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  • 13 Aug
    导出博客文章T20 Finals Day: a long days journey into a floodlit evening of fireworks and
    fanfare.T20 Finals Day: three hefty dollops of disappointment, one massive
    plateful of joy. The first three are staggered through the day; the joy is
    celebrated until light seeps under the door of night on a Sunday morning in
    BirminghamT20 Finals Day 2016: short form, short showers and the beguiling
    transience of fame. Twelve months ago Gavin Griffiths and George Edwards were in
    the Lancashire side that won the Blast. Late last month both players were told
    they were being released. As Northants and Notts warmed up in early morning, it
    really was not cheesy to hope that a similar fate does not befall any of the
    players from the four teams competing this year.Losing the first semi-final of
    the T20 is a bit like arriving at a party, putting your bottle on the table and
    then being told that its already time to leave. And well before three oclock it
    was the Outlaws who had been handed their coats. Some of Dan Christians players
    may have got home by the time the final was due to start.Mick Newell was sitting
    in that early press conference all four coaches wanted to avoid and bemoaning
    the failure of his batsmen to chase down 162. One of the many good things about
    Newell is that he does not wrap truth in euphemism: he had no problem about
    selecting Dré Russell because the bloke had been playing in ICC competitions;
    Notts were in a relegation battle at the bottom of Division One because they had
    not been playing well enough. Already Newell was thinking about Scarborough on
    Tuesday when Nottinghamshire will play Yorkshire.Most people have long since
    ceased being surprised by Northants short-form cricket. Alex Wakelys men have
    always punched above their weight, a particularly fine achievement in their
    case. All the same, their victory against the Outlaws was a considerable coup,
    not least because they had lost both Richard Gleeson and Seekkuge Prasanna from
    their full-strength T20 side. So while it was difficult to work out who Outlaws
    would leave out, it was also a little tricky to decide who the Steelbacks would
    call on.Northants had played Notts in seven previous T20 matches and had won
    none of them. They ended that miserable run partly, as Newell said, because
    Notts top order performed poorly, but also because Ben Duckett played an innings
    littered with invention. It would be interesting to work out how many of
    Ducketts 11 fours and two sixes had a place in any of the coaching manuals
    written five years ago.Certainly not the inside-edged fours, of course, and it
    would be a modern cricket book that would include details of the reverse pull,
    the scoop or the ramp. Yet Duckett played all of these as easefully if they were
    off-drives, his bat describing exotic curves even as the ball came towards him.
    DArtagnan.The Northants scorecard looked a little like that you find when a club
    side imports a couple of county professionals: one bloke made 84, another 53 and
    no one else more than 8. This was ironic really, since the Northants coach,
    David Ripley, rightly makes much of the fact that all his players contribute to
    their successesFor all that it was blessed by good fortune in its early stages,
    Ducketts innings was touched by genius yet it was not the most spectacular
    cricket seen in the semi-finals. That honour belonged to Mark Wood, whose
    four-over spell transcended any context and reminded one that a truly quick
    bowler in full cry is one of the greatest sights in the game. For many Durham
    supporters Ballance ct Collingwood b Wood 0 will always be one of the great
    dismissals, a reminder of a great catch at leg gully and a fast bowler in his
    pomp.Mediocre? I think not.Still, of course, we were nothing like done.
    Edgbaston is rarely shown to better advantage than when it hosts the T20 final,
    even when the occasion is punctuated with showers. But no one seemed to mind
    about the rain. Keaton Jennings played an innings as orthodox as Ducketts had
    been unconventional. His booming straight sixes were toasted by one line of
    dancing men wearing tennis gear from the 1950s and another group who felt an
    overpowering need to watch the cricket dressed as soldiers from the days of the
    Raj. Look, stranger on this island, now.Northants needed 154. The crowd waited
    for Wood. When Collingwood called on him to bowl the second over there was a
    rippling hush which, in its way, was comparable to that before the first ball of
    a Test match. Perhaps it is fearful pace which causes such a reaction, maybe its
    the animal danger as well. For a few balls Wood did not disappoint his new fans.
    Scott Borthwick clung on to about as sharp a slip catch as he can have taken and
    then he ran out Richard Levi. Next over Rushworth had Duckett leg before. Again
    one was reminded of the current Durham Yearbook with its photograph of Paul
    Collingwood clutching the badge on his shirt and brandishing it in the lens of
    the camera. A hard man for hard times.Then Josh Cobb won the game for Northants.
