*Clicks fingers* Oi you! Yes you, sitting there watching Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, or whatever match is on the tele box. If I could just have your attention for a teeny tiny second, I’d quite like you to have a listen to the lessons learned this week in the noble sport of cricket. No manhandling, dodgy reffing or mind numbing pundits on this site. Take a break from footy for some aviation, statistics, poetry and more.
Jetting off to Lord’s for the Royal London One-Day Cup Final on June 30th will be Kent. Or taking the two hour bus journey; either way they still won! In chasing down Worcestershire’s 306, with just two wickets to spare, Kent have soared higher than anticipated this season. They were led by the magnificent flying skills of wing commander Kuhn who was like a firing spitfire at the crease. His total of 127 is the fourth century Kuhn has reached in the past five innings; averaging 94.17 in the One-Day Cup this season. He’s certainly flying with wings in 2018.
Indeed the target of 307 for victory could have been so much less, for Worcestershire crashed and burned upon take off. Batting first they were immediately restricted to 48-4, not helped by the disappearance of Moeen Ali to England duty. Delayed longer than a Ryan Air flight, Mo was unable to fly this plane, instead handing over the controls to Ben Cox, who guided Worcestershire through the bumpy patch of turbulence. Like a Red Arrow stunt, Cox was superb; often sailing close to the stumps but dynamic in his stroke play. From four down, Cox and first mate D’Oliveria built a partnership of 140. When Matt Henry took an astonishing catch to dismiss the latter in the deep, Ed Barnard came in and joined the mile high club. He smacked 50* off just 23 balls, with Lieutenant Cox 122*.
Once it became clear that Heino Kuhn could continue his aerodynamic form, whirling the bat like an excitable child buying a duty free Toblerone, the win for Kent was never in doubt. Although it came down to needing 9 off the last over, Harry Podmore, struck the winning boundary which ensured Kent landed on terra firma with three balls to spare.
Tanks for listening so far class. And no I haven’t suddenly become Irish; this lesson is all about tanks. Those massive, armour plated, unstoppable forces. Tanks were instrumental in the second world war, flattening all that stood in their way and just last week a tank was responsible for annihilating Yorkshire in the other One-Day Cup semi-final.
Roll forward James Vince. A lean, grizzled, fast moving tank who was fantastic in dodging the grenades sent down by Fisher and Bresnan. Vince produced one of THE great one day displays, tonking 171 off 126 balls as Hampshire made 348. Yorkshire stood no chance. Like a field of flowers blitzed by a Sherman, Vince was commanding. He reached the boundary twenty three times, most of which were classic cover drives and pulls through the leg side. Supported by little tank Sam Northeast (58), Vince was incredibly close to reaching a double century, falling only in the 46th over. Only Ben Coad conceded less than 50 runs in his overs, such was the dominance of the England reject. He’s never managed it for his country but there’s no shame whatsoever in being an outstanding county player.
In response Yorkshire imploded like a tank driving over a mine. South African Dale Steyn was back to his blistering best, supported wonderfully by Chris Wood and the spin of Liam Dawson. The away side limped to 73-4, before any response was forthcoming. It came through the sheer defiance of Jon Tattersall’s 89, who dug in when all around him flopped like a fish(er). That’s a great joke if you know the Yorkshire side by the way… What’s not a joke is that tanks to Vince, Hampshire will point their gun turret towards Kent come the end of this month.
There’s a first time for everything isn’t there? Last week it was Scotland humbling England; this week Afghanistan played their first test match. I say ‘played’… unfortunately ‘watched’ would be a more appropriate word as the debutants were destroyed by a merciless India side. Statistically this will go down as a thrashing; it is only the fourth time a team has been bowled out twice in one day; it is the twenty first time a test has ended in two days.
But who gives a shit about stats? We should be celebrating the triumphant moment in the history of cricket. For a nation in turmoil for decades, the light of cricket has been a beacon of hope. As a T20 outfit, Afghanistan have participated in the World Cup and some of their players have been huge stars in this year’s IPL. Take Rashid Khan for instance, who collects his wickets at less than 16 apiece. The challenge is transferring this growing T20 skillset into the arena of test match cricket.
Aside from Yamin Ahmadzai’s 3-51, Afghanistan’s bowlers went at a pretty damning rate. Aforementioned Rashid Khan toiled with 2-154, as India racked up the partnerships. The host’s total of 474 was always going to be tough to respond to; just a bit of a shame Afghanistan returned only 109 and 103. Top score in the first innings was Mohammad Nabi with 24, whilst in following on only Hashmatullah Shahidi’s 36* prompted any combat.
The key for Afghanistan now? Patience. Ill-discipline and rash shots were their downfall; hardly surprising considering they warmed up with three T20’s. Test match cricket is immensely tough and it will be interesting as to how they develop from here. Stats may be portrayed in black and white, but it is the warming glow of their beating hearts which makes this story an epic.
I’ve been inspired this week class, to present to you a little poem I’ve penned about the ineptitude of the Aussies in their ODI series against England.
Stop all the clocks,
Cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the digeridoos and, with muffled drum,
Bring out the coffin. Let the Aussies come!
Let Qantas circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message; ‘Aussie ODI’s are dead!’
Put beer glasses in the hands of the English crowd.
Let them cheer as Bairstow stands proud.
Finch, Tye, Paine and Head,
Have bats all made of rotten lead.
Can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field, can’t catch,
Against mighty England they are no match.
The Aussies are not wanted now; they’ve lost every one.
Three nil down, with two ODI’s still not done.
England are victorious and have won in style,
As for the Aussies, they’re one massive pile (of shit)!
Your final lesson this week class is in PSHE. Any idea what the fuck that is? I had no idea at school either.
We can all agree then, it’s a total waste of time. Who cares anyway, I’ve held your attention span long enough. This lesson is cancelled.
Back to the World Cup we go!
*Turns on the tele to gasps of joy from the class*
So there you have it, three lessons, an award winning poem and one lazy teacher who thinks they can get away with just sticking the footy on. Well guess what, they can! Crack open that can of sweet sweet cider and have fun kids. Homework is merely to write your own poem about how terrible the Australian ODI team are right now; even worse than their football counterparts. Class dismissed!