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Archives for June 2009

Vaughan leaves lasting legacy

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Oliver Brett | 12:52 UK time, Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Generations from now, Michael Vaughan's place in English cricketing history will be defined by the epic, and frenetic 2005 Ashes series.

As four Test matches in succession reached climaxes of searing tension, somewhere - whether on the dressing room balcony or in his customary fielding position at mid-off - Vaughan remained calm, methodically plotting England's sole Test series success against Australia in their last 11 attempts.

And yet Vaughan was much more than the magician who turned Andrew Flintoff into a national hero that summer, the senior role model brave enough to let the then rookie Kevin Pietersen bat with unbridled exuberance, and the mentor who encouraged Simon Jones to produce swinging exocets that defied the laws of physics.

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No instant impact from Hauritz

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Oliver Brett | 15:30 UK time, Thursday, 25 June 2009

At a seaside ground so genteel that the man on the tannoy feels it is appropriate to offer a lady spectator best wishes on her 62nd birthday, Australia's Ashes preparations are beginning in earnest.

The ongoing four-day match at Hove against a near-enough full-strength Sussex side will not answer all the issues that must be addressed ahead of selection for the first Test in Cardiff, but it might show who's hot and who's not.

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On top of the world

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Ebony Rainford-Brent Ebony Rainford-Brent | 10:18 UK time, Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Wow! What can I say??? Two days after the final and I am still absolutely gobsmacked. The magnitude of what happened over the last few days hadn't really sunk in until at breakfast yesterday, there was Lottie (Charlotte Edwards) on the front page of the Times newspaper holding the World Twenty20 trophy. I nearly choked.

The feel of the tournament as a whole was really different to the World Cup in Sydney as being at home meant we felt the full impact our success is having on all areas, from media coverage to the level of interest in our sport.

The support we received has been fantastic - well wishes from Gordon Brown and David Cameron and some of the England boys really kept us going and being able to fill up Taunton in the group matches and getting good sized crowds for the semi and final at The Oval and Lord's was great.

Hearing the chants for England every time we took a wicket sent chills down my back and was definitely a far cry from a few of the chants I remember a few years ago of 'Get back in the kitchen!'

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New-look Aussies out to take Ashes chance

Anna Thompson - BBC Sport journalist | 07:45 UK time, Tuesday, 23 June 2009

It's finally here. After England's early summer curtain-raiser Test series against West Indies and the entertaining two-week ICC World Twenty20 to whet the appetite of cricket lovers, there are only two words in town now - the Ashes.

On 8 July the battle between England and Australia begins in Cardiff, but will it be an epic contest like the 2005 series which felt like two heavyweight boxers slugging it out for 12 rounds?

Time will tell but what is not in doubt is both England and Australia have undergone major transformations since then.

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England confirm their champion status

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Alison Mitchell Alison Mitchell | 19:04 UK time, Sunday, 21 June 2009

England's women are double world champions following a six-wicket win over New Zealand at Lord's, adding the World Twenty20 title to the 50-over crown they won in March .

As captain Charlotte Edwards said to me at the end of the game, they've proved that their World Cup victory in Sydney was no fluke, and they've confirmed to the world that they are indeed the number one team in the women's game.

Add to that the fact that they hold the Ashes (to be contested again later this summer) and this England side is the most dominant ever.

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World Twenty20 team of the tournament

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Oliver Brett | 14:48 UK time, Sunday, 21 June 2009

Concentrated into just over two weeks of intense seat-of-your pants cricket, the second edition of the ICC World Twenty20 saw many individual reputations enhanced, while other big names left barely a dent in the memory banks.

Here is my team of the competition, selected from the best players across all competing teams, and - as you will doubtless question why some people are missing - I have added a second XI as well.

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My World Twenty20 predictions

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Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 18:32 UK time, Wednesday, 17 June 2009

After a highly eventful 12 days at Trent Bridge, the Oval and Lord's the ICC World Twenty20 is reaching its climax over the next few days with the semi-finals and finals in both the men's and women's competition.

BBC Radio will have ball-by-ball commentary on all the remaining six games starting with the first women's semi-final between New Zealand and India from Trent Bridge on Thursday with Five Live Sports Extra's coverage starting at 1245 BST.

Then join Jonathan Agnew and Arlo White on Five Live Sports Extra and Radio Four long wave from 1715 BST for commentary on Pakistan against the favourites South Africa.

Geoff Lawson, who coached Pakistan to the final of the competition two years ago, will be part of our team at Trent Bridge.

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Perfect setting for semi-final

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Ebony Rainford-Brent Ebony Rainford-Brent | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 17 June 2009

So we're through to the Twenty20 semi-finals and will be playing at The Oval on Friday - for me, it's the perfect setting, my home ground, right where I grew up.

