ICC T20 Cricket World Cup 2016 Predictions

Source: http://www.t20worldcup2016schedule.org/

Anyone who is a fan of cricket will know that the T20 Cricket World Cup started a couple of days ago (8th March). For me this is an exciting time of the year when all the top teams battle it out to see who is the best in T20 format. I find my twitter feed full to the brink with all the latest news and scores, which I have to admit makes me very happy. Around this time, I find myself addicted to twitter, having to know every drop of detail on the subject and score updates. I thought it would be a good idea to write about my predictions and players to watch out for etc.

The tournament is set out in a few stages. Stage 1 has 2 groups of 4 who all play everyone in their group and the winner of each progress to the stage 2. These are the teams that are not ranked in the top 8 and had to qualify. The groups are as follows:

Group 1                                              Group 2

Bangladesh                                       Zimbabwe

Netherlands                                      Scotland

Ireland                                               Hong Kong

Oman                                                  Afghanistan

For Group 1, I find this to be a very easy decision on who will take the group. Without a doubt in my mind, Bangladesh should cruise through the group without too much trouble, especially if players such as Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan maintain their current form.

For Group 2, I am sure most would choose Zimbabwe with such great players as Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza, but I believe the rapidly improving side of Afghanistan will cause an upset. They have been playing very well recently and with the amazing form of Mohammad Shahzad, I believe they can do it.

With this being said, I am now onto Stage 2, which involves another 2 groups with 5 teams and the top 2 teams from each will proceed to the semi-finals, where Group 1 Winner plays Group 2 Runner Up and Group 1 Runner Up plays the Group 2 Winner. The groups are as follows:

Group 1                                               Group 2

Sri Lanka                                               India

South Africa                                         Pakistan

West Indies                                         Australia

England                                                 New Zealand

Afghanistan                                         Bangladesh


I want to start by saying, at this stage in the tournament, I do not think Afghanistan and Bangladesh will stand a chance. What I will say is that I do not believe Bangladesh will come bottom of their group, as they always seem to cause an upset. Excluding these two teams, I will go through each team starting Group 1:

Sri Lanka – This for me is very hard to say if they will proceed or not. They have really talented players such as Angelo Matthews and Tillakaratne Dilshan, but as team they have not been playing well in T20 format. My gut says they will not.

South Africa – I believe they will top the group, especially when you have such talented players as the one and only AB de Villiers, the new young sensational bowler in Kagiso Rabada and the ever so consistent Hasim Amla.

West Indies – Originally, they would have been my second pick, but unfortunately due to the several injuries and pull outs recently in Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine etc, I do not think their squad is strong enough to pull through this tough group. What I would say is, watch out for Chris Gayle as I expect him to have a great tournament!

England – Being an England supporter myself I know of the squad very well and I believe the squad has potential to go far in the tournament. If Alex Hales can keep up his amazing form alongside the ‘Mr Consistent’ Joe Root, the batting should be fine. In terms of bowling, it may be a surprise to some of you, but to me the key bowler is Reece Topley. It is a toss up here for me between Sri Lanka and England taking the second spot, but I think England have shown some great form as of recently that I hope will follow through.

Group 2 in my opinion, is extremely hard for prediction. There is so much talent:

India – Being the host nation, they do have the home advantage and with so many talented players such as Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin, I believe they will power through in first place! They are currently the number one ranked team in T20 and I believe they will show exactly why.

Pakistan – This is hard as Pakistan have some great players, in particular Mohammad Amir and Shahid Afridi who I expect to do very well, but overall, I do not feel as though when the moment comes, they will do enough.

Australia – I never like not putting Australia through, when they have the number 1 T20 batsman in the world in Aaron Finch and so many other talented players, but I feel for some reason they just cannot figure T20 out and get up to the level required to get onto the next stage. They are known to pull it out of the bag when needed most, but I think with such a stacked group, they will struggle.

New Zealand –The New Zealand squad I believe is really underrated with the likes of Trent Boult, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson who are just amazing players. I believe that New Zealand will pull through this group onto the semi-finals in second. I just find them to very consistent and to work really well as a team.


