News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday July 22nd 2019

The Monday sports wrap

league-cup-2It was another weekend of channel hopping in an effort to see everything on offer during a jam-packed weekend of sports fixtures that just could not be missed.

What with the 2011 ICC World Cup, Super 15 rugby and Chiefs vs. Pirates, Sunday night found me rather exhausted – but happy.

But in all this, one of the biggest surprises of the weekend was Birmingham clinching the League Cup in a dramatic 2-1 final against Arsenal who were pegged to end their six-year silverware drought.

And I couldn’t have asked for a better result from Saturday afternoon’s big Soweto derby that saw Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates each gaining one point from their 1-1 draw.

This was perfect for Ajax Cape Town supporters like me because it puts Ajax at the top with Pirates on 46 points each. Ajax jumped to vie with Pirates after getting three points from their 1-0 win on Friday night against Free State Stars.

With goal difference all to separate them, the race is on as there are still eight games left for the season and no one can afford to slip up now. Chiefs are sitting two points down on 44 followed by Sundowns at 41.

Back on the Asian continent where the Cricket World Cup is underway saw two of the three host countries not performing too well. India, as one of the host’s and the favourites to win the cup, only narrowly escaped defeat against England during their match on Sunday in Bangalore, having to make do with a thrilling draw.

England must be still kicking themselves this morning after looking on course to win from a comfortable position set up after captain Andrew Strauss’s knocked 158 runs off his bat, only to end up needing two runs off one ball to beat India’s 338 runs.

India didn’t take full advantage of their innings either – they could have easily made 380 instead of slogging through single and double runs.

Personally, I couldn’t help but enjoy the fact that the top four in the English batting line up, ex-South Africans all – got the smirk wiped off their faces by India.

That’s what you get when you bat for the wrong side.

Saturday’s match saw Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 11 runs despite Sri Lanka having home advantage. This is likely a psychological blow for the Sri Lankan, being their seventh loss to the Pakistanis in seven World Cup encounters.

As for the Super 15, I’m not going to survive the season without a heart attack if the Stormers opening game is anything to go by. They had me on the edge of my seat, screaming and shouting until the very last second of the game.

It was evident that the pack of Lions came to Newlands intent on tearing into the Stormers. The home side was on the back foot throughout the match, but that could be due to the debut of three youngsters whose inexperience was revealed, combined with Ricky Januarie and Conrad Jantjies both appearing out of sorts and unable to provide the necessary leadership.

Fortunately, Januarie was kicked off at half-time and replaced by Dewaldt Duvenage who was joined by Pieter Louw, Peter Grant ad Juan de Jongh saw the Stormers gather their strength for a winning try in the dying minutes of the game which put the final score at 19-16

However, Stormers can thank flyhalf debutant Gary Van Aswegen for keeping them in the game by slotting all three penalties in the first half.

Results from other Super 15 fixtures over the weekend saw the Sharks beat the Blues 26-12 at home on Saturday, and the Bulls having once again to pull a trick out the bag to come from behind and beat the Cheetahs 25 -23 on Friday night.

Meanwhile, Springboks coach Peter de Villiers must be scratching his head as concerns over injuries picked up during the tournament begin to mount ahead of the World Cup. Juan Smith looks like he might be out for the season, if not the year, after tearing his Achilles tendon during the opening minutes of Friday night’s game against the Bulls.

We can only hope for the best when results are out later today. Yugendree Naidoo









Tags: 2011 ICC World Cup, Ajax Cape Town, Arsenal, Birmingham, Blue Bulls, Cheetahs, Cricket World Cup, England, India, Juan Smith, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Pieter de Villiers, Sri Lanka, Stormers, Super 15