I know it's going to be a top-class wicket which should allow us to show off our skills before the men's game later in the afternoon.

We beat Pakistan by 60-odd runs in our final group game but didn't perform anywhere near our best and to get through to the final on Sunday we know we'll have to play much better against the Australians.

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England face up to Aussies

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Alison Mitchell Alison Mitchell | 22:22 UK time, Tuesday, 16 June 2009

So it's a clash of the old enemy as we have an England v Australia semi-final in the Women's World Twenty20.

The line-up for the semis was confirmed on Tuesday when the Aussies beat a spirited South Africa by 24 runs to finish runners up of Group A and England finished undefeated as winners of Group B with a 63-run victory over Pakistan at Taunton.

They'll play each other at The Oval at 1300 BST on Friday - a day which could have seen God Save the Queen played out twice in one day, had Messers Duckworth and Lewis not had their wicked way with Paul Collingwood's side. The second men's semi follows immediately after at 1730.

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The Ashes Years - part 2

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Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 07:00 UK time, Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Five Live's "The Ashes Years" series continues on Tuesday from 2100 BST, with the emphasis moving from 1981 to England's victories in 1985 and Down Under in 1986/87.

You may have read how "Botham's Ashes" was the series that converted me from being a casual cricket fan into a cricket obsessive - but, to be honest, for me it is the summer of 1985 for which I have the fondest memories.

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England World Twenty20 player ratings

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Oliver Brett | 21:46 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

England crashed out of the ICC World Twenty20 against West Indies after a dramatic night at the Oval. Having beaten India on Sunday, this time they left their bowlers with a bit too much to do.

It was a decent enough showing overall from the hosts, despite two poor performances against the Dutch and South Africa - and these are my ratings out of 10 for the players. Feel free to agree or disagree.

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The Ashes Years

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Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 12:10 UK time, Sunday, 14 June 2009

During the summer of 1981 I was probably the only nine-year-old in Britain annoyed when Bob Willis bowled England to a miraculous victory at Headingley to level the Ashes series.

You see my older brother was supporting England and therefore of course I had to go for the opposition. After the opening Test matches at Trent Bridge and Lord's it appeared my faith in Kim Hughes's side was well-placed and when England were forced to follow on in Leeds, I felt sure that bragging rights in the Mountford household would at last belong to me.

What followed of course has now gone down in sporting history as England's incredible fightback at Headingley, dramatic victory in Birmingham and subsequent Ashes-clinching success at Old Trafford turned me, as I'm sure it did many other nine-year-olds, from being a casual cricket watcher to being a cricket obsessive.

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World Twenty20 hotting up

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Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 22:49 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

It was certainly an eventful group phase of the ICC World Twenty20 with one of the greatest upsets in cricket history as the Netherlands humbled hosts England, plus Australia crashing out of the tournament following defeats by a revitalised West Indies and an impressive Sri Lanka.

After all that Ireland's progression to the later stages of another ICC World Tournament seemed almost routine.

This World Twenty20 may not be liked by everyone, but there is something thrilling about seeing most of the greatest players on the planet performing over such a compact period of time. Already there have been so many highlights and so many amazing performances with the improvisation of Tillakaratne Dilshan, the big-hitting of Chris Gayle and the mystery of Ajantha Mendis my personal favourites.

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More competitive, more positive, fewer overs

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Ebony Rainford-Brent Ebony Rainford-Brent | 18:45 UK time, Monday, 8 June 2009

It's really good to be back with the girls again. Although we have trained and played warm-up games together, there is always a buzz and excitement when you meet up as a group for the start of a tournament.

Following on from the World Cup there is a mixture of feelings. Obviously we hope to take as much as possible that led to the team's success down under, but we are also very aware this is a totally different format of the game and a completely fresh start.

Therefore if we intend to be successful we need to approach this with as much or even more intensity and discipline.

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England get through with sheer guts

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Oliver Brett | 06:15 UK time, Monday, 8 June 2009

There is a phrase much loved by Andrew Strauss when England lurch from one hideous defeat to a glorious victory a few days later. He says: "We can be a bit Jekyll and Hyde in one-day cricket".

Well, if that's the case, the experience of this opening weekend in what could be a draining tournament for England fans has proved that in Twenty20 cricket the metaphor applies even more accurately.

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England left to absorb shocking defeat

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Oliver Brett | 21:22 UK time, Friday, 5 June 2009

There have been some stunning results by England's opponents on the hallowed turf of Lord's over the past century and a bit.

But this one, in the ICC World Twenty20 opener, by the Netherlands in their dayglo orange kit, and on a bleak, showery night, knocks spots off all the others.

And doesn't it just seem ever-so-slightly farcical now that England had begun to feel quietly confident about winning back the Ashes later this summer?

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