    Usman Arshad bowled a dreadful over, the type that makes opponents believe they
    are not yet defeated. Rain hammered down and Cobb blasted the ball into the
    blackness. A six off Borthwick cleared the Hollies Stand and sailed towards the
    Colts Ground.Cobbs nickname at Wantage Road is Tuckshop; he tucked in and Durham
    could not bowl to him. Wood was recalled but was pulled to the boundary and his
    moment had gone. The night was filled with cracking noises as this big man in a
    team of big men clubbed fours and sixes. Late wickets added a frisson of doubt
    but no more. Some people left early, others danced.Soon it was done with and the
    presentation platform which had lain unoccupied behind the Wyatt Stand since
    early morning was being wheeled across the outfield. More rain. It billowed
    vengefully across the ground as if making up for its restraint during most of
    the day. But the Durham players were deep in the moment of defeat and the
    Steelbacks may not have noticed a blizzard.There will never be a franchise at
    Wantage Road but they had earned the right to savour their joy. At the press
    conference Alex Wakely clutched the trophy, Cobb a bottle of champagne from
    which he swigged. They joked and took selfies. Nobody minded. Then, like 23,700
    others this boisterous day, they disappeared into the Birmingham night.
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    . Barcelonas entertaining victory ensured the defending Spanish champions
    retained their share of the league lead with Atletico Madrid two rounds ahead of
    their meeting in the capital. Real Madrid needed a late goal by substitute Jese
    Rodriguez to earn a 3-2 victory at Valencia to stay in third place and three
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    Friday. Robinson was injured in a spill underneath the Nuggets basket during the
    first quarter of Wednesday nights loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. BUDAPEST,
    Hungary -- Nico Rosberg of Mercedes posted by far the fastest lap during the
    second practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday.Teammate Lewis
    Hamilton was unhurt after crashing sideways into a barrier of rubber tires,
    Mercedes said. Hamilton was able to drive the car back to the pit lane and later
    returned to the team garage after a medical checkup.Mercedes said Hamiltons car
    would be fully stripped to be checked out, but jokingly noted it appears to
    bounce rather well.Hamilton, who set the pace in the morning practice, also had
    the fastest time before crashing at turn 11, about 13 minutes into the afternoon
    session. Rosberg quickly bettered Hamiltons mark with a time of 1 minute, 20.435
    seconds, the only driver below 1:21.It was an impressive day for us,
    performance-wise, Rosberg said. That doesnt necessarily mean well be in such a
    strong position tomorrow but its very positive. The car is very quick, so a good
    start to the weekend.Rosbergs time was already 1.585 seconds faster than last
    years top qualifying time, achieved by Hamilton.Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo was
    second, 0.595 behind the championship leader, with Ferraris Sebastian Vettel,
    the 2015 Hungaroring winner, finishing third.We are more or less where we
    expected to be, Ricciardo said. We knew it would be close with Ferrari, so if we
    can keep our nose in front that would be nice.Max Verstappen of Red Bull was
    fourth and Hamilton, despite completing only four laps before his accident, was
    fifth.Lewis was caught out by one of the new, unpainted kerbs ... resulting in
    quite a heavy impact with the barriers, said Paddy Lowe, the technical executive
    director for Mercedes. The most important thing is that Lewis was unharmed
    despite the impact. There has been some damage to suspension and a few bodywork
    elements -- but this will be easily fixed overnight.The Hungaroring is sporting
    a repaved track and pit lane while several kerbs have been added or upgraded,
    with track length remaining at 4.38 kilometers (2.72 miles).Veteran drivers like
    Hamilton and Vettel did not appear keen on the changes beffore the practice
    sessions.dddddddddddd By late Friday, however, most concerns seemed to have
    dissipated, Hamiltons mishap notwithstanding.The new track surface isnt
    massively different, said Ricciardo, who won here in 2014. I was a little bit
    worried it would lose some of its character, but I think its still much the
    same.Team officials were also taking the changes in stride and even attributed
    the faster times to the new setup.We were pleasantly surprised. The track is
    quite smooth, the kerbs are quite good, said Pat Symonds, chief technical
    officer with Williams. Were pretty happy with the work thats been done.Symonds
    added that while there had been talk of blistering in the tires during a
    European F3 race on the Hungaroring in April on the changed track, even the
    super-soft tires held up very well today.Ferrari senior engineer Jock Clear said
    his team had enjoyed reasonably comfortable practice sessions with the tires.We
    had some fears and theyve not really been founded today, Clear said. The kerbs
    are smoother ... certainly the kerbs are making a difference on lap time.At the
    same time, teams did complain about the longest-ever season of 21 races,
    including a globe-hopping stretch of six races in eight weeks at the
    end.Williams Symonds said 20 races had been considered the tipping point just a
    few years back and that employees were starting to prefer staying at team
    headquarters because of the race schedules toll on family life.I think were way
    past the tipping point, Symonds said. We cannot ask our personnel to maintain
    the level of activity. Therefore, were going to look at rotation.Clear agreed
    with Symonds, saying that people are just very tired and the sport did not have
    the luxury of using substitutes.Rosberg has 168 points halfway through the
    season, one point ahead of two-time defending world champion Hamilton. Mercedes
    has won nine of the first 10 races this season and 41 of the last 48.---Karel
    Janicek contributed to this report. ' ' '