Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011. Semi Finals.2. India vs Pakistan

India 260 for 9 in fifty overs, beat Pakistan 231 all out by 29 runs, to enter the finals of ICC-CWC2011, to be played at Wankhede stadium, against Sri Lanka. On the day Indians were clear victors. The Indian bowling machine clicked as a unit, and seemed to have peaked at the right time.

Batting first on a pitch, which was offering a low bounce and spin, India were given a flying start by Sehwag making thunderous 38 of 25 balls. Tendulkar made a non characteristic 85 of 115 balls with four lives, In fact when on 25, Tendulkar was adjusted LBW, by Ian Gould and escaped the anvil through UDRS, the ball clearly missing the leg stump. Gambhir made a brisk 27 of 32, and exited in the customary fashion of getting out when set.

Pakistan bowlers, with Wahab Riaz bowling brilliantly. supported by Ajmal, Hafeez and Afidi, in controlling mid and end overs, restricted India to 260 runs on a wicket full of runs. Wahab finished with an excellent spell of 10-0-46-5. Ajmal took 2 for 44 and Hafeez 1 for 34. Thanks to a brilliant 36 of 39 by Raina, India could go past 250.

Pakistan started sedately and at 44 runs in the ninth over lost Kamran Akmal caught Yuvraj bowled Zaheer for 19 of 21. Hafeez went in the 16th over for 43 of 59 balls, caught by Dhoni of Munaf's out swinger. Asad Shafiq & Yunis Khan added 33 runs over nine overs, Yunis labouring for 13 of 32 and Asad a good 30 of 39, before both were taken at a team score of 103 and 106.

Umar akmal, joined Misbha and made a quick fire 29 of 24, when Harbhajan castled him with a top spinner. Abul Razzaq followed with the team score reading 150 of 6, bowled by Munaf for 3. Afridi joined Misbha and made a customary quick 19 of 17, when Harbhajan had him caught by Sehwag.

India went for the kill and took wickets at regular intervals. Misbha made a sedate 56 of 76 and at no time looked to be playing for a team's cause. Pakistan were bowled out for 231 in the 50th over, to leave India victors by 29 runs.

Indian bowling machine have peaked at the right time. All the bowlers bowled well. Zaheer 9.5-0-58-2, Nehra 10-0-33-2, Munaf 10-1-40-2, Harbhajan 10-0-43-2, and Yuvraj 10-1-57-2. shared the spoils equally.

India's confidence will be on the high now, when they meet Sri Lanka, for their third entry to a World Cup finals. But the Sri Lankan's are on the high too, and no team can afford to be complacent.

India are just a game away. The Men in Blue, can do it and will do it.

ICC-CWC2011. Semi Finals.1. Sri Lanka vs New Zealand

Sri Lanka 220 for five beat New Zealand 217 all out by five wickets. The victory seemingly comfortable and easy, was in reality filled with tension, and had to be achieved with caution more than flamboyance

New Zealand batting first, were given a steady start. Guptil 39 of 65, B McCullum 13 of 21, Jesse Ryder 19 of 34 & Ross Taylor 36 of 55, batted sedately to bring up a team score of 161 for 4 in the 40th over. A over par score of 25o, was expected, from the team known for its never say die spirits. However Malinga 3 for 55, Murali 2 for 48 and Mendis 3 for 35 bowling excellent mid overs supported by Dilshan and Herath with a wicket each, bowled New Zealand out for 217 within the 49th over. Styris 57 of 77 and Williamson 22 of 16 were the other contributors.

Taranga made a quickfire 30 of 31 balls, before Ryder took an acrobatic catch at gully of Southee's bowling. Dilshan and Sangakara, added 120 for the second wicket in 25 overs, and the stands already started the celebrations. Dilshan fell courtesy Ryder and Southee combination for a sedate 73 of 93.

New Zealand now pounced on the small opening and Jayawardane followed Dilshan, LBW Vettori in the next over for just one at a team score of 161 for 3. Three overs and eight runs thereafter, New Zeland had Sangakara caught by Styris of McKay for 54. LPC Silva was all at sea during his stay for 13 runs of 27 deliveries, when Southee castled him.

With the team total at 185 for 5 in the 43rd over, winning score of 218, looked a long way off, with the New Zealand tail up. Angelo Mathews, batting with a runner came to the fore at this stage with a brave 14 of 18 balls with a four and a six. Samaraweera, kept his end up and the pair raised the winning score in the 48th over. Southee 3 for 57, Vettori 1 for 36 and McKay one for 37 were among the wickets. At the end of the day, New Zealand were short of 15/20 runs, which they could have perhaps achieved.