South Africa Vs New Zealand and India Vs England

The first match I believe will be very close, but the South African’s will just take it, maybe if Imran Tahir can get some turn on the pitch. The second match I think will be somewhat close, with India winning.

This sets up an India Vs South Africa final!

My gut says India will win the tournament. I believe they are unstoppable in T20 and feel they have what it takes to go all the way.

Please let me know what your predictions are and if you agree with mine!



A Possible Solution to Global Warming: Geoengineering

Source: Kiel Earth Institute / Geomar. Wikimedia Commons.

In a world that is being severely affected by climate change, caused by global warming, large-scale solutions have been proposed. One of these solutions is called geoengineering. Geoengineering (also known as climate engineering) is about manipulating the Earth’s processes to counter global warming. These are also very expensive. You can almost consider these to be last resort. There are many techniques that have been put forward, which lie in two categories of geoengineering: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal.

Solar radiation management involves reflection of solar radiation (Sun’s energy) away from the Earth and back into space. Of course, this would only reflect a small proportion of the solar radiation as reflecting all would first of all be virtually impossible and we would not be able to survive! The main reason for doing this would be to help try and stabilise temperatures on Earth. This would mean greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would absorb less and hence this would reduce the rate at which global warming takes place. It is important to note that this method would not reduce the amount of greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere.

There are only a few techniques proposed. The first one involves increasing the albedo (percentage of the Sun’s energy reflected at the surface of the Earth). This is done by increasing the reflectiveness of clouds, or even the land, so that more of the solar radiation is reflected away from the earth. The second technique involves the actual blocking of the sunlight from reaching the earth using specially constructed mirrors. The third method involves putting special reflective particles into the atmosphere to reflect the solar radiation from reaching the earth.

Carbon dioxide removal is somewhat self explanatory, but is about removing the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This would mean that it would counter any increases of the green house effect and ocean acidification. For this to make any kind of significant difference, it would have to be implemented on a global scale. There are many methods to do this with some being rather straightforward and others far more complex.

A very simple technique is afforestation. By planting more trees, they will take in more carbon dioxide, meaning less will reach the atmosphere. A complex technique is ocean fertilisation. This involves adding nutrients to the oceans to encourage greater marine life and production. A good example is depositing iron, where the ocean is iron deficient, which in theory should boost production. It should be noted that there is legislation to stop anyone from just putting nutrients in the ocean. Another method involves exposing very large amounts of minerals that are known to chemically react with the carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere and this will result in a compound forming. This will be stored in soils or the ocean, etc.

It is possible to actually capture the carbon dioxide in the air through large machines, which can then be stored in the ground, for industry use etc. The use of carbon capture and storage is another technique in particular when creating bio-energy. This means that when you burn biomass (organic matter), you simply capture the carbon dioxide released and store it in the ground normally. It can also be done so that the carbon mixes with the soil and this would ‘lock’ it up. The final method involves putting normally calcium-silicate rocks into the ocean, which will over time increase the amount of carbon that can be stored in the ocean and try to decrease ocean acidification.

Geoengineering could potentially play a part in our future. But getting a significant number of nations involved in such large scale projects would be no easy task especially when it requires large investments and when these methods have issues. Some of the main issues are that some are still in the research stage and even when some of these methods have been tested (ocean fertilisation of iron), they did not provide the results hoped for. In theory, we should not have to go to such drastic lengths to combat global warming. My opinion on the matter is that we live in a world where we are very reluctant to change our ways for the sake of global warming, so such extreme techniques could very well be used in the future. Then again, some already argue that we are too late to stop this.



Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour) – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 11/02/16


As a child, I absolutely adored Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so logically I wanted to see it on its tour. If any of you have read my previous blogs, you would have seen it was in my ‘Top 5 Musicals to See’. In addition, the production had a few celebrities starring, so I was interested to see how they would perform.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is about a car that has the ability to go on water, land and can also fly. It was built from an old winning grand prix car by Caractacus Potts, who, with son (Jeremy), daughter (Jemima), Grandpa and a new friend (Truly Scrumptious), go on thrilling adventures. One such example is when the Baron and Baroness Bomburst of ‘Vulguria’, who want the car, take Grandpa and they must go and rescue him.

