World Sports 2014: All but FIFA

While the FIFA World Cup continues to roar in Brazil, a lot of exciting developments have taken place in other sporting areas. Of course, fans continue to train their eyes on the happenings in Brazil and rightly so, with the World Cup starting as one of the most exciting football tournaments in the last decade.
Here, we give you a lowdown on what else is happening across the globe, and the results you may have missed while going giddy over Neymar and Messi.

 

 

CRICKET
England v/s Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Lords
Result: DRAW
This match ended up as a draw, but in spirit, it was anything but one. A match between two struggling test nations, this was supposed to be England’s opportunity to hit back after a disastrous year where their best player has been forced to retire. A loss in the ODI series against Sri Lanka didn’t go down well with the crowd, and England started strongly at Lords led by Root—who scored his first double century when they piled on 575 in the first innings. There was only going to be an England victory or high scoring draw from here on, and all signs were to the latter as Lanka managed to pile on more than 450 with centuries from Sangakkara (again) and Mathews. The second innings was a different match on its own, with England struggling to 267 with a Ballance century and giving Sri Lanka an unlikely target of 390. If not for Ballance, Lanka would have been back in it, but now they had to bat for a draw and survive a whole day of cricket.

And survive they barely did, in a drama-filled last over, where every known factor combined to give Lanka a pulsating draw with 9 wickets down and Herath probably making one of the biggest mistakes of his career. He didn’t challenge when caught behind—his hand off his handle when the ball hit it—and walked off, leaving the last pair to face 4 balls. Last man Pradeep was given out of the penultimate ball LBW, but immediately reviewed to confirm a nick and break English hearts. That was it, as two teams gave their all and one almost came up short.

Bangladesh v/s India (ODI SERIES)

Result: India take an unassailable 2-0 lead
Bangladesh fans were irritated after India decided to send a second string side to take on the tigers in their own den. The fact is that Bangladesh had failed to win an ODI all year, and surely, against a Raina-led team, they were expected to sweep the series. But destiny had other ideas. In a rain-drenched two games, it was Uthappa and Rahane that led the team in the first game to chase down a stiff target (that became 150 off 26 overs), while in the second game, all hell broke loose. India were bowled out for 107 before Binny came on and reduced Bangladesh from 40-2 to 58 all out, and broke the record for the best EVER bowling figures by an Indian in ODIs with 6-4 in 4 overs. Astounding figures, considering his slow medium-pace, but even more astonishing was the home team’s lack of resolve with the bat. Captain Rahim apologized for the ‘shameful’ performance, but it is too little too late as they fight again only for pride in the last match.


West Indies v/s New Zealand (TEST SERIES)

New Zealand demolished the hosts by 186 runs in the first test. But the Windies have come back strongly in the second so far, bowling the visitors out for 221 before piling on 310-5, with centuries from out-of-form Darren Bravo and Brathwaite.

 

FORMULA ONE
While the news of legend Michael Schumacher inspired his national football team to destroy Portugal 4-0 on the same day, Australian Daniel Riccardio pulled off his maiden win in Canada to end (temporarily) Mercedes domination after 6 races. Rosberg managed second and extended his lead over Hamilton in the Championship, but it was Riccardio and not Vettel to give defending champions Red Bull their first victory of the season. This was against the run of flow, breathing fresh air into a championship that was fast becoming a showdown between drivers of one team. Make no mistake, it is still the Silver Arrow that is the team to beat, with 6 wins out of 7 races, but it’s good to see a young rookie make inroads despite having a more illustrious (4-time World Champion) teammate.


HOCKEY WORLD CUP 2014

Australia defeated hosts Netherlands 6-1 in the final to win the tournament for the third time. Argentina finished third, claiming their first ever World Cup podium finish. The dominant Australians won every game they played, winning all 5 of their group stage games before destroying Argentina in the semis 5-1. Mark Knowles ended up as the player of the tournament. India, meanwhile, finished only above Malaysia in their group, putting in another disappointing second-from-last performance at a major tournament.
NBA FINALS
The San Antonio Spurs routed defending Champions Miami heat 4-1 in the finals to win its 5th NBA title. Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was named MVP, snapping Lebron James’ streak of MVP wins, pushing his team to 4 wins with more than 15 points each.

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