25th over: India 92-2 (Punam 39, Harmanpreet 32). Sciver brought back to replace Marsh. Keeps Punam honest, a decent shout for leg before. It’s going down, and then quickly realise that and don’t review. Mel Jones on radio complimentary of Sarah Taylor’s influence in preventing any wild referrals. Four singles, including another Punam ramp. We’re at the half-way mark. England were 103-3. Don’t yell at me, I know this means nothing. I’m just sharing.
24th over: India 88-2 (Punam 36, Harmanpreet 30). Oh that’s magnificent from Harmanpreet, the back pad along the ground, swinging with the straightest arms. The contact enough, landing in the grandstand, the chap in the front row putting down the catch. Second time she’s done that. Into the 30s. Nine from the Hartley over – the bowler she seems most keen to take on, much as she was the left-arm orthodox of Jess Jonassen on Thursday. She won’t need long to rip this game apart.
23rd over: India 79-2 (Punam 36, Harmanpreet 22). Marsh’s third over on the bounce where four singles have been added. Nothing more. Both sides probably happy enough with that. Three of those down the ground. A scoop too. Punam had a couple of goes at that now.
“It seems an obvious point to make but Jenny Gunn is a bit good, isn’t she?” James Higgott likes the England all-rounder’s work. “She fires them in, barrel straight, on target every time. She’s an automatic pick for me. I’m glad they’ve held a few of her overs back, keeping her powder dry for later.”
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22nd over: India 75-2 (Punam 34, Harmanpreet 20). Hartley encourages a Harmanpreet dance early in the over. As I tried to explain after her 171 the other day, you just have to hold your breathwhen she goes down the track like that. Each time is an event. It only gets her a single this time though. Two from it. Hartley doing plenty right here early on.21st over: India 73-2 (Punam 33, Harmanpreet 19). 75 for Duckworth Lewis at the end of this over. I raise this becuase we have a game with 20 overs now registered. They get four from the over, all risk-free, leaving them two runs short of that mark. But the point is, we have a smashing contest on our hands here. Especially with Harmanpreet now up and about. Get yourself in front of a TV. This is spot on. 20th over: India 69-2 (Punam 31, Harmanpreet 17). A mate of mine popped on the social media the other day that when his boy grows up he hopes he can keep like Sarah Taylor. She shows her unique game awareness again here, dancing around while Punam is mid-ramp. So close to gloving it, too. Oh but forget about that: Harmanpreet has just done her thing! Dance, stop prop, swing of the arms, connect, six! And a big’un! Nearly into the crowd, 20m beyond the actual boundary. On ABC TV in Australia overnight Gideon Haigh compared her posture to that of the iconic Victor Trumper image (that he’s literally written the book on, so he would know). Buckle up. 19th over: India 59-2 (Punam 28, Harmanpreet 10). Excellent little session since Raj was removed, England conceding 16 runs in 35 balls thereafter with Marsh’s set here conceding four. India helped by a legside wide. But it did give Taylor the chance to show off her mad skillz again behind the stumps.18th over: India 55-2 (Punam 27, Harmanpreet 8). Right, so it’s Hartley. We’ve seen her left-arm spin claim big wickets in this tournament, not least Meg Lanning. That was the game with the biggest crowd before this one, and she as ice cold under pressure. Here, she tosses it up to Harmanpreet from the get go, 45mph. Five high-quality dots before the Indian matchwinner goes sweeping to end the set. A single to square leg keeps her the strike. Big contest between those two coming up, surely.17th over: India 54-2 (Punam 27, Harmanpreet 7). Marsh giving it some air, encouraging both the drive. Harmanpreet doesn’t make great contact and it goes back to the bowler. Looked close to reaching her on the full. Not to be. Punam more convincing, out to deep point for a couple. Four from it. Time for a drink in the middle, with Alex Hartley ready to take the ball for the first time in England’s defence of 228 when they return. And for those on weather watch, it is very sunny. And we’re three overs away from “a game” as they say in DLS speak. On the radio, Lottie says England are “just in front.” 16th over: India 50-2 (Punam 24, Harmanpreet 6). Maiden for Jenny Gunn. Completed after a fantasic diving stop on the circle at cover to end the over. Didn’t quite catch who it was – maybe Beaumont. That’s what India did so well. The standard of fielding lifting for the final.
Football’s world governing body Fifa has released its full report into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
It comes after German newspaper Bild published extracts of a leaked copy of the report on Tuesday.
The 2014 report was authored by former Fifa independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia.
He quit in protest when the organisation only released a 42-page summaryof his document.
That version cleared Qatar and Russia of corruption allegations but was critical of the English Football Association’s conduct in the bidding process.
Fifa said its president Gianni Infantino had always intended to release the full document, which has more than 400 pages, but its former ethics chiefs had refused to publish it.
