close

The Sports Express

FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – September

Cover

Cricket

  • The Indian Premier League started on the 19th of September with all matches being played in 3 stadiums in the UAE; Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in front of no crowds. Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Mumbai Indians got off to strong starts with the early matches having notable performances including KL Rahul’s 132 runs off just 69 deliveries for Kings XI Punjab against RCB, Rahul Tewatia’s unforgettable cameo including 5 sixes off one Sheldon Cottrell over propelling Rajasthan Royals to a record-breaking run chase against Kings XI Punjab as well as the emergence of young players such as Devdut Padikkal, Priyam Garg, Shubman Gill and Sam Curran.
  • The Sri Lanka- Bangladesh 3 test match series that was scheduled to be played in October has been indefinitely postponed after the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and the Bangladesh Cricket Board disagreed on quarantine requirements.
  • The Lankan Premier League which was originally scheduled for the 14th of November was pushed back one week to the 21st of November as the original dates did not allow for the Covid-19 quarantine period
  • England and Australia played a T20I and ODI series with the T20I series finishing 2-1 in favour of England while the ODI series was won by Australia by the same margin. The series was memorable for England snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the 2nd ODI, after strong lower-order performances propelled them to a reasonable total before Australia collapsed from a strong position and a mammoth partnership between Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell taking Australia to a series victory in the deciding ODI.
  • Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy, the First Class Tournament that replaced the County Championship for this year. Essex drew with Somerset in the 5-day final at Lord’s, winning the championship on account of scoring more runs in the first innings on the back of an Alistair Cook century. This loss means that Somerset’s wait for a domestic First Class trophy continues, with the club not having won the county championship since acquiring first class status in 1895, despite coming close on numerous occasions
  • England Women and West Indies women took part in a 5-match T20I series with England Women running out 5-0 winners with strong performances from Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Sarah Glenn

Football

  • The Premier League got underway on the 12th of October, with Liverpool emerging 4-3 victors in the opening match against newly-promoted Leeds. After the first 3 weeks, Everton has emerged as a surprisingly strong team buoyed by new signings, especially that of 2014 world cup star, James Rodriguez. Other notable signings included Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon arriving at Tottenham Hotspur, Donny Van Der Beek to Manchester United and Thiago Alacantara to Liverpool
  • The 2020/21 La Liga season also got underway. Barcelona were able to keep star player Lionel Messi even after he had expressed a desire to leave the club but was unwilling to enter into a legal battle with the club regarding his contract. Atletico Madrid strengthened their team by the arrival of Luis Suarez. After the month of September, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have all got off to reasonable starts.
  • The 2020/21 Serie A season started with Juventus under new manager, Andrea Pirlo aiming to win their 10th consecutive title. Inter Milan under Antonio Conte will hope to be title challengers along with Napoli.
  • The Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-German and Olympique Marseille, dubbed ‘Le Classique’ for the rivalry between the teams ended in a surprise 1-0 victory to Marseille. The result was marred by an on-field brawl which saw 5 red cards shown, including one for PSG star player, Neymar
  • The 2020/21 UEFA Nations League got underway with defending Champions Portugal getting their title defence underway with a 4-1 victory over Croatia

Cycling

Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia became the youngest winner of the Tour de France since 1904, and the first winner to be on debut since 1983. He achieved this feat by overhauling pre-race favourite and countryman, Primoz Roglic on the time trial on the penultimate day of the race in an incredible performance.

F1

  • The FIA imposed a rule on teams that they can use only one engine mode from the start of qualifying till the end of the race which will be from the Italian GP. 
  • This was done in order to slow the Mercedes team down and close up the Pack.
  • Gasly wins the Italian GP for Alpha Tauri with Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll finishing as 2nd and 3rd respectively.
2020 Italian Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference | GRAND PRIX 247
  • The Tuscan GP was next and it was the 1000th Grand Prix race for Ferrari with Ferrari running a special livery for the race and the iconic safety car also getting a colour change from Silver to Red.
  • It was announced that Sergio Perez will not be racing with Racing Point (Aston Martin from next season) and Sebastian Vettel will be taking his seat.
  • Lewis Hamilton won the Tuscan Gp with Valterri Bottas 2nd and Alex Albon getting 3rd and his first F1 career podium with it.
  • The Tuscan GP was also a race we saw having multiple red flags, with a safety car restart going wrong for the drivers behind the pack and creating a massive crash involving 4 cars. Luckily no one was injured.
  • The last race of the month was the Russian GP. Lewis Hamilton was given 2×5 second penalties for doing practice starts outside the designated area. Which made the race of his teammate a bit easier and since his win on the season opener, Valtteri Bottas collected his 2nd win of the season
  • With the Russian GP, standings were as follows. Lewis Hamilton has a 44 point lead over his teammate and Valtteri Bottas has a 33 Point lead on Max Verstappen. As for the constructor’s standings, Mercedes is very clear of any potential threat from a rival team getting their place on top with a 174 point lead to their closest rival Redbull Racing.
Mick Schumacher to debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 at the Eifel GP - TV6  News
  • As for the rumours Mick Schumacher son of the 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher might be in for a seat at a Ferrari powered car next season, probably in Alfa Romeo.
  • On F1 records, Lewis Hamilton is just 1 race win short of matching the all-time win record of 91 wins currently held by Michael Schumacher.