The comedian, Jason Manford, played Caractacus Potts, the lead role. I was very sceptical of him, especially as he replaced Jon Robyns, whom I enjoyed very much when I saw him in Memphis last year. I have to admit; I am a fan of his. He was extremely likable and had that real father figure needed for the role. His vocals were far better than expected. Overall I thought he was superb! My only criticism was that, having seen him on the television, I was expecting him to portray a far more comical role than he actually did. But then that was down to the role not being able to accommodate this, which was a shame.

Caractacus’s children, Jeremy (Henry Kent) and Jemima (Lucy Sherman) were beyond amazing, with their vocals, acting and dancing all on point, despite their age! Truly Scrumptious (Amy Griffiths) who I have to say played the role very well. My only criticism was that she did not leave her mark on the role. This meant, when I came out of the theatre, I was not really thinking about her role. Grandpa Potts was played by Andy Hockley. Prior to the start, my friend made me aware that Andy had been in Phantom of the Opera, so this increased my expectations. He certainly did not disappoint. His vocals were on point and if I am honest, he was perfect for the role through his entertaining and comical ways.

The Baron Bomburst (Phill Jupitus) was fair. I found his accent to be inconsistent and in general unconvincing, but he did have some golden moments. The Baroness (Michelle Collins) was good, but I really struggle to say much more. The Child Catcher (Martin Kemp) was not at all intimidating especially when comparing him to the film. In the film, he bought genuine fear to my eyes. I am unsure as to whether this is due to me no longer being a child, that he did not have enough stage presence, or maybe he was just not right for the role. The two Vulgarian spies, Boris (Sam Harrison) and Goran (Scott Paige) were enjoyable for the most part. Their jokes I found only half the time to be funny, but even so it was enough for me to enjoy them!

One of the main attractions of the show is seeing the car ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ on stage. It looked incredible and the mechanics used to manoeuvre were clearly well done. It was agile and looked quite elegant. When the car was being driven, there were projections onto the set to show the surroundings. It looked really good and was highly affective. There was enough detail and clarity to feel like they were actually driving along a coastal road etc.

The pit band, I could not fault as their timing was on point and the music always sounded as it should. The ensemble performed some very clever choreography with the most memorable being ‘Me Ol’ Bamboo’ which by the end gave a slight shiver down my spine. I could remember this well from the film and it made me feel like a little kid again seeing it for the first time. In the film, my favourite parts were the inventions Caractacus made. I was excited in the breakfast scene that these were present as it gave me flashbacks to the film and the happiness it brought to me back then!

Overall, I really enjoyed the touring production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and you could see why it appeals to such a wide age group. Although some of the characters were in my opinion just okay, the other characters more than made up for this. As I left the theatre, I could not help but feel there was something missing. There was not a completely empowering moment where I just thought ‘wow’. But it cannot be denied that they put on a very good production of a childhood classic and left me feeling like my 8-year-old self again!

Review: Miss Saigon – Prince Edward Theatre 23/01/16



After my university exams, a trip to the theatre was a nice way to celebrate. Miss Saigon, although not top of my list, is closing next month and hence I wanted to see it before it went. Miss Saigon is a tragic yet heart warming romance about an American soldier (Chris) who falls in love with a local girl (Kim), whilst fighting in the Vietnam War. As the war ends, he tries to bring her back with him, but unfortunately fails. We learn later she was pregnant with his child. Chris finds out, but what Kim does not know is he is with someone else now. In the end, Kim wants the best life possible for her son and ends her own life in order for her son to live in the USA with Chris.

One of the first scenes started with ‘Dream Land’. You are straight away introduced to ‘The Engineer’ (Jon Jon Briones) who was absolutely fantastic! To my understanding, he has been in the role for a while and you could see why. In other words, he was made for the role through his witty comical quotes, deceitfulness and cowardly ways. Despite all of this, he was likable and I still managed to feel a hint of sympathy.

