Manchester and Squeaky Bum Time at the Cricket World Cup

Manchester and Squeaky Bum Time at the Cricket World Cup

"It is almost go time and I can feel it. As the business end of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup looms, I find myself in Manchester ahead of the Proteas' clash against Australia, their final game of the tournament," says Myron.

Myron in London / supplied new
Myron in London / supplied

What was meant to be a pre-grand finale, two age old foes fighting it out on the eve of the semi-finals, has been reduced to nothing more than a decent run out for Australia.

The Aussies, who left South African shores in tatters last year following the embarrassing Sandpapergate debacle, are the ones in control now.

Imagine that, coach Darren Lehmann steps down, and Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft are all banned. This was just 16 months ago.

Yet at Old Trafford it will be South Africa who will be hoping to win and finish their tournament on a high, while the Aussies march on. It is a game that will rub salt into the wounds of the Proteas, how dare the Aussies have the last laugh?

So, the build-up to this game has been low-key to say the least.

With the Proteas only arriving in Manchester on Thursday, I used the time to shift focus to the rest of the tournament, where the likes of India, England, Pakistan, and New Zealand were pushing hard to cement a spot in the final-four.

READ: Hope springs eternal, are we the crazy ones?

Manchester is a developing city, home to the biggest club in the world, Manchester United, and the rampant, English champions themselves, Manchester City.

I grew up in a Manchester United-supporting home, but my inclination towards sexy football converted me to an Arsenal fan.

But when in Manchester, how can one not visit Old Trafford?

So, we headed down Sir Matt Busby Way, towards the Theatre of Dreams.

Outside the theatre, the Holy Trinity of Denis Law, Sir Bobby Charlton, and George Best immortalized in beautiful bronze sets the tone.

Inside the stadium, it is quiet and peaceful as management prepares for the upcoming season, but the empty seats and manicured pitch gives one a tiny glimpse into how this came to be the football juggernaut that it is.

I was the designated cameraman as I accompanied two raging United fans on the stadium and museum tour.

While they stargazed and lapped it all up, I felt a millions miles away from the cricket.

It was time to switch back on mate, as the home straight approaches, it is about to get feisty.

I will remain in Manchester for the semi-final that will likely feature Australia and New Zealand, before heading to London for the big final at Lord's. 

By the time we speak again, only two teams will remain. In the words of United's greatest ever manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, it really is 'squeaky bum time'.

Keep up to date with the latest Cricket World Cup action with Myron Naicker as he brings us exclusive updates from England. Find the latest update in the podcast channel below:

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