Looking back at the 2022 IndyCar season-opener highlights race on 9Go, with Scott McLaughlin as the race winner for Team Penske

I just had the chance to watch a bit of the IndyCar highlights today on 9Go, where I took a few shots of Sunday’s season-opener round (Monday morning here) that was held from a street circuit in St Petersburg, Florida.

Hats off through a fantastic drive from Kiwi & 3 x Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin, who sealed his first IndyCar race win for the No.3 Penske Chevy, during Race 1 of 17 in the new season. Not only he dominated final practice and qualifying, where he started from pole but also on race day, having fended off a fiercely competitive battle against reigning champion Alex Palou in the No.10 Ganassi Honda, who hails from Spain.

And once he got into the podium/victory lane, we loved how he reached out to those back in Australia during the post-race interview, where they are experiencing a tough time right now with the ongoing floods over in Queensland and New South Wales. He also mentioned how he missed seeing his parents by his side from Cambridge, NZ, who were unable to attend his races or see their son in person right now for over two years due to COVID. Glad to see them chat once again via facetime, as McLaughlin not only hopes to bring home the famous Indy 500 in late May but also the series’ title.

Great race to reflect with Australia’s own Leigh Diffey calling the shots for NBC Sports, which is the host commentary feed we get for IndyCar globally.

This series is moving onto an oval layout now at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for Round 2 of 17, as the next race will be on Monday, March 21 (Sunday, March 20 over in the USA) at 3-4 am AEDT via paid streaming service on Stan Sport. You can either try out Stan Sport on a seven-day free trial or pay $20 a month on top of the basic Stan package. Otherwise, 9Go will be back airing highlights of Race 2 from Texas free of charge at 2-3 pm on Thursday, March 24.

2021 T20 World Cup Final Match Report

Australia won their first ever T20 world cup, after a commanding run chase over New Zealand.

The Aussies won the toss and decided to bowl, a decision that has become pretty common in this world cup due to the dew effect and how the pitch matures. It seemed to be a pretty smart decision early on, with Josh Hazelwood taking the wicket of semi final hero Darrell Mitchell, in the third over. The other opener Martin Guptill scored a slow 28 runs off of 35 balls, before he chipped one to Marcus Stoinis.

But from there on it was the Kiwi captain who took control of the innings. After a slow start, Kane Williamson exploded through the middle overs, hitting thirteen boundaries including three sixes in a spectacular innings. Williamson was able to score his 85 off of just 48 deliveries. It was a spectacular innings, that led New Zealand to finish on 172-4, after Jimmy Neesham smacked a six towards the close of play.

It meant Australia had the difficult task of chasing 173 on a slow pitch. Their run chase was made a lot more difficult when they lost captain Aaron Finch for just five runs in the third over. But from there, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh put on the match winning partnership of 92, before Warner was bowled out by Trent Boult.

While Australia came into the tournament with some incredible batsmen like David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch, it was ten year veteran Mitchell Marsh who provided the match winning performance. Coming in with Australia down 15-1 after a slow start, Marsh provided a controlled but impressive innings which led his side to victory.

Marsh had been dropped in the run up to the tournament, but was reinstated into the team as the tournament began, and provided the most important innings of his career in the final. Marsh hit some beautiful shots before Glenn Maxwell took Australia past 173, with seven balls to spare.

Top 3 Performances

3. Kane Williamson produced what was thought to be a match winning performance. His T20 ability is often overlooked, but the captain did everything to try to lead his team to victory today, narrowly falling short of defending their total.

2. While Williamson batted excellently, Josh Hazlewood showed why he is one of th best t20 bowlers in the world once again, taking 3 wickets for just 16 runs, including the wicket of Williamson. It was a bowling performance that meant no other New Zealand batter could properly help their captain

1. Mitch Marsh produced his greatest ever performance. Australia’s batting had been a worry coming into the tournament, with questions all across their line-up. But Marsh put to bed any questions about him being in the team. Marsh never looked worried as he hit a match winning 77 which included four big sixes. It was a performance no one expected, but came at exactly the right time for Australia.

This is the Aussies first ever t20 world cup victory, despite winning five world cups in ODI cricket. Australia lost in 2010 to England, but took care of things today. It means they go into the 2022 world cup which is hosted in Australia as holders, looking to defend their crown at home.

New Zealand need to regroup after a difficult loss in the final, but they will go into the world cup next year with a good squad that should have some crucial additions like Lochie Ferguson and Finn Allen come back into the squad to give them a good shot at the world cup in 2022.

