Sunday, 16 June 2019

My World Cup so far...

Just over half way through the group stages and the 2019 Cricket World Cup is starting to take shape. Or it would have taken more shape if it hadn't pissed down with rain all week. The UK has been wetter than a mermaid's gusset this last week, which has kept the group tighter than Phil Tufnell at the bar. There have been empty seats, Channel 4 has decided to show games at times that an insomniac would baulk at and the weather in June, has been about as much fun as watching an episode of Terry and June. Despite this, we have had some brilliant moments so far...Here, in association with The London Fields Brewery is The Middle Stump Guide to the World Cup so far.

Despite the rain, we do sports events well in this country. In fact, one of the best in the world. To suggest that the UK shouldn't have events during our summer, as one chap did on Twitter, is an odd thing to say. This is our dry season, after all. If it had happened this time last year, no one would have batted an eyelid. However, in a way, this has made this World Cup a brilliant tournament. You want to see a contest between bat and ball, not just 400 scored with batsmen smashing it through the line. The conditions have made this a decent battle.

Sadly, there have been lots of empty seats. A combination of some of the least popular games in the tournament at grounds which have struggled to get huge crowds, have been the reasons for this. Also, with any sports tournament now, third party providers snapping the tickets up, it is you and I, the punter who misses out. Saying that, India v Pakistan tickets were reportedly going for £800 a pop. Amir easy way to make some cheap dosh, as they say. If you had a mate who had one and couldn't go, you'd have saved a few quid if you'd Hafeez. I'll get my coat...

As for the actual cricket, well England haven't had it all their own way. A loss to Pakistan means the last three games against New Zealand, India and Australia could be crucial. They were excellent versus the West Indies and the pace of Mark Wood and his partner means that we can all forgive him for perjury a few years ago. Hang on, what do you mean it's not Jeffrey Archer? Joe Root, Universe Jos and Jason Roy have all got tons and no doubt Morgan and Bairstow will come to the party soon. England go deeper than the Marianas Trench.


India look a decent outfit. Rohit Sharma gives it a bosh at the top. Bumrah is enjoying the conditions and they look a very strong side. Pakistan have been wiped away despite their result against England. New Zealand, the quiet assassins, not being noticed until they are in the latter stages of the tournament. Like a creepy pervert, you never really hear or see New Zealand until all of a sudden they are in front of you, there with a semi.

Australia look decent. I'm not sure if Donald Trump or David Warner were least popular visitors to the UK this month but both are blond, dangerous people, capable of causing carnage amongst the world. Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc are world class but for me, Aaron Finch has been their star. He likes a beer, he likes a fag, gives it a whack...we like Aaron Finch. Not sure how much depth they have though. Having seen the likes of Behrendorff, I think if I was his skipper I might have hauled him orff.

The second most unpopular visitor to the UK this month...after David Warner

The West Indians are a decent side with a top order capable of carnage. Their youngsters in Hope and Pooran have been good but all in all, they were not good against England in a must win game. Joe Root was fantastic but their bowlers bowled the wrong lengths. The World Boss, Universe Boss, Solar System Boss, a certain Mr Gayle has been unusually quiet at the top of the order.

South Africa have been a huge disappointment. They have played cricket like a bunch of the wicket keeper's surname. I'd have expected better. Sri Lanka have also been poor despite one last hurrah from Malinga the Slinga. Bangladesh, well supported but like many a football fan who has been to Ninian Park over the years, were bashed up in Cardiff by England. Afghanistan are on their way home.

A miserable June

So all in all, loads to play for still. With the top sides playing each other towards the end, this World Cup will throw up more surprises as the tournament goes on. If the rain keeps away, that is.

Oh and if Channel 4 show the final on free to air television, as is the word on the street, all will be forgiven for showing highlights at midnight.

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