Thursday, 13 May 2010

From Heartbreak in Hamburg to Classy Cricket in the Caribbean

Last night Fulham's dreams were abruptly ended by a 116th minute Diego Forlan goal. Meanwhile, England's cricket team, in stark contrast, have just booked their place in the Twenty20 World Cup final on Sunday afternoon.

Less than 24 hours ago in Hamburg, Fulham were holding Athletico Madrid to a 1-1 draw and an almost certain penalty shoot-out. The Spanish side had taken the lead after 32 minutes thanks to a Forlan's first game. Roy Hodgson's men replied just five minutes later, however, through Simon Davies. As penalties loomed the Londoners were denied Cup glory as a deflected shot found the net and Forlan was, dubiously, awarded his brace.

Fulham's run in the Europa League has been hailed as a fairytale story and was certainly the determining factor in Hodgson being awarded the Manager of the Year Award despite Fulham finishing in a modest 12th position in the Premiership. Athletico Madrid were, ultimately, the better side and deserved their win, as bitter a blow as it was.

The England Cricketers, though, now have their own cup final to look forward to after they continued their superb form and by beating Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup Semi-Finals. The England bowlers held the opposition to an easily achievable 128-6 in their innings and the batters duly delivered as they chased down Sri Lanka's target with 4 overs to spare.

Openers Lumb and Kieswetter reached 68 in the opening 8 overs to leave the side able to cruise home to victory. New dad Kevin Pietersen was back in the team having missed the match against New Zealand and got of a score of 42 (not-out) from only 26 balls. Pietersen's form has illustrated just how beneficial the Twenty20 game can be for a player struggling to find runs in the longer formats of the game. He has been quite simply outstanding in this year's competition. Despite making an 8,000-mile-round trip in five days and witnessing the birth of his first child KP returned in time to play another dominant innings. The success of the squad as a whole, meanwhile, has showed the importance of picking players from domestic cricket who have experience in the Twenty20 game such as the new opening pairing of Lumb and Kieswetter.

England will learn who they are to face in Sunday's final tomorrow evening as Australia take on Pakistan. If, if, they can win this weekend it will be England's first ever victory in a ICC tournament.

Thoughts, comments and opinions please...


  1. You reckon they are still in with a shout of winning the season? Or will we have to wait to see is Portsmouth can overcome Chelsea at the weekend?

  2. Personally, I fancy an English win. Something about this team just fills me with confidence. I believe the bowling attack just nudges it at the moment and we'll need a solid start from the top 3 (Colly may be a decent captain but his batting form is dire) Hussey's superb knock today has given England something to think about... as if they didnt have anything to worry about before!

    As far as Fulham are concerned, I'm quite certain it was a glitch in the order of European football. I can only see them sliding into mediocrity during the next campaign.

  3. Firstly, I don't think there has been a clear winner for the season. Fulham's achievements have been over-rated and even if Portsmouth win this weekend, which they wont, they still finished bottom of the Premiership.

    Dan, I completely agree with what you say about Fulham. They are a decent side but no more. They had a great cup run but have done little else. As for England, it is so tough to call. The team does have a different feel to it now, new faces and a better looking line-up. When it comes to finals, however, Australia always seem to have the edge. They thrive in these situations and Hussey's incredible innings proved that so I would have to give them the edge. Let's just hope England can finally break their duck!


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