.17. Bangladesh was able to score many runs off of Gabriel, resulting in not just a win, but a very easy and comfortable win.

 

England vs. Afghanistan

Winner: Eoin Morgan

Many doubted Eoin Morgan would have even played in this match after he suffered back spasms against the West Indies, but Morgan came out to bat and that was the end of the match for Afghanistan. Every single strike was clean from the England captain, hitting seventeen sixes, scoring a total of 148 runs from just 71 deliveries. One hundred and four of those runs were just in sixes and Morgan hit more than 1400 meters of sixes on Tuesday.

Winner: Moeen Ali

There have been questions regarding Moeen Ali’s forms as of late as he failed to get going with the bat in the first few matches and was dropped in the following matches. However, coming into the match against Afghanistan, Ali picked the spinners easily, scoring a four and four sixes, propelling the Birmingham man to 31(9)*. He was fine with the ball as well, like usual, conceding only 35 runs in his seven overs for a good One-Day economy of five.

Loser: Rashid Khan

The world’s number one spinner faced the harsh reality of how cruel international cricket can be. Just two days after Ali became Pakistan’s most expensive World Cup bowler with figures of 0-84 against India, Rashid Khan was hit by England’s batsmen for 110 runs from just nine overs, conceding 11 sixes. This will definitely be a day to forget for Khan.

Winner: Rahmat Shah

Without context, the scoreboard cannot tell you the full story. Of course, Afghanistan’s 247-8 was nowhere near England’s 397-6, but Afghanistan actually batted quite well, considering their previous matches. Failing to score 200+ yet in this World Cup, Afghanistan tackled England’s large score head on. Rahmat Shah was a crucial part of that as his 46(74) prevented a middle-order collapse from taking place. He also did well in the field, securing two catches to dismiss Joe Root and Morgan.

Winner: Hashmatullah Shahidi

Cricket fans would’ve been waiting for Hashmatullah Shahidi to put up a good performance after his half-century help Afghanistan beat Pakistan and they got treated to exactly that. Shahidi was able to achieve his maiden World Cup half-century, scoring 76 from 100 balls, before being bowled by Jofra Archer.

 

Round Seven predictions:

Australia vs. Bangladesh at Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire on Thursday, June 20:

If Australia bats first: Australia to win by 30 runs.

If Bangladesh bats first: Australia to win by six wickets.

 

England vs. Sri Lanka at Headingley, Leeds on Friday, June 21:

If England bats first: England to win by 55 runs.

If Sri Lanka bats first: England to win by seven wickets.

 

Afghanistan vs. India at The Rose Bowl, Southampton on Saturday, June 22:

If Afghanistan bats first: India to win by nine wickets.

If India bats first: India to win by 190 runs.