New Zealand, lost the semis, but won every one's heart. Sri Lanka now awaits the winner of India and Pakistan, for the finals at Wankhede Mumbai. New Zealand showed the chinks in the Sri Lankan armour. It is for the opponents to pick on these, during the finals.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

ICC-CWC2011. QF4. Sri Lanka vs England

England 229 for 6 lost to Sri Lanka 231 for no loss, by ten wickets, to set up a Home Semi Final against New Zealand.

Dilshan unbeaten on 108 and Taranga unbeaten on 102, set an emphatic seal on Sri Lanka's semifinal entry to be played at Premadasa stadium, Colombo on Tuesday the 29th of March. The loss was a correct index for the chaotic performance by the English through out the tournament.

Trott made a laborious 86 and Morgan a chancy 50 to set up a testing total of 230, at a venue where run chases have always been difficult. Sri Lankan openers went about methodically, to prove the notion wrong, and sauntered to victory, by ten wickets and a massive 63 balls to spare.

The Sri Lankan bowlers, in spite of a bagful of dropped sitters, bowled manfully to restrict the English to below par score. Murali bowled at his usual best to pick 2 for 54. Malinga, Dilshan, Mathews and Mendis took a wicket each.

Three Sub Continent teams are in the Semi Finals. It will only be fair that the World Cup 2011 is taken by one of them. All the Semi Finalists are equally strong, and the spectators and cricket enthusiasts are in for a real treat. Let the best team on the day win. Who ever loses need not feel crest fallen, as all the semifinalists are championship material, and that's the reason why they are in the semis.

Friday, March 25, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. QF3. New Zealand vs South Africa

New Zealand 221 for 8, beat South Africa 172 all out, by 49 runs, in the third Quarter Finals of CWC 2011, played at Mirpur, Dacca.

Earlier this month, Graeme smith tweeted an article titled " Time to ban the 'C' word ". Four weeks in to the tournament, and in the seventh game, the "C" word again haunted South Africa. Cruising at 108 for 2 in the 25th over, they were shot out for 172. The tendency to choke showed out more than amply, when Kallis fell at 108. New Zealand realising the South Africans are cracking under pressure, went for the kill with attacking field and disciplined bowling. Mind you no extravaganza but simple and straight forward planned game. Hats off to the team of John Wright , Alan Donald and skipper Vettori.

Earlier, New Zealand, opting to bat on a normally low scoring Mirpur wicket, were two down for 16 in the sixth over. Jesse Ryder 83 of 121 and Taylor 43 of 72 , built up a steady partnership of 114 of 27 overs, which effectively proved to be a match winning partnership at the end. Styris made 16 of 17, and Willamson 38 of 41, adding useful partnerships with Ryder.

For the first time in CWC 2011, South Africa did not bowl out the opposition, but still bowled with venom to restrict New Zealand for an under par score. Steyn 10-0-42-2, Morkel 8-0-46-3, Imran Tahir 9-0-32-2 and Petersen 9-0-49-1, were among the wickets.

Amla fell for 7 in the first over. Jacob Oram had Smith, caught by substitute How, for 28 of 34 with the team total of 69 in the 15th over. Kallis and ABde Villiers, went about the job of accumulating the runs systematically, and at 108 for 2 in the 25th over, it looked as if South Africa had the match wrapped. Oram thought otherwise, and got rid of Kallis with an acrobatic catch of Southee's bowling.

The New Zealand bowler's virtually had no purchase from the wicket other than being disciplined. The total set by New Zealand was below par, but for some reason South Africa were feeling extremely claustrophobic. The South African nerves started showing, when Duminy played an awful shot, dragging on to his wicket, a very slow delivery from Nathen McCullum, pitched outside the off stump. South Africa were now showing chinks in the armour at 121 for 4 in the 28th over.

To add on to their woes, Faf du Plessis hit a ball to mid wicket and ran heedlessly to the other end. AB de Villiers, could have easily refused, but completed the partner's call to be run out when well set at 35 of 40. Frustration showed, when Faf du Plessis uttered nasty adjectives, which was followed by Vettori's outbursts on Faf du plessis. Kyle Mills and AB de Viliers, who was leaving the field also got in to the act, and it required a soccer referee like intervention by the umpires, to separate the waring factions.

New Zealand started crowding the bat, supported by never say die fielding, and South Africa were completely broken. Other than Faf du Plessis 36 of 43, no other batsmen in the middle and tail, touched double figures. Oram 9-1-39-4, Nathen Mc Cullum 10-1-24-3 bowled brilliantly to set up the victory. Southee and Woodcock picked a wicket each. New Zealand were in heaven and South Africa crest fallen.

New Zealand waits the winner of England and Sri Lanka, and now with an equal chance for the CWC 2011 title.

ICC-CWC-2011- QF.2. Australia vs India

Not withstanding an excellent century by skipper Ricky Ponting, Australia 260 for 6. lost to India 261 for 5 by five wickets, to set up a Indo Pak semifinal at Mohali.