Australian Rugby News, Top 3 players from Game 2 of the 2021 Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park

Sam Whitelock stood out on his own All Blacks territory who exposed the Wallabies’ poor executions both as a leader where he guided the Crusaders to many Super Rugby titles & a brilliant contributor in defense.

He read it well when the opposition lacked support numbers going forward that saw so many gaps before Sam filled it up with the Wallabies lost opportunities via the turnover/penalty.

It sums up his side’s attacking dominance in return with some help when building the attack which saved him so much workload & uses his natural game that puts off the Wallabies at Eden Park.

Codie Taylor comes in next who helped stabilize the All Blacks’ extended lead after the HT break at hooker; he has so much to offer when it comes to the line-outs/throw-in as well as the physicality on all fronts.

He credits the direct passage of play where Dane communicated very well that helped ease their workload, especially to his team-mates at the backline who built the groundwork before he processed two tries off his own.

Brilliant run tonight alongside an early mark to the bench so he can rest up towards the All Blacks’ upcoming Rugby Championship campaign later this month.

And Andrew Kellaway is the last of the Top 3 bunch when his Wallabies side looked really sore once again, but he did well individually on the wide right backline position.

He has the finishing instincts to explode any opposing half even though it’s his 2nd game at International level, you got to credit some winning penalty restarts that helped the Wallabies were organised for a couple of occasions.

Unfortunately, his side lacked patience when it comes to executing through open play with no talk up & direct attacking structure which frustrated him as Andrew needs help next time in order to earn the tries his side desperately need that is match-winning quality.

Rugby News, All Blacks’ dominance in the 2nd half sums up their winning Bledisloe Cup run & Wallabies long running losing hoodoo in Game 2 at Eden Park

Really exceptional play in the first 40 from the All Blacks who demonstrated so much patience and support play that got them well ahead on the scoresheet, while the Wallabies benefitted from some winning penalties & used the resets well to stay in contention but needs time to execute better if they are to keep the Bledisloe Cup series alive.

HALF-TIME: All Blacks 21-15 Wallabies

Unfortunately, Wallabies didn’t change/learn much after the break especially with the passage of play being too wide that sums up their poor processing, while the All Blacks have taken advantage when given the ball & they bossed the game in return.

You see the forwards and backline working together alongside the quick & narrow passes before the home side racked up a few big scores that is too easy for them to win games.

FULL-TIME: All Blacks 57-22 Wallabies

Such an entertainment of attacking football to watch from the Men in Black who retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 19th consecutive season as the Wallabies turn their attention to the Rugby Championship now for a fresh start & go from there.

Australian Rugby News, Wallabies consolation turnaround not enough to dent All Blacks’ dominant 2nd half performance at Eden Park on 2021 Bledisloe Cup I

Such a close first half from the All Blacks and Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland, having seen both teams make up an early sequence of tight defense & three-point penalty goals.

But it’s the All Blacks who lead 16-8 at the break where they were patient on all fronts, while Wallabies did find a way past the opposition thanks to Hunter Paisami on the midfield who helped Andrew Kellaway score a debut TRY.

It’s just the slow starts and their lack of execution so far held the Wallabies back as they need to stop the All Blacks from scoring before looking to be patient when given the ball.

Although, the Wallabies did score a couple of consolation scores thanks to a Tom Banks double & Jordan Uelese brace towards the final siren.

Unfortunately, they didn’t improve much despite creating chances & winning penalties that led to more limited time against the ball, as the All Blacks cap off a brilliant start to the 2021 Bledisloe Cup Series 1-0 by 8 points (33-25).

Rugby Union News, Top 3 players from 2021 Bledisloe Cup Game 1 at Eden Park, All Blacks v Wallabies

Richie Mo’unga has to be the first men in black player that helped distance themselves away from the Wallabies tonight at No.10/first five-eighth.

His kicking has been superb in contrast to Noah Lolesio whose long kicks into the goal didn’t work out while creating plenty of chances going forward.

And Mo’unga was able to turn this magic around into a series of complete executions in front of the Wallabies danger zone, there’s credit coming from their poor communication before cashing themselves in alongside the support runners that made the All Blacks so dominant in attack mightily after half-time.

Ardie Savea also played well in the All Blacks back three at Number 8, having read & tackled the Wallabies poor attacking executions/patience.

It helped protect his side’s defense that made the All Blacks a whole lot easier to dominate when given the turnover/intercept/winning penalties, especially for the majority after half-time.

