OH DEAR. AUSTRALIA’S Cricket World Cup defeat to Pakistan over the weekend hasn’t been well received in terms of both the result and the manner in which it came about
Much-criticised skipper Ricky Ponting spoke out in The Australian afterwards, stating that it may be a result that they needed to have to really kickstart the campaign. Come on now Ricky, there is no such thing as a good defeat when it leaves you with a much more difficult knock-out tie (India) than you should’ve had.
He also makes the point that it is often seen as a good thing when AFL teams lose just before finals. This is completely disingenuous as the likes of Geelong lost games when they were already guaranteed top spot on the ladder, not trying to improve their position in the table.
Ponting is again doing himself no favours with the public and the media with a chequered tournament that has seen his own performances fall below average. There was also the damaged dressing-room television incident, the on-field clash with Steve Smith against Canada, and a controversial dismissal and refusal to walk against Pakistan to add further fuel to the fire.
Even if Australia go on to win the World Cup, it seems that Ponting’s days as captain are well and truly numbered.
The supposed best side in Australia crashed and burned at the weekend at the hands of the Cheetahs from Blomfontein who won their first-ever game Down Under. A lacklustre New South Wales Waratahs team crumbled as the visitors put in a superb display to win 23-3 at the Sydney Football Stadium. As if the defeat wasn’t bad enough, the Sydney Morning Herald decided they would add to the doom and gloom by running one of the most cringe-worthy headlines of the year so far.
Perth’s Western Force overcame the Lions, who are now coached by their inaugural boss John Mitchell, 27-15 in Johannesburg with tries from Nick Cummins and Alfi Mafi. Even with star out half James O’Connor sinbinned for ten minutes in the second half, the Force put in a solid display to claim their first win of the year.
Saturday’s Australian derby between the Queensland Reds and the Melbourne Rebels couldn’t have been more one sided with the former cruising to a 53-3 win, running in seven unanswered tries. Wallabies star Quade Cooper was the man-of-the-match and proved to be an inspired choice as captain for my Super Rugby fantasy team.
In the weekend’s other games, the Crusaders beat the Highlanders, the Blues thrashed the Hurricanes, the Stormers downed the Bulls, and the Chiefs overcame the previously unbeaten Sharks.
The biggest car racing discipline in Australia, the V8 Supercars, is in full swing and the second round of the Championship saw teams head to Adelaide for the Clipsal 500. The event was attended by more 80,000 spectators who enjoyed a number of high quality races, with the lead changing more than 20 times in the final day’s main event.
Jamie Whincup of TeamVodafone claimed victory ahead of Rick Kelly of the Jack Daniels Racing team, with Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom in third.
The V8s are made up of 17 teams who are manufactured by either Holden or Ford and the 2011 calendar consists of 26 races which will take place between now and December. The round at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth has been reinstated this year thanks to a $5 million investment from the Western Australian Government following the meet’s absence in 2010.
For more information on V8 Supercars, check out this handy guide courtesy of Fox Sports.