Tennis

Dominic Them became the first male player born after 1990 to win a grand slam, beating Alexander Zverev in the US Open final. Pre-tournament favourite Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the quarter-finals after hitting a line judge. In the women’s tournament, Naomi Osaka won her 3rd grand slam and 2nd US open title after defeating former world number 1, Victoria Azarenka.

read more
FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – August

Sports express august cover

Cricket

  • The England vs Pakistan test series took place during the month of August. In the first test match, Pakistan batted first and achieved a first-innings lead of 107, courtesy of a Shan Masood century before collapsing in the second innings and leaving England a chase of 277, which they achieved with 3 wickets left, mainly due to a crucial partnership between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes. Both the next two matches were rain-affected draws with the 3rd test match notable for Zak Crawley’s epic 267, as well as James Anderson, becoming the 4th bowler overall and the 1st pacer to reach the milestone of 600 test match wickets. England won the series 1-0. Jos Buttler and Mohammed Rizwan were named man of the series
  • The T20I series between the two countries ended in a 1-1 draw as the first match was washed out, the second was won by England before Pakistan won the 3rd match. Mohammed Hafeez was named man of the series.
  • The Lankan Premier League was postponed after Sri Lanka Cricket was unable to get government permission to hold the tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket expects to hold the tournament later in the year.
  • The Caribbean Premier League got underway with all matches being played in Trinidad in only 2 stadiums; The Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium and Queen’s Park Oval. All matches would take place behind closed doors. At the end of August, Trinibago Knight Riders remain top of the table, winning all their matches.
  • Thabang Moroe, CEO of Cricket South Africa was fired with immediate effect after being suspended nine months earlier. The South African Cricket administration is facing scrutiny after financial mismanagement as well as recent accounts of black and coloured players recalling unfavourable experiences while playing for the national team
  • Dinesh Chandimal posted the highest score in Sri Lankan domestic cricket history with 354* for Army Sports Club against Saracens Sports Club, breaking the previous record held by Kithruwan Vithanage. Colombo Cricket Club had secured the championship of the Premier League Tier A Tournament at this point. Lahiru Udara of NCC finished as the highest overall run-scorer while Duvindu Tilakaratne of BRC was the highest wicket-taker. Moors Sports Club secured the Plate League
  • India which was scheduled to host the 2021 ICC World Twenty20 tournament retained hosting rights while the 2020 tournament, scheduled to be held in Australia but which was postponed due to the pandemic was pushed to 2022. The ICC Women’s ODI World Cup scheduled to be held in New Zealand in 2021 was also postponed to 2022

Football

  • The UEFA Champions League resumed in the month of August with all matches ( except the round of 16 ties not yet completed ) to be played at neutral venues in Lisbon, Portugal. Atlanta advanced into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history and RB Leipzig made it into the semis for the very first time, both teams eventually getting knocked out by PSG. Bayern Munich became the first time to score 8 goals in a Champions League knockout game, defeating Barcelona 8-2 before beating Lyon in the semi-finals to set up a final against PSG. The final at the Estadio Da Luz was decided by a Kingsley Coman goal as Bayern Munich won the title for the 7th time in their history, winning all their games in the process. Robert Lewandowski finished as the top scorer
  • The defeat to Bayern Munich caused huge consequences at Barcelona, with the coach, Quique Setien as well as the Sporting Director, Eric Abidal being sacked by the club before star player Lionel Messi also expressed his desire to leave the club.
  • The UEFA Europa League also came to an end with all knockout matches from the quarter-finals onwards being played at neutral venues in Germany. Sevilla and Inter Milan defeated Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively in the semi-finals. The final was held at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne and Sevilla won 3-2, following a Romelu Lukaku own goal in the 75th minute. Sevilla won the Europa League title for a record 6th time with Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United finishing as the top scorer ( he also scored for Sporting CP in the tournament )
  • Arsenal won the FA Cup for the 14th time, defeating Manchester City 2-1 in the final thanks to a double from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.  
  • Manchester City had their 2-year ban on playing European Football due to breaching Financial Fair Play(FFP) regulations overturned by the Court of Arbitration of Sport after they found that UEFA had insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the conclusions that resulted in the ban.
  • Ligue 1 became one of the first European football leagues to resume for the 2020/21 season, starting on the 21st of August.
  • Manchester United captain and England international Harry Maguire was arrested while on holiday in Greece after reportedly assaulting police. He was found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest and given a suspended prison sentence of 21 months which he is appealing against stating that he is innocent of all charges.

