Firstpost Spodcast Episode 234: Aaron Finch guides Australia to win in ICC Cricket World Cup, Italy enter FIFA Women’s World Cup quarters and more

Hello and welcome to Firstpost Spodcast where we discuss Aaron Finch's ton that guided Australia to win over England at ICC Cricket World Cup, Italy's entry to FIFA Women’s World Cup quarters and more

1. In news from the 2019 World Cup, Australia defeated England by 64 runs on Tuesday.

The old rivals reverted to form as Australia easily overpowered England, with bowlers Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff ran through the middle order with relative ease.

Australia have been improving since the defeat to India, and that was on full display at Lord’s yesterday. Put in to bat first, Australia made a good start to their innings. Skipper Aaron Finch was in imperious form once again, scoring 100 from 116 balls. Fellow opener David Warner scored yet another half century as the first wicket partnership put on 123 runs by the 23rd over. Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith chipped in with 23 and 38 respectively before England pulled things back, denting Australia’s momentum in the death overs. Alex Carey made a fluent 38 from 27 balls to drag Australia to 285/7, which was under par given the great start that Finch and Warner gave them. Chris Woakes was the pick of England’s bowlers, taking 2/46 from his 10 overs.

England’s batting was throttled by Australia early on in the chase. Behrendorff and Starc proved too much for the famed England top order. James Vince was bowled in the very first over. Bigger blows awaited the hosts as the Lord's crowd saw the quick departure of the in-from Joe Root followed by skipper Eoin Morgan. At 26/3 in the sixth over, England were staring down the barrel against a side that is historically known to raise its game on the biggest stage, more so when the stakes are high. It got worse for the hosts when Jonny Bairstow was dismissed by Jason Behrendorff, making it 53 for four in the 14th over. Ben Stokes once again rescued England, forging a 71-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Jos Buttler. But Buttler got out after making 25 off 27 balls, which meant England were faced with an uphill battle. The match was as good as over when Starc bowled Stokes with one of the tournament's finest yorkers to leave the home team reeling at 177/6. Stokes made 89 runs from 115 balls, the only England batsman to show resistance. Woakes and Adil Rashid scored a few runs but it was all too much for the lower order. Starc and Behrendorff cleaned up the tail, taking 4/43 and 5/44 respectively.

Following Tuesday’s win, Australia became the first team to reach the semi-finals. England's defeat, their second straight following the stunning loss to Sri Lanka, makes their path to the last four more complicated than it was a week ago.

2) In football news from the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, Italy reached the quarter-finals for the first time in nearly three decades after beating China 2-0 in Montpellier on Tuesday.

A 15th-minute tap in from Valentina Giacinti and substitute Aurora Galli's fierce drive three minutes after the break saw Milena Bertolini's side see off a committed Chinese side and match their best run in the competition back in 1991.

Giancinti started the move that gave Italy the lead after already having one effort ruled out for offside, feeding Barbara Bonansea on the edge of the box before the Juventus attacker slipped in Elisa Bartoli. Roma defender Bartoli's low effort was eventually tapped by Giacinti following Peng Shimeng's smart save and indecision from the Chinese defence. The Italians had chances to extend their lead through Giacinti and her AC Milan teammate Valentina Bergamaschi, who forced a superb save from Peng, but China pinned them back as the half wore on. However, they effectively sealed their place in the semi-finals almost immediately after the restart through Galli, who collected Alia Guagni's pass and composed herself before drilling a low shot past Peng.

Bertolini said after the game, “It's a great result after a difficult match. Today wasn't a display of beautiful football but the girls gave everything and we were clinical. To reach the quarter-finals is hugely satisfying.”

The Italians will next face the Netherlands on Saturday for a shot at their first ever appearance in the last four.

3) The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have generated record domestic sponsorship revenues of more than $3.0 billion, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

That amount is three times more than any previous summer Games generated.

There is huge enthusiasm among the Japanese public for the Tokyo Games, and people have rushed in their millions to buy tickets. The IOC’s Coordination Commission chief for Tokyo, John Coates, said local sponsorship agreements were up to 62 companies for all three tiers of sponsorship arrangements. He explained, “This equates to revenues exceeding 3.0 billion dollars from national partnerships. That is an amazing amount of money. This does not include the partnership with (Japanese companies) Toyota, Bridgestone and Panasonic and their contributions to the TOP programme...7.5 million ticket (requests). This is an indication of this strong support and high level of interest among the Japanese public.”

Interestingly, Tokyo’s bid file had claimed that 7.8 million tickets would be available for the Games but 20-30 percent of those are reserved for international customers and sponsors.

In comparison, the London 2012 Games raised roughly $1.1 billion from domestic sponsors — a record at the time — while Rio de Janeiro in 2016 claimed it had slightly surpassed London, although that is unlikely with final accounts inaccurate given ongoing corruption probes linked to that edition of the Games. The IOC has been struggling to attract new cities to bid for the Olympics, and awarded the 2026 Winter Olympics to Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzo after four other cities dropped out and Stockholm was left as the only other bidder.

4) Brian Lara's legion of fans heaved a sigh of relief after the West Indian great said on Tuesday that he was fine after his hospitalisation in Mumbai due to chest pain.

50-year-old Lara was admitted to a hospital after complaining of chest pain. The former West Indies captain, who is in India as an expert for the official broadcaster of the World Cup, said he felt uneasy after an extended workout session in the morning.

Cricket West Indies posted an audio message from Lara, in which he said, “I know everyone is very concerned about what is happening. I may have just extended myself in the gym this morning. I was getting a pain in my chest and I just thought that it was best to see a doctor. I was taken to the hospital, pain continued obviously and a lot of tests were done...Just letting everyone know that I am fine, recovering and I will be back in my hotel room tomorrow. Couple of the tests came back already. Doctors were happy that there is nothing major. Thanks again for your concern.”

Lara’s sense of humour remains unaffected. Speaking about the England v Australia match, the West Indian great said, “I am just chilling in my hospital bed, watching England versus Australia...not a big fan of England, hopefully Australia can restrict England...I am going to be alright. My phone is going non stop so I am going to switch it off. Not that I would like to switch it off because I would like to speak to my family.”

Here’s wishing Lara a quick and full recovery.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Jun 26, 2019 13:29:37 IST