Sunday, February 27, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011. Gr.B. Match11. India vs England

As a limited over international,the Group.B. match between India and England, was unforgettable. Over 670 runs in 100 overs, dramas and counter dramas, and the match ended in a tie, each side making 338 runs in 50 overs.

Dhoni won a good toss, and it was the master blaster Sachin, who blew away the opposition with a cultured 125 of 110 deliveries. No blemish whatsoever, and the innings was well placed. Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni contributed in different proportions and India finished with a healthy 338 runs. There were certain minor blemishes in the batting order. Perhaps an exchange of positions between Kohli and Yuvraj would have yielded 20 to 30 runs more, as Yuvraj is a better finisher and Kohli a better constructor. Bresnen bowled a brilliant spell of 10-1-48-5. Others just bowled and fielding by England was poor.

England were given a rousing start, with 68 runs in under 10 overs when Pietersen fell, caught & bowled Munaf for 31 of 22. Trott did not add much and was consumed by Chawla in the 17th over, with team score on 111. Bell joined Strauss and carved out a 170 runs partnership in 26 overs, and at 2 for 280 in the 42nd over, it was England all the way.

Strauss perhaps did a strategic mistake of calling for batting power play at this stage. This woke up Dhoni from his slumber, and for the first time in the match, a field setting suiting a high scored total, was set more by default than imagination. Zaheer bowled a brilliant spell getting, Bell, Strauss and Collingwood for 69 of 71, 158 of 145 and 1 of five in the 43rd and 45th overs. The match took a dramatic turn, with 6 down for 289 in 45.2 overs.

With 49 runs to score in 28 balls, India were favoured to win at this stage. Yardy fell at 307 in 47.3 overs. 15 balls and 31 runs, and the Indian supporters already started celebrating. In came the 49th over, and Dhoni brought in Chawla, perhaps banking on the fact that he was in the team as a specialist spinner. Chawla was clouted for 17 runs in the over, before castling Bresnen. Munaf started the 50th over , and England to make 14 runs for a win.

When you are bowling at such a situation, the bowling team takes all the time in the world with a strategy for every ball. Both Dhoni and Munaf faulterd, as Munaf bowled in a hurry to finish the match. Field positions were poor, with no long on, deep third man or deep fine leg. Mind you in such a situation, particularly the tail, slogs and the ball flies to such positions. This is exactly what happened, with Shazad clouting Munaf over long on for a narrow six. Two runs to get of the last ball, and Swan managed a single, and the match was tied.

In the post match interview, every one praised cricket as the winner and what a great match it was. However the fact remains that, be it England or India, have lost this match due to poor fielding, field positioning and bowling, excepting Bresnen and Zaheer.

Indian bowling & fielding has been the major suspect in this tournament. India struggled against Bangladesh and now against England. Are we sure we are looking at a CWC 2011 winner in India ??

ICC-CWC2011-Match.10. Gr.A. Pakistan vs SriLanka

Pakistan 277 for 7 beat Sri Lanka 266 for 9 by 11 runs at the Premadasa Stadium. Younus Khan 73 in 76 balls and Misbha 83 in 91 balls, paved the way for a good total of 277 for 7 in the 50 overs, for Pakistan. good contributions were also made by Hafeez 32 of 31 and Kamran Akmal 39 of 48. Murali bowled brilliantly for 10-0-35-1, well supported by Hearath 10-0-46-2. The pacers were taken for plenty with Kulasekara giving away 64 runs for no wickets. Perera 9-0-62-2 , and Mathews 10-0-56-1.

SriLanka made a good start with Taranga and Dilshan putting on 76 runs for the opening wicket. Jayawardane and Samaraweera fell early. Sangakara 49 of 61 and LPC Silva 57 of 78, batted sensibly to take SriLanka closer to the score, but could not finish it. Mathews & Perera added a bit. But Pakistan were the winners by 11 runs. Shahid Afridi was again at his best with 10-0-34-4. Shoaib Akhtar took two and Gul, Hafeez and Rehman picked a wicket each.

