Firstpost Spodcast, Episode 247: England clinch maiden Cricket World Cup title beating New Zealand, Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in marathon Wimbledon final and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

1. England were crowned World Champions on Sunday after being declared winners of the cricket World Cup by the slimmest of margins in one of the greatest ODI finishes.

England beat New Zealand on the basis of boundaries scored after a tied Super Over and a tied match.

The final started off in staid fashion, with New Zealand choosing to bat cautiously. Even so, Martin Guptill’s terrible World Cup form continued as he was dismissed in the seventh over and the score on 29.

Kane Williamson tried to get some momentum going but he fell in the 22nd over with just 103 on the board. The Black Caps pushed along steadily, bereft of any flashy batting.

Henry Nichols ground out another half century, top scoring with 55 from 77 balls. Tom Latham made 47 runs but the middle order and the tail crumbled without contributing much as the England bowlers gave no quarter.

New Zealand hit just 14 boundaries and one six as they finished with 241/8 from their 50 overs.

Chris Woakes was the best of England’s bowlers, taking 3/37 from 9 overs. Liam Plunkett took 3/42 from his 10 overs.

The stage seemed set for another England batting onslaught and they were expected to make short work of the target of 242. But New Zealand’s bowlers kept taking wickets to ensure England did not run away with the chase. Jason Roy, who has given fantastic starts in the tournament, was dismissed by Matt Henry on 17.

Jonny Bairstow made 36 runs before being bowled by a beauty from Lockie Ferguson. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan fell cheaply, and it was match on at 86/4 in the 24th over. England’s best player in the World Cup, all rounder Ben Stokes, stepped up once again, rescuing his side with yet another 80+ score. He made 84 from 98 balls, including two sixes.

The reliable Jos Buttler made 59 form 60 balls as the two shared a 110-run partnership. But the rest of the batting collapsed as Ferguson and Jimmy Neesham took wickets regularly. With nine runs required off the last three balls, England received an unbelievable stroke of luck when a throw from the deep by Guptill ricocheted off Stokes’ bat and went to the boundary.

With two needed off the final ball, Mark Wood was run out, leaving the scores tied. Ferguson and Neesham were the pick of New Zealand’s bowlers, taking 3 wickets each.

But It was time for a super over, making the 2019 final one for the ages. What followed made it one of the greatest ODI matches ever. Morgan sent Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to face the super over. They took 15 off the six balls by Trent Boult, including two boundaries.

Strangely, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson asked Jimmy Neesham and the out of form Martin Guptill to go out and win the World Cup for his team.

Neesham slammed a leg side six off the third ball and the Kiwis looked set to take home the Cup. Two were needed off the last ball as Martin Guptill faced his first ball of the super over. As he scampered back for two, Jason Roy rocketed the throw to keeper Buttler who took off the bails as Guptill fell short. The scores were tied once again!

The rules state that “ the event of a Super Over tie, the team that hit more boundaries (combined from the main match and the Super Over) shall be the winner.” That put England on 24 boundaries, way ahead of New Zealand’s 14, and they were declared World Cup champions.

2) The 14th was a super Sunday for sport, what with the thrilling cricket World Cup final and the Wimbledon men’s final being played on the same day.

One of the greatest men’s finals played out on Centre Court as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic battled for five sets in a seesaw match that went right down to the tiebreak in the final set at 12 games each.

Novak Djokovic, the world number one, saved two championship points earlier on in the fifth set, then broke back and eventually won 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12. At four hours and 57 minutes, it was the longest Wimbledon final ever played and settled by a final set tiebreak for the first time. The fifth set alone lasted over two hours.

Djokovic is the first man in 71 years to win the title from match points down.

During the epic match, Federer looked the more self assured of the two, his face betraying no emotion as the match careened from one to the other. He was in blinding form, sending down 25 aces and 94 winners compared to Djokovic’s 10 aces and 54 winners.

Despite losing the first set 7-6, he dominated the second utterly, winning it 6-1. He lost the first set in 58 minutes but levelled with Djokovic in just 25 minutes. Federer was comfortably on top in the third set, flashing winners from all parts of the court but was unable to convert a set point in the 10th game.

Djokovic made him pay. Despite not managing a single break point in the match, he pounced again in the tiebreak to reclaim the lead.

Set number four saw another fight back from the 37-year-old veteran, who broke Djokovic’s serve twice to go up 5-2. The world number one broke back but Federer closed out the set 6-4 to set up a fifth set that will be remembered for ages.

New rules at Wimbledon mean that the fifth set will no longer go on until one player prevails. At 12 games each, a tie breaker will decide the winner. Federer broke for 8-7 and had two match points but was unable to convert them.

Djokovic broke back one again, and the match went into a tiebreak at 12-12 - the first in a singles match at the tournament.

Djokovic prevailed, moving to three championship points and claiming victory when Federer shanked a return wide.