Athletics

  • Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda broke the 16 year world record of Kenenisa Bekele in the 5000m, a record which was previously thought to be near unbreakable, He achieved this at the Monaco Diamond League posting a time of 12:35:36, beating the previous record by almost 2 seconds.
  • Karsten Warholm ran the second-fastest 400m hurdles of all time in Stockholm with a time of 46.87 seconds, only behind Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 set at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

F1

  • The British GP was held in Silverstone where we saw a lot of tyre failures occur at the end of the race with Lewis Hamilton winning the race with just 3 wheels, Max Verstappen 2nd and a very lucky Charles Leclerc in 3rd after Bottas had a tyre failure.  
  • During the British GP, Sergio Perez was tested positive with Covid-19 and had to sit out of 2 races which made the German driver Nico Hulkenburg to race for the Racing point team.
  • The following week the 70th anniversary GP was held at Silverstone again where F1 had their 1st F1 race back in 1950.
  • The tyre supplier Pirelli made the choice to go with softer tyres in spite of the failures in the last GP and it made a very interesting race with people doing 2 and 3 stops to make it to the end.
  • Max Verstappen won the race ahead of the two Mercedes, becoming the first winner of the season who was not in a Mercedes car.
  • Next up was the Spanish GP held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where F1 pre-season testing happens in the month of February.
  • Max Verstappen managed to split the two Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton collecting another win.
  • After a week’s rest for F1 after a Tripleheader, F1 came to Belgium on the stunning track of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. 
  • Lewis Hamilton took another win with his teammate finishing 2nd and Max Verstappen in 3rd.
  • In off-track news, Bottas to stay at Mercedes till 2021 while Lewis Hamilton says it’s not a good time to negotiate such a huge deal.
  • Vettel and Ferrari are not having the greatest time as there seem to be flames between the two parties. 
  • All the teams signed the concord agreement to have equal budgets in developing the car.
  • Williams team was sold to a private investment company but the contract agrees to race with the legendary name
  • FIA put out a new rule banning engine modes and from the Italian GP onwards only one single engine mode should be used from Qualification to the end of the race.
  • F1 announces the final calendar for 2020 with races in Portugal, Turkey and two races in Baharin with the second being on the outer circuit of the track (We will see sub 1 minute laps) with Abu Dhabi being the season finisher for 2020 on December 13th.
read more
FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – July

cover

Cricket

  • Live cricket returns with the England vs West Indies series.
  • Ben Stokes becomes England’s 81st test match captain after Joe Root is unavailable for the game due to the birth of his son.
  • West Indies win the first test match to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
  • In the second test match, England fights back through a Ben Stokes century to level the series 1-1.
  • In the series decider, Kemar Roach becomes the first West Indies bowler in 26 years to reach the milestone of 200 test match wickets.
  • Stuart Broad becomes just the 7th bowler in history to reach the milestone of 500 test match wickets after dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite in the second innings.
  • England wins the deciding test match to regain the Wisden trophy with a 2-1 scoreline.
  • The ICC ODI Super League is launched, 1 12-team competition with the top 7 teams gaining direct qualification to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. The first series in the league between England and Ireland is starting on the 30th of July.
  • The ICC decides to postpone the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup to 2021.
  • The IPL will be starting on the 19th of September and will be hosted by the UAE.
  • Sri Lanka Cricket announces the launch of the Lankan Premier League, starting on the 28th of August.

Football

  • Real Madrid wins La Liga for the 34th time after defeating Villarreal 2-1.
  • La Liga ends for the season with Real Madrid as the champions. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla qualify for the Champions League. Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Granada qualify for the Europa League while Leganes, Mallorca and Espanyol are relegated.
  • Liverpool wins the league title for the first time since 1990, and for the very first time in the Premier League era.
  • The Premier League ends with Liverpool as the champions, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea earning Champions League qualification. Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for the Europa League while Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth are relegated.
  • PSG win the Coupe de France, defeating St.Etienne 1-0 in the final. However, Kylian Mbappe is injured ruling him out for 3 weeks.
  • Juventus win the Serie A title for the 9th year in a row, defeating Sampdoria 2-0.
  • The Ballon D’Or is cancelled for the year 2020 with no player being awarded the title for the year.
  • Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 2004 with West Bromwich Albion joining them in the top flight.

F1

  • July 5 – 2020 Formula 1 season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix.
  • July 5 – The Austrian GP was held at the Redbull Ring, Valtteri Bottas won from pole position with Charles Leclerc 2nd and the first time podium sitter Lando Norris 3rd.
  • July 13 – The Styrian GP was held at the Redbull Ring. It was the first time ever in F1 history that a Grand Prix was held at the same track twice on the same season. Lewis Hamilton collected his first win of the season in pole position with his teammate and possible main championship rival Valtteri Bottas finishing 2nd with Max Verstappen finishing 3rd.
  • July 19 – The Hungarian GP was held in the Hungaroring in Budapest. The race started with a damp track with Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz getting great off the line starts and the Haas team making a good gamble changing from wet tyres to mediums before the start of the race. The podium positions were, Hamilton 1st, Verstappen 2nd and Bottas 3rd.
  • The US, Mexican and Brazillian GPs have been cancelled.
  • F1 announces 3 races in Italy, F1 returns to the Nurburgring.
  • Fernando Alonso comes back from retirement.

Olympics

  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics which were scheduled to be held in this month has been postponed to 2021.
read more