Pakistan have played both their games well and their confidence must be sky high, and will be aa strong contender for the semis.

Friday, February 25, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011. Gr.B. Match.9. Bangladesh vs Ireland

Bangladesh 205 all out beat Ireland178 all out by 27 runs. Shaiful's brilliant 4 for 21, secured Bangladesh, their first crucial victory in Group.B. Bangladesh choosing to bat on a wicket of low bounce and turn, started in a whirlwind fashion, scoring over eight runs per over within the first six.

Ireland bowled and fielded intelligently and Bangla kept losing wickets, to some good bowling and indiscreet batting. Tamim made 44 of 43, Mushfiqur 36 of 66, Raqibul 38 of 69 and Naeem Islam 29 of 38 were the principle scorers. Botha 9-1-32-3 and Dockrell 10-2-23-2, bowled the middle overs well and choked the Bangadeshis. Johnston and Mooney picked up two and one wicket each. Bangladesh were bowled out for 205 in their 50th over.

Ireland played their heart out, but did not have the strength to cope up with Bangladesh, playing in their own backyard. The game was a close one going neck to neck till the fall of 7th wicket at 164 in the 40th over. Apart from Shafiul Islam, Md.Ashraful and the skipper Shakib Al Hasan, picked up wickets at crucial stages and finished with two wickets each. Abdur Razzak and naeem picked up a wicket each. O'Brien brothers made 38 and 37, and Botha compiled a polished 22.

watch out for this team Ireland. They will go places as the tournament progresses.

ICC-CWC.2011. Match.8. Gr,A. NewZealand vs Australia

Australia 207 for 3 in 34 overs, trounced New Zealand 206 all out by seven wickets for a clean two on two.

The top order has been the major worry for the New Zealand team, and today they were no better. Six wickets fell in a heap by the 17th over, for a meagre 73 runs on board. Vettori, Nathen McCullum and How, brought in some sense of respectability, and New Zealand managed to score 206 runs in 45 overs.
Johnson 9.1-3-33-4, Tait 7-0-35-3 and Lee 8-2-29-1 were just unplayable. Watson & Smith picked up a wicket each.
Australian openers just blew away the New Zealand bowlers, adding a methodical 133 runs in 18 overs for the first wicket. Watson 62 of 61 and Haddin 55 of 50 were consumed by Bennett.

Clarke and White finished of the match with an unbroken partnership of 41 runs. Ponting failed again and restrained himself in the dressing room from knocking of a Vidarbha Stadium property. Good for you Ponting !! Other than Bennett, Southee picked up a lone wicket.

All the matches till now in this CWC-2011, have been boring and one sided. Lets us wish, the teams would dish out more competetive cricket in the days to come.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011. Match.7. Gr.B. West Indies vs South Africa

West Indies 222 all out, lost to South Africa 223 for 3 by seven wickets, at the Feroz Shah Kotla. It was not Gayle's wicket falling in the first over to Botha, but five wickets falling from 208 for 5 to 223 all out in 31 balls did West Indies in.

Gayle fell early misreading a sharpish away going delivery from Botha to be caught by Kallis for 2. A 111 runs partnership between DS Smith and DM Bravo,in 23 overs steadied the ship. Smith rotating the strike well made 36 of 57 and Bravo a gallant 73 of 82. Sarwan fell to a contested LBW decision, which went in South Africa's favour. Chandrapaul scratched through for 31 of 51 balls. DJ Bravo played brilliantly for his 40 of 36 balls, before being run out unfortunately to a bad call by Chandrapaul. Wickets fell like ninepins thereafter and West Indies folded to 222 all out in 47.3 overs. Imran Tahir, with his deceptive leg spin, bagged 4 wickets for 41 on debut. Steyn was his usual fiery best with 3 for 24 & Botha picked up 2 for 48.