During the same scene, a shy girl ‘Kim’ (Tanya Manalang – Understudy) walked in to work for the first time. Her ability to portray so many emotions throughout was phenomenal – you could always feel her pain. This was in particular shown in ‘This Money’s Yours’, where the audience is informed of her past. I have to admit, that for most of the show, I did not realise it was Tanya performing because she was that good! I was excited to hear that an understudy was performing as from experience (although very little), the understudies have been just as good if not better than the principals. This was proven again!

We meet an American Solider called ‘Chris’ (Richard Carson – Understudy), who was spectacular! When he first appeared, I was unsure what to think – but then I was feeling lost. When it reached the second act, he took my breath away, particularly with ‘Kim’s Nightmare’. I could feel with all of my heart, the love he shared for Kim. As the show progressed, I could see the chemistry between Chris and Kim build. Richard once again proved that understudies are just as good as the principals!

Honourable mentions to ‘John’ (Hugh Maynard) and ‘Ellen’ (Siobhan Dillon) in particular to their vocals of ‘Bui Doi’ and ‘Maybe’ respectively, which blew me away. ‘Thuy’ (Sangwoong Jo) was enjoyable, but at times, I did not feel intimidated especially when he was supposed to be a high rank in the army.

As I briefly said earlier, I actually found myself lost for most of the first act. This was partly due to me feeling overwhelmed and the big jump in time from Chris in Vietnam, to him back in the USA with Ellen. At this time, I did not know that in the second act, the time gap would be shown. By the second act, everything fitted into place and I was able to appreciate it.

In the second act, there is one scene in particular I remember, where Chris is forced to get on the helicopter without Kim. A helicopter (prop), actually came down from the stage ceiling and landed. It looked magnificent and left me in shook for the rest of that scene! Not only that, but the scene itself it was full of emotion from leaving Kim behind and how they were both left in despair. It truly showed their love was real.

On occasions in the first act, I found the stage lighting to be too dark. Although I am sure this was meant to show the darkness found within war zones, it felt to the extent that I could not see what was on stage, but then again sitting in the Grand Circle would not have helped this. I do at this point want to give some credit to the Pit Band, who were on point and put on a great show themselves! The Ensemble were really underrated and deserved far more credit as they kept the show moving throughout.

Some of the scenes were historically powerful. This was by the very striking Vietnamese Army routines and the conditions you saw the population living in. The ending of the show was devastating and I do not think it is possible for anyone in the audience to not feel something. If you agreed with Kim’s decision or not, you could not help feeling distressed especially as throughout the show you loved her more and more as a character.

Miss Saigon is an absolute masterpiece and I would highly recommend it! It has a massive reputation and I can now see why. It saddens me to think its closing at the end of next month. It is such an emotional show of romance, which can quite easily overwhelm you and leave you in tears by the end. Nothing else I have ever seen has made me feel so many emotions in such a short amount of time. I guess it shows us the true power of love.


5 West End Musicals I Would Like to See


Lets Start it off:

Source: http://cdn.londonandpartners.com/asset/db678d4ff23f3757c433beebf142003f.jpg
  1. Les Miserables

This is actually a peculiar choice for me as I have not seen the film (this will change soon). I know only the basics to the storyline which I must say sounds interesting and some of the music from the soundtrack come across as being amazing! The fact that it is the longest running musical conveys how special it must be to hold such a prestigious title. In addition, I have not spoken to anyone that has seen it and has not given it so much credit – most wanted to see it again. I do hope to see this West End Musical one day, but not until I have seen the film and have done my research as I have been told, I would be lost anyway.

Source: http://www.londontheatres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/wicked.770×4001.jpg
  1. Wicked

As a child I watched the ‘Wizard of Oz’ many times on the television as well as pantomimes. It was not my favourite, but I always enjoyed it. A member of my family saw it and they could not praise it enough. The soundtrack, ‘Defying Gravity’, would have to be to the one song I would look forward to the most. It comes across like it needs to be heard live rather than just via YouTube etc (which I am sure most would agree)! I was unfortunate enough to miss it on its tour last year as musical theatre only became a bigger part of my life shortly afterwards. A couple of years ago, I was the lighting technician for a local production of ‘Wizard of Oz’ and it remains very much in my heart as I got to know a few of the songs and had an amazing time. I really hope to see it in the West End in the near future and I am intrigued to hear the other side of the story!

