Ah June. Glorious June. The days are long; the nights are short. The Champions Trophy is underway and the football season has mercifully finished. Prepare yourself for a heatwave.
Is it just me or is the weather always shit in Cardiff? The rain mostly stayed away this time – meaning I can’t trot out my usual ‘SWA-LAKE’ joke – but we got a hurricane instead. Marvellous.
Thankfully however, the stormy gusts didn’t blow us off course. Kane Williamson, who is possibly the best batsman in the world (go on, try make an argument that someone else is better) briefly threatened to pull off an upset, but luckily it didn’t materialise. The Kiwi players around him generally collapsed in a heap and England have secured a semi final berth. Hoorah!
England’s total of 310 was a team effort really. Although Jos put the icing on the cake, the cake itself was baked by Alex Hales and Joe Root (again), plus 53 from the world’s grumpiest and most expensive all-rounder.
Has anyone else noticed that Stokes is going bald by the way? I guess it isn’t such a big deal if you’re ginger ;-)
Scoring 310 on a pitch that wasn’t quite the belter England usually order was always going to prove tough for New Zealand. Having said that, if Jake Ball had bowled badly and Martin Guptill had batted well (the latter always seems to do well against us), it might have been a different story.
Luckily Ball had one of his good days, Mark Wood was his usual excellent self, Liam Plunkett continued his good form, and Adil Rashid managed to land it on the strip more often than not. Once Williamson and Taylor were dismissed the result was never in doubt.
England are now in the semis (already!) and we’ve therefore cemented our billing as tournament favourites. We’re currently 2-1 with many bookies. Check out the freebets at BetHut if you want to back us.
Our next game, of course, is Australia. It will be interesting to see how we approach this fixture. Will we rest some players – perhaps giving Jonny Bairstow another opportunity to show how good he is – or will we go for the jugular, try to maintain momentum, and finish the Aussies off?
After seeing their first two games reach a wet and dismal conclusion, the Aussies need to beat us to progress. In fact, their players are already calling the game a quarter-final.
I think I might die laughing if this game is rained off too. If the English cricket team don’t get ya, our weather certainly will!
My personal feeling is that we should pick a full strength side and avoid the temptation to get cocky. Australia are a dangerous team and if we let them progress it might come back to bite us on the rump.
Written in collaboration with BetHut.