Batting first on a dry, spinning Motera wicket, Australia were propelled by brilliant & chance less 104 of 118 balls by of form Ponting and a steady 53 of 62 by in form Haddin. Watson made a 25 of 38 balls up the order and David Hussey 38 of 26 to set up 260 runs to win.

Zaheer's second spells in the CWC 2011, is becoming a talking point. He castled MichaelHussey with a reverse swinging delivery for 3 and caught & bowled White for 12. Ashwin supported him well, castling Watson up the order and having Ponting caught by Zaheer at the close.

Yuvraj, who is proving to be a bowler to reckon, finished with 2 for 44. Bajji & Munaf did nothing of note. Dhoni had to cover up three overs of Munaf, with part time bowling of Tendulkar and Kholi.

India started in a steady note. Sehwag fell at 15 of 22 balls for a team total of 44 in 8.1 overs. Tendulkar and Gambhir, added 50 runs for the second wicket, when Tendulkar was consumed by a brute of a delivery from Tait to be caught behind for a brilliant 53 of 68 balls, which set up the tone of the match. Kohli joined Gambhir and the pair played sensibly to add 49 in ten overs, when Kohli was caught at mid on by Clarke, of a full toss of David Hussey. Yuvraj joined Gambhir, and with the team total of 168 in the 33rd over, Gambhir made three unsuccessful attempts to run himself out, succeeding finally in the fourth try, and was stupidly run out for 50 of 64 deliveries. Dhoni came and went consumed by Lee for seven runs.

With the team total of 187 for 5 in the 38th over, Raina walked in to join Yuvraj, with the Australian's tail up. But Yuvi and Raina, had different agenda, and took India to the winning post, with an undefeated sixth wicket partner ship of 72 in eleven overs. Yuvi remained not out on 57 of 65 and Raina unbeaten on 34 of 28.

Ponting did everything right on the day, without any support from his team mates. Salute him, you could not have seen better innings in a World Cup match. The fielding of the Indian team, improved tremendously, with three brilliant performers in Raina, Virat and Yuvi. India can now analyse the situation in real perspective and plan out their action plans and team choice.

Over the seven games played till now, Munaf has been a baggage in all fronts of bowling, batting, fielding and attitude. Harbhajan has done nothing of note. Nehra is just a passenger.Yusuf has shined in patches. Sreesanth has been given no real chance to comment. Chawla has been good and bad.

On the positives, the fielding has improved, thanks to Virat, Raina and Yuvi. The batting has clicked & needs only a bit of caution. Zaheer, Ashwin and Yuvi can now be confidently used to complete thirty overs, with results to boot.

It may be worthwhile looking at a team combination of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Raina, Zaheer & Ashwin. The remaining two slots can be filled considering situation. Against Pakistan, would be worthwhile playing Sreesanth and Yusuf, and we have a strong combination. Rest Bajji for some time. Poor guy, he really needs one.

Two more matches to go. Come on Men in Blue, Just do It.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. QF.1. Pakistan vs West Indies.

Pakistan 113 for no loss, crushed West Indies 112 all out, by a massive ten wickets margin in the first Quarter Finals of CWC 2011, played at Mirpur, Dacca. Pakistan are now just two games away, from repeating the heroics of Imran and his his warriors of 1992.

Between the three of them, the Pakistani spinners Hafeez, Afridi and Ajmal, had an enviable figures of 27.3-5-64-8, which broke the back of the West Indies. West Indies were routed to a low 112 all out in 43.3 overs. Other than a laborious 24 of 68 by Sarwan and still slower 44 of 106 by Chandrapaul, no West Indian batsmen did any thing of note. Their approach to the Pakistani spin trio was pathetic. Gul 7-1-13-1, Hafeez 10-3-16-2, Afridi 9.3-1-30-4, Ajmal 8-1-18-2 ans Razzaq 3-1-4-1, all made merry.

There was no devil in the wicket, which was more than amply demonstrated by the Pakistanis, when they reached the target with all wickets to spare in twenty overs. Hafeez 61 of 64 balls and Kamran Akmal 47 of 61, waltzed their way to victory.

The Pakistanis are getting stronger and stronger as the tournament progresses. It will require an all round cricketing performance by their opponents, to stop them. Good for Afridi the leading wicket taker in the CWC 2011 till now.

ICC-CWC.2011. Match.42. Gr.B. India vs West Indies

India once again did not complete their quota of 50 overs, and were bowled out for 268, powered by a clinical 111 runs by the inform Yuvraj Singh. However the score was enough to beat West Indies 188 all out by 80 runs for the second slot in Group B.

Batting first on winning the toss, the master blaster, did the most memorable thing of the day. Rampaul's beauty of delivery, caught Sachin snicking the faintest of the edges to the wicket keeper. Steve Davis the umpire ruled him not out only to find Sachin acknowledging the class of delivery and walking back to the pavilion, with the stadium going silent.

