Chris Rattue: Sport’s winners and losers – Black Caps World Cup opener gets tougher and the real All Black winner

In his weekly Winners & Losers column, Chris Rattue looks at who came out on top, and who didn’t from the latest sports action.

WINNERS: Pakistan

The Black Caps’ opening T20 World Cup game has got even tougher, after their first-up opponents Pakistan demolished arch-rivals India.

The New Zealand cricket side tends to avoid the uglier side of world cricket, but a vitriolic reaction from some Pakistani cricket identities to the aborted tour there has added spice to Wednesday morning’s clash in Sharjah.

And as Kiwi spin bowler Ish Sodhi pointed out a few days ago, no one knows the UAE conditions like Pakistan, who have been forced to make it their home away from home in recent years because of security concerns in their homeland.

Pakistan’s opening 10-wicket World Cup victory was even more stunning considering they had lost to India in all 12 previous T20 and one day World Cup contests. Curse broken.

Pakistan won 11 straight T20 games in the UAE up until their last games there in 2018, including three wins over the Kiwis that year. Prior to the tournament, Pakistan had won 23 of 37 T20 matches in the UAE.

WINNER: Virat Kohli

The current climate between Pakistan and India is particularly bad, because of tragedies involving disputed territory.

And it can’t be easy, as an Indian cricket captain who has just been smashed by Pakistan.

But a smiling Kohli was all class after the 10-wicket T20 World Cup defeat, congratulating his opposite Babar Azam with a handshake and giving Mohammad Rizwan a hug.

Indian politicians had even called for the game to be called off in recent days.

Indian cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle also noted the great spirit between younger Pakistani players and retired legend MS Dhoni, a mentor for Kohli’s side.

“Beyond the hype and posturing, this is the true story of sport,” he wrote.

WINNERS: Courtney Duncan/New Zealand motocross.

There have been just five women world motocross champions since 2005 and two are Kiwis.

Courtney Duncan’s third straight title, to go with those won by a teenaged Katherine Prumm in 2006/07, means the country has won five of the 17 titles.

This is one bone-breaking sport.

Dunedin’s Duncan has overcome crashes earlier in her career to put a fabulous title-winning run together. Her latest victory was completed after suffering a recent finger fracture.

Prumm’s career was ended prematurely by crashes, including a horror training accident which broke her back in a few places. She won her first world title a few weeks after breaking a wrist.

A link between the two: all five Kiwi titles were on Kawasaki bikes.

Prumm – now Katherine Oberlin-Brown – became a high-performance sports psychologist.

LOSERS: Football Ferns

Surely it can’t get any worse, after being totally outclassed 5 – 1 by Olympic champions Canada. Or can it? We’ll find out in Wednesday’s rematch.

WINNER: Sam Whitelock

A reader points out that the Washington DC debacle involving the All Blacks trouncing a hapless American team came 10 years to the day (give or take a few hours) since the 2011 World Cup final victory over France at Eden Park.

The sole All Black survivor is lock Sam Whitelock who looks and sounds every inch a fine All Black captain even though – unlike his Crusader predecessors Richie McCaw and Kieran Read – it wasn’t always seen as part of his destiny.

If Whitelock retains the job for 2023, it shapes as the sixth consecutive World Cup in which the All Blacks are led by a Crusaders forward.

LOSER: Mils Muliana’s crazy prediction.

Look, I hate to pick on someone who has made a bold prediction, especially in rugby.

But long-time test back Muliaina appeared to lose his mathematical bearings at halftime when he predicted the All Blacks won go on to score 150 against the American Eagles.

As an aghast Jeff Wilson pointed out, that required 90 points in the second half. Wilson was more conservative, believing they might get to 120.

The All Blacks lost their mojo in the second spell and only just cracked the century mark.

LOSER: The Eagles

American Eagles coach Gary Gold said he was “devastated” by the size of his team’s loss to the All Blacks. This according to the Washington Post’s feature story on the match written by Jake Lourim, who is an editorial aide who normally covers high school sports for the paper.

WINNER: American Eagles halfback Nate Augspurger

Give that man a Super Rugby contract. He shone against the All Blacks. It would be great to have an American down under and might do more for their game than organising lopsided contests on home turf.

WINNER: Liverpool

A staggering 5 – 0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, a Mo Salah hat trick reinforcing claims that he is the best footballer in the world. The Independent newspaper, for one, gave him a 10 out of 10 match rating.

Source: Read Full Article