Throw in Ardie and his other fowards who can give a helping hand with the backline being patient through the channels, which is excellent tactics that the Wallabies couldn’t catch up in terms of attacking football.

And Tate McDermott puts in a great shift at half-back for the Wallabies who possess so much passing & physicality all game long combined with pace.

The build up momentum is there for a start in the defense that helped his side win the ball through winning penalties, it’s something how the Wallabies remained close to the All Blacks in the first 30-35 mins.

Although, McDermott created chances along the way just like the start of a attacking production line when given the ball but the decoy runners around him let him down due to a lack of finishing mightily, even though the late consolation turnaround alone wasn’t enough to upset on their home turf.

Soccer News, Oly Whites out of the Olympic Quarter Finals after Japan win via penalty kicks 4-2

Well it’s a great journey for the Oly Whites or All Whites as they’re known through Soccer in New Zealand when they made it to the final eight, despite the fact they lost the second game v Honduras & a drawn previous game v Romainia.

That main credit came from their win during Game 1 v South Korea 1-0 courtesy of Captain Chris Wood.

They were good defensively that kept the game scoreless throughout 120 minutes of play, even a couple of saves from goalkeeper Michael Woud have held Japan back from closing out in regular 90 mins & an extra 30 mins.

But when it comes to the finishing/scoring parts NZ unfortunately lack the firepower needed in the net except Wood & Callum McCowatt, they just couldn’t find a way to trick Japan while the opposition remained calm with clean spotless strikes.

The final score is 0-0 with Japan as victors via penalty kicks 4-2.

What’s next for Japan now is they will have a big task ahead against Spain & fight for a spot in the gold medal match.

And there is no doubt that New Zealand will come back stronger, especially with a couple of talented youngsters coming through plus an automatic qualification looming for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Rugby 7s News, Fiji defends the gold medal at the 2020 Olympics v New Zealand

What a start from Fiji who fired off three tries in the first seven minutes at 12-19 where they used the wide areas well past the New Zealand territory, and that is how Fiji tricked them with exhilarating pace.

Although, New Zealand responded really well in order that kept in contention, especially when they scored the 2nd just ahead of half-time but need to watch their defending as well.

And nothing much has came from New Zealand after the break where they lost the ball at times, they also had a crack on the Fiji half once but Regan Ware was isolated so not enough time to find decoy runners that ultimately settled for silver.

Fiji in the end once again goes back to back gold medalists in Rugby 7s, they were really patient having dominated most of the possession which reflects their outstanding run today.

Final Score: Fiji 27-12 New Zealand

Rugby News, New Zealand into the Gold Medal Match of the 2020 Olympics after dominating Great Britain

Such a close first half from both New Zealand and Great Britain in the 1st medal semis game, but New Zealand fired off and ended the opening portion well at 14-7 with two tries on the board from Scott Curry & Regan Ware.

Although, Great Britain responded instantly off Curry’s own score through the blistering pace of Dan Norton, they need to find a way to limit the New Zealand scoring opportunities on their end after the break to get more chances with the ball.

And nothing much has changed from Team GB when they were blown away by a dominant New Zealand attack after the break with three more tries including Ware who scored his 2nd, while haven’t had the chance to arrest them & fire back on their territory.

Final Score: New Zealand 29-7 Great Britain

Well played from New Zealand who controlled the game with superior possession and attacking execution that is enough into the Gold Medal Match later today up against either Fiji or Argentina.

Australian Rugby News, New Zealand top Australia in Rugby 7s, Pool A at the 2020 Summer Olympics

Australia did well with two tries scored in the first half thanks to the ample time given upfront that shown great patience, especially when going up against a robust New Zealand defense.

However, they weren’t able to remain consistent after the break when being tested defensively, and Australia were blown away by a dangerous New Zealand attack that saw them steal this game.

For New Zealand, although they defended very well that built some pressure on the Australians in the first half despite some weaknesses with the ill-discipline that limited the chances on their end.

But when they had the ball, New Zealand were in complete control with two tries bounced back as well as two successful conversion kicks which was enough to advance in the main Quarter Finals alongside Argentina in Pool A, even though they did lose a man via the yellow card for a while.

Final Score: Australia 12-14 New Zealand.

We’ll have to wait and see if the other results will go the Australia’s way and enter one of the last two main Quarter Final spots based on their ranking, the good news is they’re in the top 2 of 3 third-placed team standings just behind Canada right now.

So Australia is hoping Ireland will beat Kenya later on that will give them another shot towards winning the gold medal in rugby 7s.

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