South Africa went methodically to achieve the target in 42.5 overs, with AB de Villiers unbeaten on 107 of 105 balls. Smith played a scratchy 45 of 78. Duminy finished the match remaining not out on 42 of 53. Benn, Roach and Pollard picked a wicket each. DJ Bravo had to be carried out of the field after a grievous injury and may not take further part in the tourney. What a pity.

What is ailing the West Indies ? They have a brilliant team with Pollard at number eight, stll !! Perhaps Gary Kirsten need to coach them .

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ICC-WC 2011. Gr.A. Match.6. Pakistan vs Kenya

Pakistan 317 for 7 powered their way to a mammoth victory over Kenya 112 all out by 205 runs. Pakistanis can never be written off. They are the best team on display till now, with a balanced batting and bowling attack.

Pakistan chose to bat, after winning the toss, and were in trouble at the initial phase, losing two wickets for 12 runs in the seventh over. Kamran Akmal 55 0f 67 and Yunis 50 of 67, steadied the ship with a solid 98 run partnership, in 18 overs. Misbah 65 of 69 and Umar Akmal 71 of 52 built on the innings score well supported by Mr.Extras at 46.

Kenyans bowled with a mixture of excellence and shabbiness, and were surprisingly poor in the field too. Odoyo 3 for 41, Otieno , Ngoche, Kamande and Tikolo picked up a wicket each.

Kenyans were no match for the top line Pakistani bowlers and were just blown away. Shahid Afridi ran through the side with a spell of Umar Gul 2 for 12 and Hafeez 1 for 26 were the other wicket takers.

Pakistani batting line up may be tested against better opponents, but they have an excellent bowling combination, which can win them close matches. Watch out for this team.

ICC-WC 2011. Gr.B. Match5. Netherlands vs England

A brilliant 119 in 110 balls by Netherland's RN ten Doeschate not withstanding, England 296 for 4 beat Netherlands 292 for six by four wickets.

Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat, and how brilliantly they did that. Revolving around a great batting display by RN ten Doeschate, all the Netherland batsmen contributed. England were shabby in bowling fielding and to an extent in their gamesmanship too. When tenDoeschate, scored the brilliant hundred, vociferously supported by a smallish crowd at the Nagpur arena, not one Englishman applauded him. pathetic display.

Other than Swan, every bowler was taken for plenty. Anderson sprayed the ball everywhere to finish with Broad, Bresnen & Collingwood were the other wicket takers.

The English batting however came good, in absence of top quality bowling. Every Englishman, contributed with Strauss 88 of 83, Pietersen 39 of 61, Trott 62 of 65, Bell 33 of 40, Collingwood not out on 30 of 23 and Bopara not out on 30 of 20. RN ten Doeschate 2 for 47, Seelar 1 for 54 and Bukhari 1 for 54 were among wickets. Though England won, there was nothing to write home about. ten Doeschate was the natural choice for the man of the match.

Other than New Zealand and SriLanka, all the giants have struggled against the minnows. Anyone amongst the qualifying quarter finalists, could be the winners this year. Any way it is early days and let us wait and watch

Monday, February 21, 2011

ICC - WC-2011. Match.4. Gr.A. Australia vs Zimbabwe

Australia 262 for 6 beat Zimbabwe, 171 all out by 91 runs. Ponting's men, the current champions, started of with a comfortable victory, but the way they struggled against spin, tells volumes of things to come.

Australians had in the starting line up Tait, Lee and Johnson as the front line bowling attack. Bollinger did not find a place and this speaks volumes of the quality of pace attack Aussies possess. Zimbabweans combated this with just two medium pacers in Mpofu and Chigumbura and a bagful of spinners in Price Left Arm orthodox, Sean Williams Slow left arm, AG Cremer Leg spin, Prosper Utseya and Taylor off Spin.

