VAMOS RAFA

The final of US OPEN 2019 was yet again a perfect example to depict the kind of champion Rafael Nadal has been over the years. The sheer grit and tenacity of the man was once again on display much to the delight of the capacity crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium as well as Tennis fans across the globe. He had to dig deep and fight valiantly till the very end and his relentless attitude served him well as it has over the course of his illustrious career.

Medvedev and Nadal at the start of the match

Nadal was up against a formidable and in-form opponent in Daniil Medvedev who stretched Rafa to the limits in the epic five set final that lasted close to 5 hours. Rafa took the first two sets and was well on his way to running away with the match but Medvedev fought back brilliantly to take the match into the fifth set. Medvedev who was booed throughout the tournament by the New York crowd won many a hearts in the final with the kind of skill set he showcased against one of the all time greats the sport has ever seen. Nadal has just lost one match in his entire career after winning the first two sets and was in no mood to let that change. He went on to take the fifth set and with that won the US OPEN 2019 FINAL 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4. The occasion got the better of Nadal as he broke down in tears after the match and admitted that “This has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career.”

Nadal with the US OPEN trophy

This win took him within touching distance of Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam wins as this was his 19th Grand Slam victory. It has been a remarkable effort by Rafa owing to his debilitating knee pain over the course of his career. He seems to be fitter and hungrier than ever to leave the demons behind and go on to be the greatest of all times. The passion that drives Rafa is so infectious. Merely watching him perform is a fan’s delight and surely this five set triumph just added to his legend.

HEIST AT HEADINGLEY

Running out of superlatives to describe that innings from Ben Stokes. The context in which he got England through to victory was nothing short of sensational. One can’t think of the kind of impact he has had on World Cricket over the past couple of months. He has been the shining star in the English summer. From his World Cup heroics to the Ashes saving innings he has grown leaps and bounds as a cricketer and his stature has risen to another level. To leave the horrific shadows of 2016 T20 World Cup Final in India where he conceded 24 runs in the final over which resulted in England losing the epic clash against West Indies and to being where he is at the moment personifies the character of the man. His sheer grit and indomitable spirit helped England level the series 1-1 with two matches to play.

Stokes exults after hitting the winning runs

This loss will haunt Australia for a long time as they were the firm favourites after bundling out England for a paltry 67 runs in the first innings. England faced an uphill task of scoring 359 runs in the fourth innings and the openers managed to contribute just 15 runs. It was left to two Joe’s to resurrect the innings, they survived a wonderful spell of pace bowling by the Aussie quicks and stitched a 126 run partnership for the third wicket to keep England in the game. Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow looked to run away with the game as they had a 86 run stand for the fifth wicket but soon after lunch on Day4 things changed dramatically as England was reduced to 286/9. Australia were just 1 wicket away from retaining the Ashes but Ben Stokes had other plans. He started to farm the strike and in between hit some delectable shots much to the delight of the capacity crowd at Headingley. Some of the outrageous shots he hit included a switch hit for six off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. More drama unfolded with just 2 runs left as Lyon couldn’t grab the ball to run out Leach and the very next ball there was a l.b.w. decision that went against Australia which replays showed was crashing into the stumps. Australia only had themselves to blame as they wasted the review on Leach that too on a ball that was clearly pitching outside leg stump and they ran out of reviews from there on. After what transpired in the closing stages of the match it seemed that England were destined to win.

This win has now made this Ashes series even more interesting with two matches to play. England can breathe a sigh of relief for now but have a lot of work to do if they want to win the series at home as Australia looks a better balanced side especially after Steve Smith set to return for the next game. This Ashes series has once again proved why Test Cricket is at the pinnacle of this beautiful game of Cricket.

IMPRESSIONS OF A SELF PROCLAIMED CONNOISSEUR

Super excited to kick start a new innings as i foray and delve into the world of blogging. This was something that i have been procrastinating for a while now and I’m elated that i finally decided to take action as i write my first post.

Now, I understand that one would be intrigued as to why name it : lifein22yardsandbeyond; well simply because that’s what sums me up as a person. Being an ardent Cricket fan and a humble student of the game, I have learned many a life lessons in those revered 22 yards on the Cricket field. Fitness, Health and Nutrition have been the natural offshoots emanating from the Cricketing background. Apart from this i occasionally pen down my thoughts in the form of a poem when the creative juices are flowing high. Recently i have realized the magic of turning inward and that is where the Spiritual part comes in.

So be with me in the coming times as i share my thoughts on a variety of topics and enthrall you all with great content.