The former chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joachim Eckert, were replaced in May after completing four-year terms.
Speaking in October 2014, Eckert said: “Publishing the report in full would actually put the Fifa ethics committee and Fifa itself in a very difficult situation legally.”
Fifa said it had intended to discuss the release of the report at a meeting next month, but added: “As the document has been illegally leaked to a German newspaper, the new chairpersons have requested the immediate publication of the full report in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.
“For the sake of transparency, Fifa welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published.”
Why was the investigation started?
Garcia was appointed as Fifa’s independent ethics investigator in 2012 and asked to look into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process following claims of corruption around the bids.
They included allegations that disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling $5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.
Qatar vehemently denied votes were being bought and said Bin Hammam had not been acting in an official capacity.
Garcia spent two years investigating the claims and looked into all nine hosting bids – including one by the England FA.
Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating England as well as joint bids by the Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal.
At the same time, in December 2010, Qatar won the 2022 bid ahead of Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
What were the findings?
Fifa released a 42-page summary of Garcia’s final report in 2014. It cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing, ending any possibility of a re-vote for a new 2022 host.
However, the report said there were “certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals” – though Bin Hammam’s payments were judged to be for his personal political interests, not the 2022 bid.
Russia, meanwhile, was also cleared of any wrongdoing, though the investigation had “only a limited amount of documents available for review” because the Russian team’s computers had been destroyed.
The English FA was accused of acting improperly in trying to win votes and flouting bid rules, while Australia too received criticism.
What was the reaction?
While Russia and Qatar welcomed the report, the FA baulked at the criticism.
The man who led the investigation, Garcia, complained Eckert’s precis of his report was “erroneous”.
Eckert denied that, insisting of his published summary: “A lot of my report was word for word from the Garcia report.”
Garcia subsequently quit and Fifa’s critics said it showed the shortened, released report had been a “whitewash” and called for the full report to be released.
Almost three years later, they have got their wish.
Sarah Taylor has declared that she is “back, and ready to face the World Cup and the scrutiny that professional sport brings,” after taking a year-long break from the game to combat an anxiety condition.
Taylor, who is widely recognised as one of the most naturally talented female cricketers of her generation, took an indefinite break from cricket in the aftermath of last year’s World T20 in India. However, she was last week included in England’s 15-strong squad for the Women’s World Cup, which gets underway in just under a month’s time.
Her inclusion followed a successful reintegration into the England set-up during a recent training camp in the UAE, where she took the field in a practice match against Ireland, scoring 26 not out in the second of three warm-up wins.
“It’s been a tough 12 months and lots has been learned in that time,” Taylor said in an interview arranged by the ECB. “In terms of where I am with my cricket, I’m incredibly comfortable to be back playing and the girls have been absolutely brilliant. It’s just nice to be back around them and the fact that the World Cup is at home as well makes it extra special. To be back in time for the World Cup has been a hard journey but very worth it so far.”
Prior to her diagnosis, Taylor’s condition was so acute at times that she found herself running off the field of play to be sick, while she also struggled with day-to-day issues such as taking public transport. A course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helped her to overcome many of the most debilitating traits of her illness, although she does accept that the pressures and scrutiny of a home World Cup campaign will bring a whole new challenge.
“I don’t think we can shy away from the fact that in a World Cup there will be pressure,” she said. “Through what I’ve dealt with over the last 12 months I feel like I’m probably mentally strong enough to deal with those pressures. All I want to do is help someone else get through it, so I don’t think I’m any different to anyone else.
“To be honest, when I took that break I didn’t look too far ahead. I couldn’t. I was always told to not look too far in the future, to take it day by day and as it comes. Literally getting out of bed was the highlight of a day and then accept that doing something brilliant might mean walking outside, that was a tick in the box.
“To look towards the World Cup never even got into my head, it was never something I was striving for at the time, then all of a sudden I found myself wanting to train again and, like I said before, it actually benefitted my day-to-day learnings and my anxiety through that. Next thing I knew I was on a plane going to Abu Dhabi and that was a very last-minute decision.
Looking ahead to the World Cup itself, Taylor Is in no doubt about the team’s overall aim for the tournament. “Ultimately you want to win the tournament, don’t you?” she said. “But for me it’s literally just a case of day-by-day assessing where I am – anxiety-wise, cricket-wise, everything in my head. If not, what can we do to help me get through a training session, a game, everything like that.
“My success, from a very personal point of view, is obviously to perform and be consistent in my performances but flip that to the mental side of things and it’s about getting through the tour unscathed. I’m realistic that there probably will be some bumps but, actually, if I get through it I should look back and be completely proud of myself for doing it. I’m proud that I’ve even put myself out there to do it. I want to win as much as the next person – and I’m hoping that there’ll be success with my own mental health and we can see a trophy at the same time.”