England whitewashed Sri Lanka, winning all three T20Is and two ODIs, with the final one getting mercifully (from the Lions perspective, anyway) abandoned after the first innings due to rain. Sri Lanka has a lot of problems and will need a lot of things to happen to avoid missing the 2023 World Cup. England, meanwhile, is enjoying a remarkable run so far this international summer, having gone on to demolish Pakistan by 9 wickets in the first of three ODIs yesterday to start that series. Three T20Is with Pakistan will follow. Of course, the real test (well, Tests) will be against fellow Big Three opponent India right after this Pakistan series.
The Vitality Blast is starting to align into the quarterfinals teams, and Nottinghamshire is the clear favorite to take the #1 seed overall. Outlaws are 7-1-3-0 (yes, three ties – they are Notts, after all) and have 17 points to top Yorkshire in the North group and Kent in the South Group, each with 15 points. Other teams likely to make the quarters are my Somerset with 14, Surrey and Sussex each with 13, and Worcestershire with 12. Gloucestershire, Durham, Birmingham, and Essex are all on the bubble and will need a strong finish, which begins with eight games today. The quarters begin on August 24th.
The Charlotte Edwards Cup resumes today after a short hiatus. Thunder take on Sunrisers, with each currently tied with the other two teams in their group at 4 points apiece. Tomorrow, the other six teams play (Lightning v Central Sparks, South East Stars v Southern Vipers, Western Storm v Northern Diamonds). Vipers are the team to beat, having only lost one game in their short history in either this competition or the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 50-over games.
The County Championship is also coalescing into the Final Four (please don’t read this, NCAA!). My Somerset played a rain-soaked game with Leicestershire this week where neither team was bowled out and each team scored over 450 runs en route to a draw. Somerset had their bowling attack gutted in the middle of the game by the ECB so they could man the Pakistan series and had to improvise. That turned out not so well, to Somerset Twitter’s unending fury. They still lead Group 2 by five points over local rival Gloucestershire, with a final fixture with Surrey at the Oval coming up. Nottinghamshire lead Group 1 and Yorkshire lead Group 3. Notts has a tough game with Durham at Chester-le-Street to finish the regular season, and Yorkshire has the second Roses Match with Lancashire which will likely decide that group, since only two points separate them. Both of those teams seem on track to make the semifinals, so a four-day ball-blocking festival might break out in Scarborough to ensure a draw, although the ancient (and I mean ancient) rivalry between these two teams might preclude that.
Finally moving away from England, South Africa finished an exciting 3-2 T20I series triumph in the Caribbean against the Windies with a 25-run win at St. George’s. The Windies had fought back to 2-2 with a classic DJ Bravo 4-wicket bamboozling of the middle and bottom order of the Proteas for a 21-run victory a few days earlier.
The Windies women completed a 3-match sweep at home of the Pakistan women in T20Is and also won the first of five ODIs. Stefanie Taylor is a one-woman wrecking crew in this series. Her latest masterpiece was a 105* to finish the chase after she had taken 3 wickets in the first innings.
The logo above is of Minor League Cricket, which kicks off their initial championship season in 21 US cities on July 31st. All Things Cricket is very excited! I will be attending the Austin Athletics games, which will be held some 182 miles away from Austin in Pearland, TX. This is because Austin has no suitable facilities and the owner of Moosa Stadium stepped up and offered his facility. There are 27 teams, and a lot of the games will be on YouTube, so if you can read this, you can watch them. Details are at https://www.majorleaguecricket.com/minor-league-cricket/
So much cricket, and I only scratched the surface. Please comment below.