Zimbabweans choked the Australians till the forty fifth over, which included the batting power play between 40th and 44th overs. Aussies were four down for 204 in the 45th over scoring at 4.6 runs, and slogged a bit between 46th and 50th to finish at 262 for 6. Zimbabweans fielded their hearts out. Perhaps a score of 262 was too much for the Zimbabweans not known for their prowess in batting, but would have been cattle fodder for the big guns like India, SriLanka, South Africa & England, with the Aussies depending on quickies.

SR Watson laboured for his 79 of 92 balls, Haddin hailed as the Australian front to match spin hung around to make a scratchy 29 of 66 balls, Ponting ran himself out for 28. Clarke made a good 58 of 55 balls. Australians finished at 262 for six. The Zimbabwean spinners had a good match with Price, Utseya & Cremer Mpofu bowled well for

Zimbabweans lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 171 in 47 overs. Johnson bowled a brilliant spell of, well supported by Krejza 2 for 28 & Tait 2 for 34. Lee & Hussey picked up a wicket each. Australia need to do a lot of homework as the tournament progresses. They have SriLanka, Pakistan & NewZealand to contend with, and each one of them is unbeatable on their day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ICC WC 2011- Match.2 & 3. Group.A

Match-2 . NewZealand vs Kenya at M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

NewZealand 72 for no loss in eight overs, beat Kenya 69 all out in 23.5 overs by 10 wickets. Totally one sided match and poor spectators, they could get a total game of 144 minutes and 31.5 overs.

Soutee 6-0-13-3, Bennett 5-0-16-4 and Oram 2.5-1-2-3, made mockery of Kenyan batsmen. Guptil 39 of 32 balls and BB McCullum 26 of 17, just thrashed the Kenyans.

Match.3. Sri Lanka vs Canada. Gr.A. at M Rajapaksa Stadium, Hambantota, SriLanka.
Another ones sided affair. SriLanka 332 for 7 beat Canada 122 all out by 210 runs. Thank god, SriLankans batted first, otherwise the match would have faced similar situation like the one between NewZealand and Kenya.

Dilshan made a sedate 50 of 59 balls, Sangakara and Mahela stroked their way to a brilliant 92 of 87 balls and 100 of 81 balls. Baidwan and Davison picked up two wickets each.

Canada was never in the game and folded at 122 all out in the 37th over. Bagai 22 of 47 and Cheema 37 of 35 batted reasonably. Kulasekhara and Perera picked up three wickets each. Murali picked two and Mendis and Samaraweera picked a wicket each.

Do ICC really have to play the minnows in World Cup. May be only the winner and runner of ICC Trophy for the minnows, be considered for inclusion. Cricket is a big show, and the sponsors and paying public deserve the best.

ICC. WC 2011- Match .1 .Gr. B. India vs Bangladesh at Dacca

India 370 for 4 beat Bangladesh 283 for 9 by 87 runs.Mirpur dished out exactly the kind of wicket suiting spinners and becoming better under the lights.

Shakib Al Hasan, called correctly and justifiably elected to field. The day Night matches at Dacca, have majorly gone in favour of team batting second. A slow turner, which becomes better under the lights and in spite of the February Dry heat, the dew plays a major part at the end stages of the match.

The opening bowlers for Bangla Desh, Shafiul Islam and Robel Hossein, did not justify the faith, their skipper had on them. Balls were sprayed every were and they went for plenty. Indians were up at 69 in the eleventh over when disaster struck. Both Tendulkar and Sehwag were caught at the same end of the wicket. Sehwag was looking at the ball when it was a clear Tendulkar call. School Boyish, Tendulkar run out for 28 of 29 balls. Sehwag was shell shocked, but played like a champion thereafter. In the company of Gambhir, he added 83 runs for the second wicket, when Gambhir fell bowled by Mahmudullah's slow off break for 39 runs at a run a ball. Two down for 152 in the 24th over.