After winning Wimbledon for the 5th time, and winning his 16th Grand Slam title, Djokovic said, “I think that if this is not the most exciting final then definitely it's in the top two or three of my career against one of the greatest players of all time, Roger, who I respect...Unfortunately in this type of match someone has to lose. It is quite unreal to be two match points down to come back and strange to play a tie-break at 12-12.”

He is now just four Grand Slam titles shy of the all-time record held by Federer who is more than five years older.

3) Lewis Hamilton made the most of a favourable safety car intervention on Sunday to claim a record sixth British Grand Prix victory at a packed Silverstone.

The defending five-time world champion clocked the fastest lap on his final lap to finish 25 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate and nearest title rival Valtteri Bottas after an action-packed contest.

On an overcast and cool afternoon, Justin Whiting, the 12-year-old son of the late Charlie Whiting, the official Race Director who died suddenly in Melbourne in March, started the race before a crowd of 141,000.

As the lights went out, the Mercedes pair pulled clear, Hamilton chasing Bottas throughout the first lap ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen with Vettel fifth. By lap 10, the lead was three-tenths,

Hamilton, oozing confidence, could not pass Bottas slithering to protect his lead. Behind them, Leclerc blocked attacks from Verstappen. On lap 17, Bottas pitted for a new set of medium tyres and

Hamilton grabbed the lead ahead of Vettel, the pair delaying their stops as long as possible. Then Giovinazzi beached his Alfa Romeo. The safety car was deployed after Giovinazzi spun into a gravel trap – gifting Hamilton a 'free' first, and only, pit stop. The luckless Bottas, on a two stop strategy, had already pitted before the incident.

Hamilton took advantage and pitted for hard tyres, followed by Vettel and Verstappen, making a second stop. Ferrari, reacting slowly, called in Leclerc, who emerged sixth behind Gasly and Verstappen. All this left Hamilton leading Bottas with Vettel third. Racing resumed on lap 23, the field, backed up by Hamilton, swarming like bees at the re-start.

With eight laps remaining, Hamilton was told to pit, but ignored the call, persuading Mercedes to bring in Bottas for soft tyres, a tilt at fastest lap and a secure run to the flag.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was third. Pierre Gasly finished fourth ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, whose race was compromised by a late collision when Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari drove into him, and Carlos Sainz of McLaren.

Hamilton is now 39 points clear of the Finn in the championship race.

4) Star India grappler Vinesh Phogat won her second consecutive gold in 53kg, winning the Yasar Dogu International with a commanding victory over Russia's Ekaterina Poleshchuk in Istanbul.
The top Indian woman wrestler, who stood atop the podium at Grand Prix of Spain last week, beat her Russian opponent 9-5 in the final of the UWW ranking series tournament.

Vinesh's was India’s third gold in the women's competition after Seema’s win in the 50kg event and Manju’s win in the 59kg category.

En route the gold medal bout, Vinesh won two of her three bouts by Technical Superiority.

In the men's freestyle event, Rahul Aware, competing in the 61kg category, clinched his first career Ranking Series title with a tactical 4-1 victory over Munir Aktas of Turkey. Utkarsh Kale had won bronze in the same category. Deepak Punia settled for silver in the 86kg after losing the final to Azerbaijan's Aleksandr Gostiyev 2-7. Sumit added to India's tally by winning a bronze in the 125kg.

5) The examination of India’s exit from the cricket world cup has begun.

Former India batsman Yuvraj Singh has questioned the Indian team management's approach prior to the World Cup and during the tournament.

Going into the World Cup, the No 4 spot was the biggest concern for the Indian team. The thought was to find a steady hand for when Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli departed from the middle.

As things turned out, India’s top-heavy batting line up lost Dhawan to injury early into the tournament and that power-packed trio was reduced to two. Additionally, there was no clear cut option at No 4.
Yuvraj said, “The team management should have groomed someone. If someone was failing at No 4, the team management should have told that player that he was going to play the World Cup. Like in 2003 World Cup, we were playing New Zealand before the tournament, everybody was failing. But the same team played in the World Cup.”

Yuvi also expressed disappointment with how things panned out with Ambati Rayudu. The CSK batsman was persisted with for a while before being dropped completely. Rayudu recently retired from cricket in what came as a surprise announcement.

Yuvraj lamented, "It was disappointing to watch what they did with Rayudu. He was in contention for the World Cup. He got runs in New Zealand but after three or four bad innings, he got dropped...And then Rishabh (Pant) came in and he got dropped. If No 4 is a crucial position in ODI cricket, if you want someone to do well in that position, you will have to back him. You can't drop someone if he is unable to do well all the time."

He added, “In between, the team had also tried Dinesh Karthik. Finally, we don't know what their plan was for No 4. They backed Rishabh again, he actually did well. If Rohit and Virat would get out early, we could get into trouble and everyone knew about that. We needed a solid No 4. I didn't understand the idea behind their plans...I also feel quite sad about Rayudu that he retired. It is unfortunate how they dealt with the whole situation. You are looking to go and play the World Cup and suddenly you don't find a place.”

Updated Date: Jul 15, 2019 13:56:07 IST