Gambhir and Kohli, added 43, when Gambhir holed out to Russel of Rampaul for an elegant 22 of 26. In walked Yuvraj to join Kohli, and was dropped by Russel in spite of an acrobatic dive and Sammy dropping a caught & bowled chance, when he was on 9. Yuvraj could do nothing wrong thereafter, sweeping, hooking & driving as only Yuvi can. Kohli 59 of 76, gave admirable support and the pair added 122 in 24 overs, when Kohli was bowled by a Rampaul yorker. Dhoni joined Yuvi and made 22 of 30 deliveries, before he was stumped of Bishoo, with the team total 218 for 4 in 42nd over. Now the familiar sight of Indian batting parade, started, with next six wickets falling for 50 runs, and the quota of 50 overs not completed. Indians were all out for 268.

West Indies did do nothing wrong, till the 30th over for a team total of 153 for 2, with Smith batting on a brilliant 81 of 97 deliveries, and Sarwan holding his end up and rotating the strike.Smith fell at the team score of 154, castled by Zaheer with a peach of a reverse swinging yorker. West Indies now on a familiar territory, of losing from winning positions, lost the next seven wickets for 34 runs to be bowled out for 188, to finish fourth from Group.B. Ashwin 2 for 41, Zaheer 3 for 26 and Yuvraj 2 for 18, bowled India to victory. Harbhajan& Raina picked a wicket each.

Now the serious business of Quarter Finals starts. India will meet Australia at Ahmedabad, for a place in Semis. To pick out a winner among the two would be difficult, as both the teams are not performing to potential. It will be the batting prowess of India vs the bowling skills of the Aussies. Probably, the scales are slightly favouring the Aussies. India need to tone their bowling skills, and tighten their batting, which is their strength.

It may be a good idea to play five bowlers and six batters. How about a bowling combination of Zaheer, Sreesanth, Harbhajan, Aswin and Piyush Chawla ? With Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Kohli and Dhoni in the batting front, this is worth a try.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match 41. Gr.A. Zimbabwe vs Kenya

Zimbabwe 308 for six beat Kenya 147 all out by 161 runs. There were all round contributions from the Zimbabwean batsmen, with Taibu 53 of 74, Sibanda61 of 57 and Ervine 66 of 54 excelling with the bat, Otieno with 2 wickets for 61 was the pick of the Kenyan bowlers.

Kenya were never in the picture and were bowled out fr 147. Price, Lamb and Cremer, picked up two wickets each. Mpofu and Utseya picked a wicket apiece.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Matches 39 & 40.

Match.No.39. Gr.B. South Africa vs Bangladesh.

South Africa 284 for 8 demolished Bangladesh 78 all out by 206 runs. South Africa rested, Steyn, Morkel & AB de Villiers and brought in the bench strength Tsotsobe and Parnel. This South African team has prepared themselves well and will not settle for anything other than the CWC 2011 . Amla 51 of 99, Smith 45 of 68, & Kallis 69 of 76 gave South Africa a strong base. F du Plessis 52 of 52 and Petersen 22 of 9 finished the game well for a team score of 284 for 8. Shakib 2 for 46 and Rubel 3 for 56 bowled well.
Bangladesh were blown out of the CWC 2011, by Tsotsobe 5-2-14-3 and Petersen 7-3-12-4. and finished at a poor 78 all out, Shakib making 30 of 49.
Match 40. Gr.A. Australia vs Pakistan.
Australia's unbeaten record since 1999 World Cup was broken by Pakistan, who were Australia's nemesis in 1999 too. Australia batting first, were bowled out for 176 in 46.4 overs, by some sustained seam bowling by Umar Gul 7.4-1-30-3 and Abul Razzaq 4-0-8-2. Afridi, Abdur Rehman, Wahab Riaz & Md.Hafeez picked a wicket each. Haddin 42 of 80, Clarke 34 of 48 and SPD Smith 25 of 32 contributed with the bat for the Aussies.

The Premadasa wicket was getting slower, and Pakistan had to be at its best to get to the winning post. Kamran Akmal 28 of 27 and Asad Shafiq 46 of 81 steadily built a partnership. Younis Khan 31 of 42 and Umar Akmal 44 of 59 took them nearer to the goal and Abdul Razzaq finished the match with 20 of 24. Bret Lee was the only bowler, at his impressive best with 8-1-28-4

A good match, played very well by the Pakistanis, exposed the limitations of the Australian batting. What is ailing Ponting? He should be showing his batting prowess in the field instead of the dressing room.

ICC-CWC.2011- Match 38. Gr.A. Sri Lanka vs NewZealand

Sri Lanka 265 for 9, overwhelmed NewZealand 153 all out by 102 runs, to finish their preliminary rounds with 9 points and in to the Quarter Finals.

