World Cup Matches 20 & 21 – Australia v Sri Lanka & South Africa v Afghanistan

Seemed like Lex Luthor left his kryptonite at home yesterday. England completed a routine win, with some scares of the physical rather than psychological kind, and Joe Root completed his second hundred of the competition, this time from the opening batsman slot. Last time he scored a hundred opening in a test, we had a very exciting meme result from it. Ah, the memories.

It has been an interesting old week. Almost a throwback. A tournament being played in a large block suddenly found the vulnerability of a front stalling over the UK, swinging backwards and forwards, round and around, dumping rain all over the place. Welcome to England in June – it happens. Anyone recalling the run-up to the London Olympics will remember the dreadful summer we had, until the games themselves, which got really lucky. There is really little can be done about it once you make up your mind that reserve days aren’t going to be a thing. I wish people could just be a bit more sanguine about that. Most baseball teams that had domes are getting rid of them, and to have a stadium with a retractable roof, like, for example, Minute Maid Park in Houston (where I was a month ago) for venues with 20000 capacity is not viable. It would probably eat up the entire five year ECB deal.

That retractable roof ain’t cheap…. Minute Maid Park in May

We had the Guardian mafia descend on my post. That was fun. Particularly liked Selvey admonishing me like I was a naughty child. Don’t hold yourself out to be the voice of North London Nonsense when you then get called on it. Get it?

I’ll deal with all that at a future date, but something good came out of all of it. It put some bloody petrol in my engine, and I’m right up for it at the moment! I hope it fired some of you up to. That voice we have, judging by the spike in visitors, is still there when deployed.

The real home of English cricket (accept no North London interlopers) plays host to I think it’s final game today, when Australia return to the scene of their defeat last weekend to take on Sri Lanka, who have completed some nice little run chases at this venue in the past. And chase they will, as they’ve won the toss and put Australia in to bat.

This will mean Warner and Finch get to reprise their opening partnership which probably won the game against Pakistan. No doubt the focus will be on Warner, who made a hundred last time out, but was criticised in many quarters (more lukewarm on TV) for his outing against India. Stoinis is out of the competition, but as one of the comments intimated, he’s not exactly done much to be missed. Australia seem to have a little self-doubt at the moment. It wasn’t a disgrace the way they lost to India, and a few things either way and they could have won.

Australia are 9 to 1 on to win this. Sri Lanka are not pulling up any trees, and they are going to need to if they have any hope of getting a semi-final place. The tournament could do with another result setting the cat among the pigeons (only England v Pakistan did that momentarily), so eyes should be focused on The Oval this morning. The weather looks OK early, though may be a little iffy this late afternoon.

The other game being played at Cardiff pits two winless teams together. South Africa appear in total disarray, and anyone reading D’Arthez in our comments gets the unvarnished view of what is going wrong. Afghanistan have proven worthy competitors but haven’t really threatened the winner’s circle just yet. It is a game that could pass us by, as many could in the run-in to the semi-finals, but let’s hope for a really good game. Even if this World Cup is having its issues, the tournament is a force for good in showcasing the game, and we are all behind that, even if we think others may be wrong in their views of just how we take it forward.

Lastly, I want to know, seriously, how much the company that thought up Manchester Originals, as a hook to lure in those pressure mums and kids, got paid. At least with London X, you could have got a semi-unofficial tie up with a Marvel comic and film series. Who are the Originals? A spin-off from the Vampire Diaries? We after young mums?

A bit rushed this morning, as a few of us had events last night to go to. Enjoy what cricket you watch today, and if the mood takes you, comment below.

I’m now off to get my earplugs, and to test whether Slater and Clarke’s voice penetrates them.