Sehwag was going great guns at the other end and was nosing towards his hundred. Kohli preferred over Raina, joined Sehwag and added a whirlwind partnership of 203 runs in 24.1 overs. Sehwag fell at the team total of 355 in the 48th over bludgeoning all the bowlers for a well made 175 in just 140 deliveries. Justifiably Kohli made a Hundred of 89 balls and remained not out. Yusuf fell in the 50th over slogging and India finished at 370 for four wickets, scoring at 7.4 runs per over.

All Bangla bowlers were taken to the cleaners. Shafiul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan & Mahmuddullah finished with a wicket each. The batsmen ship was at the superlative best, in spite of the ball coming slow of the wicket and offering a low bounce. It was Sehwag and Virat all the way.

Bangla team can never be written off. They played manfully with a blistering start. 50 runs were up on the board in a jiffy in the seventh over. Imrul Kayes fell for 34 of 29 balls, in the seventh over for a team total of 56. Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddiqui, added 73 runs for the second wicket but consumed 17 overs doing so. Bangla Desh were 129 for 2 in the 24th over, when Junaid fell for 37 of 52 balls. Tamim Iqbal fell making 70 of 86 balls at 188 in the 33 rd over. Shakib Al Hasan was the next to go for a skipper's knock of 55 of 50 balls.

There were starts almost by all Bangla batsmen, but when a team is chasing a huge score one batsman need to bat through. This did not happen and Bangladesh folded out for a losing but well made 283 for nine in the fiftieth over.

Munaf was at his best. The wickets of Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes , with slower deliveries from the back of the wrist were a treat to watch. Harbhajan foxed Junaid with a peach of a delivery going away with his arm to be stumped by Dhoni. Munaf went on to pick 4 wickets for 48 runs, adding Mahmudullah and Naeem Islam, to his kitty. Zaheer bowled with his spell intelligently and picked 2 for 40. Harbhajan and Yusuf chipped in with a wicket each, and India comfortably won the game.

Shakib Al Hassan, at the pre match interview, was looking at holding the Indians for score of around 270/280. One dreads to think, if it had happened. At least on the day the India's bowling other than Munaf was pedestrian and the fielding pathetic. The batting line up is divine. With the kind of batting Dhoni can afford to play, two fast bowlers and two spinners.
Sreesanth might as well forget this match and look at the future matches, correcting his mistakes at this match. But will he be in the final eleven is a question mark. Wish him luck, he is a good bowler, who had a bad day at office.

Friday, February 18, 2011

ICC WC 2011- Curtain Raiser

What a start for the ICC WC 2011. The grand opening ceremony at the Banga Bandhu Stadium, was just the right curtain raiser for things to come. The tournament slated to be watched by over 800 Million people world over, should create records, which will be difficult to beat.

Come 19th February, the tournament kicks of with the favourites India taking on the dangerous underdogs Bangladesh, at Mirpur.
Mirpur, at the last practice match between Pakistan and Bangladesh, turned out a rank turner of a wicket, which superbly suited the spinners. What is it going to be for the opening match,is any body's guess. To add to the worries, the dew always had an impact on the day night fixtures in Bangladesh. Though this may not affect majorly in the dry February heat, the last ten to fifteen overs at the end of the match can be crucial.

India will be playing under pressure of the favourite tag, Bangladesh Home crowd and the2007 shock. But in recent times, Indians have been faring well under pressure under the ever cool MSD.

India have started with a favourite tag in many World Cups, but never had the label been more authentic than now. Their bowling attack may look a little fragile, but the batting line up is awesome with players like Raina, Yusuf, Yuvraj and Virat fighting for slots. Bangladesh has many left arm spinners. MSD would be better of carrying more left hand batsmen than right.

As for Bangladesh, Shaiful Islam is carrying an injury concern, but should play. Mahmuddula and Naeem Islam will probably be played as the spin bowling all rounders. Raqibul Hasan may play ahead of Md.Ashraful awfully out of form. Bangladesh will go in to the match with Two pacers and plenty of slow bowlers.

The match can go either way with India going in with 60% chance of a win. Wish the Men in Blue Luck.