Sangakara made a brilliant 111 of 128 balls, well supported by Jayawardane 66 of 90 balls and Angelo Mathews 41 of 35 balls. Southee picked up 3 for 63 and Nathen McCullum 2 for 48.

NewZeland were never in the match and lost wickets at regular . Murali 8-0-25-4 and Mendis 6-0-24-2, spun NewZealand out for 153 in 35 overs. Both NewZeland and Sri Lanka have qualified for QF. The positions will be decided after the Australian match with Pakistan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011- Match.37. Gr.B. Netherlands vs Ireland

Ireland finished their 2011 CWC campaign in high note, by successfully chasing over three hundred runs, against Netherlands at Eden Gardens, Calcutta.

Batting first on a sporty Eden wicket, Ireland made 306 all out in 50 overs. Good contributions from RN ten Doeschate 106 of 108, his second century in CWC 2011, Barresi 44 of 49 & Borren 84 of 82, helped Netherlands with a solid score. Stirling & Mooney picked two wickets each.

The pitch was a batting beauty, and showed no traces of wear. Ireland comfortably passed Netherlands score in the 48th over losing just four wickets. Portsfield 68 of 93, Stirling a brilliant 101 of 72, Joyce 28 of 33 & Wilson 27 of 21, took Ireland near the goal. Brien brothers, NJ O'Brien 57 of 58 and KJ O'Brien 15 of 9, finished the match and remained undefeated at the end.

Cooper 2 for 31, Seelaar 1 for 55 and RN ten Doeschate 1 for 58 were among the wickets. This Irish team played whole heatedly with limited resources, confirming the fact that Cricket is a team Game and collective efforts even if ordinary, will scale heights.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.36. Gr.B. England vs West Indies

Erratic England 243 all out in 48 .4 overs, beat West Indies 225 all out in 44.4 overs, by 18 runs, to keep their chances of a QF berth alive in CWC 2011.

Chidambaram stadium, is known for its slow and low bounce of the wicket, particularly as the match progresses and ball gets older. It behaved exactly as predicted. Batting was not a joy on this wicket, and England did reasonably well, to finish at 243 runs, with bits and pieces performance from Strauss 31 of 39, Prior 21 of 21, Trott 47 of 38, Bell 27 of 48, Wright 44 of 57 and Bresnen 20 of 27. West Indies bowler's added to the tally with a bag full of 22 extras.

Russell taken for plenty in his initial overs came back well to finish with 8-0-49-4. Bishoo the debutant, bowled intelligently, using the prevailing conditions to finish with an impressive 10-0-34-3. Roach took two wickets for 34 runs.

West Indies looked very good at times and pedestrian at times, to go down for 228 in 44.4 overs. Surprisingly , they never opted for the batting power play. One thought at 220 for six, with Russell and Sarwan well settled in the 41st over, the batting power play would have made a whale of a difference. Between 222 when Russell fell in 41.4 overs and end of match 225 all out in 44.4, nothing really happened other than wickets falling in a jiffy. Sammy is a captain by default and not by choice. One can only feel sorry for him. Any way for the records, Gayle made 43 of 21, Sammy 41 of 29, Sarwan 31 of 68, Pollard 24 of 27 and Russell 40 of 46. Swan 10-1-36-3, Tredwell 10-2-48-2 and Bopara 8.4-2-22-2. throttled the West indies at the post.

Luck more than action has favoured England till now. Will they turn the table if they qualify for the next stage ?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.35. Gr.A. Australia vs Canada

Canada 211 all out lost to Australia 212 for 3 by seven wickets. Australia's Lee and Tait did not know what hit them in their opening overs. Nineteen year old Patel, playing only his second match of ODI, slammed 54 of 45 with five fours and three sixes, before falling to Watson in the twelfth over. The Canadian total had swelled to 82 at 11.3 overs.Surkari 34 of 69 and skipper Bagai 39 of 55, kept the momentum going and at 2 for 150, in the 28th over a score in excess of 250 looked a certainty.

However, it was not to be. Australian's just kept their cool and controlled the mid overs, with Lee excelling with his reverse swing, and Tait with his toe crushers. From 150 for 2, eight wickets fell for addition of 61 runs, and Canada were bowled out for 211 in the 46th over. Lee 8.4-0-46-4, Tait 8-1-34-2, & Krejza 10-0-44-2 were the pick of the bowlers.

Australian opening pair of Watson 94 of 90 balls, and Haddin 88 of 84 balls, put on an opening partnership of 183 runs, which almost sealed the match in Australian favour. Ponting failed again. Clarke and White made the winning runs.

Ponting was again at his worst behaviour, when Smith came in his line as Ponting was catching Baidwan of Krejza. Though Ponting took the catch, lost his temper over such a trivial matter, using strong adjectives against Smith. What is happening Ricky, losing your nerve, since you are not performing. Why worry when your mates are doing good. Cheer up man !!

