In international Cricket, Scotland will meet Zimbabwe today in their 2nd One Day International contest at Edinburgh. The other day saw the first ever ODI among the two teams, and Zimbabwe, the powerhouse, was stupefied at their loss to Scotland, normally a mediocre associate team at best. Scotland had never before beat a Full Member in 23 attempts, prior to Thursday's victory.
Less than two days after that wake-up call, Zimbabwe have a chance to save face and level the series. Scotland are currently third in the WCL Championship, three points behind Netherlands. Today, Scotand will try to repeat their win, assisting them to their first Series win against a major competitor. Zimbabwe, always a fierce and professional competitor, will certainly be pushing hard to avoid a second embarrassing loss. Zimbabwe batsman Malcolm Waller said "They do play good shots and we knew we were going to be up against it, especially in their home conditions, our first game. But we've got to jump around. We've got to be ready for the next game and make sure that we finish on top." The day will tell.
In the USA, in International Golf: The 2017 United States Open Championship, the 117th U.S. Open, continues today at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, northwest of Milwaukee. It has been filled with plenty of off the course action. On Thursday, day of the first round, a blimp crashed near a place called Holy Hill. It fell to the ground and blew up, just off the course. The pilot is in serious condition. The second round witnessed the death of a spectator at the sixth hole. He was a 94 year old man, and the death was from natural causes.
Action has been "bloody" enough on the course. Champ Phil Mikkelson dropped out, just as the tourney began. His tee time would not have allowed him to play, and to reach his daughter's graduation. Defending champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson missed the cut at the U.S. Open after second round play, and he will join several of golf's headliners with a weekend off. He missed the 36-hole cut by three strokes. He missed the cut last weekend too. Also washing out of continuing on to today's round three were Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, numbers 2 and 3 respectively. For the first time since the Official World Golf Ranking system began in 1986, the top three players in the world have been eliminated after 36 holes of a major championship. Johnson is a proud new papa, so he is taking some time at home until next month's British Open.
In all, eight of the top 12 players in the world missed the cut, and other major champions also are out. This column, then, lacks words or predictions but will watch today's action with some sense of suspense. Two Yanks and two Brits head the leader board heading into today's third round.
In the United States: Unified light heavyweight world titleholder Andre Ward and former titlist Sergey Kovalev (Сергей Александрович Ковалёв) will meet tonight in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ward has been irritated and avoiding Kovalev, but they had to meet up face to face at Friday's weigh in. The crowd was definitely pro Ward, and booed Kovalev, who is Russian but lives and trains in Los Angeles.
There has been no love lost between these two. At the weigh in they would not participate at first in the promotional photographs, preferring instead to hold a massively long stare. Kovalev finally turned toward the crowd, and Ward smirked as if he had won something. Their fight series has been somewhat of a blood feud, so Saturday's action will be just as heated. As always, win or lose, Saturday's fight represents a massive payout for both athletes. The USA vs. Russia angle has excited some fans, but the Norcal vs. Socal battle, Ward is from Oakland, Kovalev lives in L.A. should excite some Californians.
Ward, 33, of Oakland, California, believes he won the first fight between the two in this current series. The first was a one point decision. Naturally, he wants to prove it conclusively and win convincingly. "I am looking forward to making a statement in this fight and answering any questions that may be out there and removing any doubt that may be out there, so I'm excited," said Ward, the last American man to win an Olympic boxing gold medal, doing so in 2004 in Athens. Kovalev, 34, who fights out of Los Angeles, was champ for a few years, until that controversial decision in the first Ward fight. Kovalev said "For this fight, I definitely had to get in shape, have different emotions and different motivations." He added "I want to thank my haters," referring to ardent Ward fans, "They motivate me to keep going. I want to get my belts, and I'm here for this."