Source: http://www.chittythemusical.co.uk/images/logos/logo-main.png
  1. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (I understand that this is not currently West End)

This was once again a film I watched several times when I was younger. It was one of my favourites (even if the child-snatcher scared me)! I found myself intrigued by all his marvellous inventions and now the thought of the Grandad being uplifted in the outdoor toilet has surfaced! As you can see I have many great memories with this film. I absolutely love the story line and can only imagine what it would be like in the West End! I am fortunate enough to have recently booked a ticket to see it on its UK tour early next year at the Mayflower Theatre (Southampton). This will star Jason Manford and will be interesting to see how he is. I cannot wait to see it and I am sure a review will follow!

Source: http://www.billyelliotthemusical.com/images/logo.jpg
  1. Billy Elliot

This is a film and musical I actually have knowledge about. I have seen the film many times and really enjoyed it. I just find it so inspiring how a young boy from a lower class family ends up becoming a star. He has his struggles on the way, but I feel no one can question his talent and the spark he has when dancing. Earlier this year I watched ‘Billy Elliot the Musical Live’ and felt overwhelmed. Despite basically watching the West End version, I still want to see it. There are many scenes that are amazing and the choreography is superb. I know that I will enjoy this and I definitely plan to go to watch in the next year or so.

Source: http://britishtheatrecom.c.presscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/matilda-poster.jpg
  1. Matilda

It seems to be a common pattern that I have seen the film of these musicals. The same applies here! I watched the film many times and again enjoyed it. My best friend has seen the musical a few times and I know it is one of her favourites. Hence this was one of the reasons that it first jumped out at me, before seeing what it had to offer. The storyline itself is really good at communicating a huge variety of emotions throughout. Since there are a lot of younger cast roles in the show, I know that Matilda will showcase a lot of the younger talent. It is incredible what children can do at their age! I actually walked past the Cambridge Theatre a couple of months ago and even though I was going to see another musical, I felt excited that one day I will hopefully get to see it! As it stands, I hope to go see it in the next few months.


As you can tell I have a lot of Musical Theatre to catch up on! Even after seeing all five of these Musicals, it will be exciting to know whether they match up to my favourite musical, Memphis (read my review here)! Let me know of any musicals you want to see!





What is Geophysics and the Difficulties Studying it?

Source: http://www.greenriverenergy.com/services.htm

I am in my second year (of three) at a UK Russell Group University studying Geophysical Sciences. I am sure after reading the word ‘geophysics’ in the title some of you will have no idea what this is.

It is an Earth Science. By definition, geophysics is ‘physics of the Earth’. I believe a better description of what it is I am studying would be “the physical processes behind the Earth’s systems”.

A big part of geophysics is about determining sub-structure (what is beneath the ground) using geophysical techniques, for example looking for small variations in the Earth’s gravitational field. An example of work that a geophysicist can do in the world could be working in the oil and gas industry. By using the geophysical techniques, they can work out where large oil and gas reserves are found which can then be extracted for our everyday needs.


I would love to go into more detail (I am sure you would rather I did not!), but the truth is I still do not know too much more about what I am studying yet. This is because in my first year of university you do not study any geophysics. The first year consists of core modules for geology, physics and mathematics. This is to give you a foundation before you can study geophysics.

Being strong at three different fields is no easy task, so there is a lot expected of you when you pick this degree. The problem with this is that when you take these modules, you are expected to be at the same standard as a geologist, physicist and mathematician. Which I hope you could see is not easy! A main problem of mine is how different geology is to the likes of physics and maths. If they were all interlinked, they would all help each other, but unfortunately this is not the case.

Now that I have reached second year, I have started a module on Exploration Geophysics. Personally I am really enjoying the module as it is nice to be studying my actual degree! The only issue with this module is that it is very basic and does not go into much depth. This is because the module is compulsory for geologists too. As you can tell, you must be highly motivated – having to wait such a long time to learn about what you actually signed up for can often (at least in my case) mean you lose motivation from time to time.