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.34. Gr.B. South Africa vs Ireland

South Africa 272 for 7 trounced Ireland 141 all out by 131 runs at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta.

South Africa batting first at the Eden Gardens, with a lush outfield, made 272 for seven. with contributions from, Duminy 99 of 103 balls, MN van Wyk 42 of 41 balls and Ingram 46 of 43 balls. Rankin. Johnston, Mooney, Dockrel and Stirling picked a wicket each.

Ireland lost wickets early and at regular intervals to be bowled out for 141 in the 34th over. Wilson made 31 of 48 balls. Morkel 3 for 33, Petersen 3 for 32, Kallis 2 for 20, Botha 1 for 32 and Duminy 1 for 11 were amongst the wickets.

With this victory, South Africa became the first team from Group.B. to qualify for the Quarter Finals. There is a rat race for places 2 to 4 in Group B, between India, West Indies, Bangladesh and England. the next four days will be interesting.

ICC-CWC.2011. Match Nos.32 & 33.

Match No.33. Gr.A. Pakistan vs Zimbabwe.

In a match reduced to 39.4 overs each due to inclement weather, Zimbabwe 151 for seven lost to Pakistan 164 for three, by seven wickets. Other than Ervine's 52 of 82 and Chigumbura's 32 of 46, no other batsmen from Zimbabwe, really contributed. Umar Gul was at his best with 7.4-1-36-3.

For Pakistan, Md.Hafeez 49 of 65 and Asad Shafiq 78 of 97, batted freely to take their team through.Price bowled well for 8-1-21-2.

Match.No.32. Gr.B. Bangladesh vs Netherlands
Netherlands 160 all out, lost to Bangladesh 166 for 4 by six wickets.
RN ten Doeschate's unbeaten 53 runs of 71 balls, was the only noteworthy performance. For Bangladesh Abdur Razzak picked three for 29. For Bangladesh, Imrul Kayes 73 of 113, Junaid 35 of 53 and Nafeez 37 of 60, batted out Netherlands for a comfortable victory. Cooper picket 2 wickets for 33 in seven overs.

With this victory, Bangladesh are in with a good chance of QF bearth.If England loses to West Indies, Bangladesh would be in irrespective of their final game results against South Africa.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Matches 30 & 31. Gr.A

Match.30. Group A. New Zealand vs Canada

New Zealand 358 for 6 beat Canada 261 for 9, by 97 runs. Every batsman contributed, with BB McCullum making 101 of 109, and Taylor making 74 of 44. Baidwan 3 for 84, Balaji Rao 2 for 62 and Davison 1 for 30 picked up the wickets.
Canada did a reasonable job of chasing, making 261 for 9, with Bagai and Hansra making 84 and 70 runs each. Oram 3 for 47 and Mills 2 for 2 were the pick of the New Zealand bowlers. New Zealand batting and bowling is peaking at the right time. They are game triers, and let us wish them luck.

Match.31. Group.A. Australia vs Kenya
Australia 324 for 6 beat Kenya 264 for 6 by 60 runs. Excepting Cameron White, all Australians got in to double figures, with Clarke 93 of 80, Haddin 63 of 79 and Michel Hussey 54 of 43. Odhiambo 3 for 57, Kamande 2 for 46 and Obuya 1 for 33 bowled well.
Kenyan's were never in the hunt, but batted their heart out for 264 for 6, with Obuya making a brilliant 98 not out of 129 and Mishra 72 of 89. Tait and Lee took two and a wicket each. Kenyan's lost the match, but were the darling of the crowd on the day. Australians have kept their undefeated record in CWC. Will they take it all way ?

ICC-CWC2011- Match.29. Gr.B. India vs South Africa

In a fascinating chase, South Africa 300 for 7 in 49.4 overs, edged India 296 all out by three wickets at a humdinger of a match at Nagpur. South Africa, with their choking past hounding them, held their nerves at the right stages and walked out victors, in a crucial match.

India had a brilliant start with Sachin and Sehwag, putting on 142 for the first wicket in just 17.4 overs. Shewag was taken at this stage, bowled by du Plessis for 73 of 66 balls. In walked Gambhir in his customary third slot, and gave no respite to the South Africans. Sachin & Gambhir added 125 for the second wicket in 22 overs, with Sachin on 111 and Gambhir on 69, team score 267 for 1, in just 39 overs.

The batting power play was opted at over 38, and this turned tables. Four wickets fell in this phase, for the addition of just 30 runs. Sachin fell at 267, Gambhir at 268 and Yusuf at 268. Team score 268 for 4 in 40.3. Still 56 deliveries to go, and even at a run a ball, the team would have made over 325. The expectations were however for a score of over 350.