Next semester, we start physics based labs, which should be fun as it all refers to geophysical applications. To my knowledge, it is only the geophysicists taking it! But you actually only study what I consider to be ‘proper’ geophysics in year three. From this I would say that geophysics is a risk. It is very hard to get experience before coming to university, so for the most part you know very little about it (but then again this is why you go to university) and if you have to wait until year three before you go in depth, you do not actually know if you like geophysics till then. Luckily for me, I have enjoyed it so far and have every bit of confidence that this will not stop when I go into year three.

I want to end by making it clear that these are only a few difficulties in studying geophysics. There are far more positives than negatives to my degree and I have no regrets. I hope to in the future write about the positives! If my degree was not challenging and did not keep me on my feet, then it would not be for me. It is highly rewarding and I believe I have a good chance of employment after I graduate. geophysics is such an unknown field of study to the public yet will play a big role in the future. I hope to one day be a part of that.

Water Aid and My New Involvement


This academic year I decided to join the Water Aid Society at my university. This is not actually a part of Water Aid, but a student run society that focuses primarily on fundraising and spreading awareness for the organisation. Upon turning up to the second meeting, there was an option of running for a committee position. I decided to run for the communications role. After a 5-minute speech (made up on the spot), I had convinced them I was right for the role over the other candidate. My role as communications is about making the public (or university students) aware of what exactly Water Aid is and what they do.

I am sure most of you have heard of Water Aid before, but many know very little. So I will do my best to briefly inform you. Water Aid itself, is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation), set up in 1981 and works in 37 countries. They focus on three main areas: Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. It is very important to note that they are all interlinked. You cannot have one without the other two. For example, if sanitation is poor, (meaning no toilet facilities etc) then sewage is likely to reach the water supplies. This will contaminate the water (no safe drinking water) and will spread diseases etc, so people cannot clean in it (leading to poor hygiene). Water Aid’s goal is about getting safe water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone, everywhere by 2030.

Water Aid is different to a lot of other non-profit organisations as they do not simply give money and leave. They provide services that will benefit at a local scale. It is all well and good bringing in someone (most likely from abroad) and putting in a well, but what happens if there is a problem with it? These communities are unlikely to have a phone to call for help and will take a while to be fixed. Water Aid in comparison, still bring someone in to do it, but get some of the local people trained so if there is a problem, it can be dealt with. This will give some of the local people skills, better job prospects and safe and clean water. It is a bottom up approach. I must say that Water Aid do not only put wells in – this is just an example.

Water Aid focus a lot on education. It is great to provide safe and clean water supply, but if they do not know how to use it sustainably and safely, then the supply will be only short term. Water Aid goes into schools and local communities to show how it should be used and for things such as hygiene. Water Aid also has a large focus on girls. Women and in particular girls are commonly the ones who collect the water for their families. Some have to travel vast distances. This means that they are unable to go to school and are unlikely to access good jobs in the future. So by improving water in the area, girls are given the same opportunities as boys. Menstrual hygiene education is also provided.

Here at my university society, we have had a couple of fundraisers so far. One being a cake sale and the other selling tickets to a club as well as setting up a barbecue inside. Combined, it estimated that we have made £700. As an added bonus the government, until February 2016, will match any money we make for Water Aid, so in fact we raised around £1400! This was all so much fun and it is going to a worth-while cause. Win win! Recently I attended a Social Impact Conference at my university. I helped run a stall for Water Aid, so people could talk to us and find out more. What became apparent to me was how little people knew about Water Aid. I always thought that Water Aid was one of the most well known International Organisations and hence their work would be known. This was quite a shock to me and means my communications role will be a harder challenge, but something I am willing to work hard on!

Although this is brief and explains only a small aspect of Water Aid, I hope you can see that there is far more to this Organisation than meets the eye. To me it is a very worthwhile investment as water is key to our very survival and I feel it is often overlooked by problems with energy etc. In my eyes, it is the biggest crisis we have on the planet. 650 million people live without safe water and 1 in 3 (2.3 billion) do not have adequate sanitation. Finally, 315,000 children under the age of 5 die due to diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty drinking water and poor sanitation. That equates to 900 children a day. I know that personally I want to do something about that! Hopefully Water Aid holds the key.