What really happened was a mayhem, and nine wickets were thrown away for 29, runs and India were all out for 296 in 48.3 overs. The whole stadium went silent. This was just a casual approach, and need a reprimand. Dhoni in his post match interview, commented the batters were playing for galleries and not for India. What was he himself doing. He was a skipper after all and could have easily talked some sense to the batters at the other end. He did not bother to rotate strike. Dear MS it is easy to criticise, but have you done a retrospect on yourself ?

Steyn was at his usual best, hounding the Indians for a figure of 9.4-0-50-5, supported by Petersen, Kallis, du Plessis and Morkel.

Excepting MN van Wyk, every batsman, contributed. Kallis and Amla, set it up, AB de Villiers pushed it closer, JP Duminy and Botha, finished the event, with support from Petersen and du Plessis. Nehra was rocked out of his end over, with Petersen, inside edging a four and clouting a six over long on of the first two deliveries of the fiftieth. The match finished in 49.4 overs, advantage South Africa.

The match left all the Indian supporters, commentators, critics and the nation as a whole, with a hollow feeling. This batch of Men in Blue, do not deserve the CWC 2011. " Sachin you do not deserve such a treatment from your skipper & colleagues. What ever may happen in CWC 2011, you would be our champion for ever ".

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.28. Gr.B. England vs Bangladesh

In an inspiring and nail biting finish, Bangladesh 227 for 8 beat England 225 all out by two wickets in the 49th over. Bangladesh won the toss, and surprisingly elected to field. Shakib Al Hassan, probably had the dew factor in view, which to an extent affected the English spinners.

Prior and Strauss were down in the eleventh over with 39 on board. Bell fell at team total of 53, but sixteen overs were consumed by then. The ever solid Trott 67 of 99, and the Irish player Morgan 63 of 72, added 109 for the fourth wicket, when Morgan fell in the 39th over, with team total reading 162. Minor contributions were made by Bopara, Swann and Collingwood and England were bowled out for 225 in the fiftieth over. Shakib, Naeem and Razzak picked up two wickets each. England generally struggled against both pace and spin.

Bangladesh, with a must win situation, started of beautifully, with Tamim 38 of 26 and Imrul 60 of 100, putting on 53 for the first wicket in just under nine overs. From a solid position, Tamim, Junaid and Raqibul, fell with the team total 73 and England were back in business. Shakib played a captains innings of 32 of 58 and with Imrul added 82 invaluable runs in 17 overs.

The English team suddenly woke up from their slumber, and with Shahzad, Swann and Bresnen finding their rhythm, picked up the wickets of Imrul, Shakib, Mushfiqur, Naeem and Razzak, and Bangladesh were looking at defeat at 169 for 8.

The magic story started thereafter. Mahmadullah and Shafiul Islam, played as if their life depended on this game, and played brilliant and clever cricket, to lead Bangladesh to a memorable victory, with unfinished ninth wicket stand of 58 runs in ten overs. Mahmadullah anchored the game with 21 of 42 and Shafiul slogged carefully to a 24 of 24.

Salute the Bangla team, a memorable victory indeed, which will keep their hopes alive for the quarter final berth. Shazad 3 for 43 , Swann 2 for 42 and Bresnen 1 for 35 bowled their hearts out. 33 extras yielded by English team with 23 wides, is just stupid, and irresponsible.
England have to win their last match against West Indies and wait for the completion of games in group.B. to know their fate in CWC 2011. It is after all their own making .

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.27. Gr.B. West Indies vs Ireland

West Indies 275 all out in 50 overs, beat Ireland 239 all out by 44 runs, to clinch its place in the quarters.

DS Smith carved out a good 107 in 133 balls, supported by a sedate 35 of 62 balls by Chandrapaul. Pollard hammered out a T20 style innings of 94 in 55 balls to take West Indies to some sort of respectability.

275 is always a gettable score, particularly for the Irish, who have performed manfully till now. Joyce 84 of 106, NJ O'Brien 25 of 31 and Wilson 61 of 62 were going great guns and Irish looked probable winners at the 37th over, with four down and 98 to get. Wilson was done in by the controversial UDRS for 61 in the 41 st over with a team total of 199. Ireland succumbed to pressure thereafter and were bowled out in the 49th over for 239.

Suleman Benn 10-0-53-4 ans skipper Sammy 10-3-31-3 bowled brilliantly. Ireland are out of the quarters, but will go with their heads held high for the way they have played the tourney.

Friday, March 11, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011. Match.26. Gr.A. Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe

With a record opening wicket partnership of 282 runs in 44 overs, between Dilshan 144 of 131 and Upul Tharanga 133 of 141, Sri Lanka 327 for six, annihilated Zimbabwe 188 all out by 139 runs. Mpofu had the consolation of picking four wickets for 62 runs.

In spite of a good start by Brendon Taylor 80 of 72 and Chakabva 35 of 61, the Zimbabweans were bundled out for 188 in 39 overs. Tilakaratne Dilshan returned an enviable figures of 3-1-4-4 , to pick up the well deserved man of the match. Murali 3 for 34, Mathews 2 for 29 and Perera 1 for 33 picked up the other wickets.

Sri Lanka is assured of a quarters berth, and the further match results will determine its position.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011- Match.25.Gr,A. Netherlands vs India

As a general match reporting, India 191 for five in 36.3 overs, beat Netherlands 189 all out by a massive margin of five wickets and over 14 overs to spare. India leapfrogged to the top of the table in Group.B. with seven points in four encounters. Yuvraj was declared Man of the Match for his half century and two crucial wickets.

The report is nice to read. But the fact is we have struggled in almost all matches. Initially it was in the bowling front, and in the last two matches, batting too.

The Indian team of fifteen, has seven batters, four right handed and three left handed, a wicket keeper bat, four medium pacers,two left arm and two right arm, three spinners comprising of two off spinners and a leg spinner. The team composition, technically looks very sound. Probably a left arm spinner could have replaced a Off spinner.

On batting front, the combination is of three constructors, three stroke makers and two finishers. All of them are good fielders too. 100% in this area.

Among the pacers, Zaheer is a match winner, and a reasonable bat. an average fielder, with a good throwing arm.

Munaf is good at start overs, but suffers in death, due to lack of pace. He seem to be dropping in pace match after match. He does not have the right attitude while fielding and is a terrible fielder. in fact he just does not try. He is poor batsman.

Nehra, is good when there is the movement of the pitch. His away seaming deliveries, which go with the arm, delivered wide of the bowling crease, are all wicket takers. But such things are not consistent. More often, he bowls, shot pitched, out side the off stump deliveries, the batsmen are quick to pounce upon. He is a wretched fielder, and will not get in to even junior division teams on fielding strength. Poor batsman.

Sreesanth, is a rhythm bowler and will be unplayable, when he gets his line. Good user of the seam. Reasonably pacy and can exceed 140 plus, when ever required. A good fielder, with a good throwing arm. Reasonable bat. But he is emotionally temperamental, and needs to be controlled. The most negative factor is that his skipper does not seem to be be supportive, and is openly critical. This will play on any one's mind. On the pace bowler front, the team gets 50%

Among the spinners, Ashwin is the loan spinner, who has fighting qualities. Age is factor, which is in his favour. Very polite on the field , good fielder and a reasonable bat. He could control the run rate at any stage of the match. He however does not seem to be the skipper's choice.

Piyush Chawla, a wrist spinner, and a rare commodity. He is young and can turn the ball miles. The problem, is that he came in to the squad with out any international match practice. He is good bat and a good field. If pursued with, will turn out to be a star of tomorrow. But for the day he is struggling.

Harbhajan Singh, the offie in the team is a good fielder, reasonable bat, and a trier. But as a wicket taking off spinner, He has always been overrated. He can check the flow of runs, and most of the international players have learnt to play him off, with out losing wickets.

On the spinners front if Ashwin and Harbhajan are played, 60%. Harbhajan and Chawla are played 40% and Ashwin and Chawla are played, a fair chance of 75%.

Considering , the current team of eleven taking the field, the over all will be around 60%. This is the reason why, the men in blue are winning matches, but at the same time with lot of struggle. The opponents, they have faced till now, were ether minnows, or teams with worser combination.

What will happen, if we have to meet a balanced combination. The think tank will have to flexible non emotional and seriously consider a good team combination, from what is available.

Wish for the best. We want the men in blue to win the CWC 2011. Come on mates do it, at least for Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest master ever. Look at him and learn from him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.24. Gr.A. NewZealand vs Pakistan

NewZeland 302 for 7 beat Pakistan 192 all out, by ten wickets, to leap to the top of the League table in Group.A.

NewZeland won the toss, and elected to bat. One thought for a moment, the decision may back fire, since in the dry months of hot march in SriLanka, the dew becomes a major factor in the day night matches, helping teams batting second very strongly.

The dew was there, but so was Ross Taylor, in between Pak and the dew.Guptil up the order made a sedate 57 of 86, when Shahid Afridi castled him. Brendon and Howe, did nothing of note. The first phase of the bowling by Umar Gul, Afridi, Hafeez and Rehman, kept the New Zelanders in a tight leash. When the fourth wicket of Franklin fell at 113, nearly 30 overs were consumed.

Ross Taylor dropped by Kamran Akmal at no score, was steadily building an innings with Styris, and the pair added 62 runs, but consumed 13 overs in the bargain. With 42 overs gone and NewZeland total at 175 for 5, it looked as Pakistan all the way.

NewZeland opted for the batting power play at this time. Between overs 42 and 46, 37 runs were scored, two wickets were lost and at 46 overs NewZeland 210 for 6. Avalanche hit Pakistan thereafter. 93 runs were plundered in four overs, with Taylor making 134 of 121 with 8 fours and seven sixes, Nathen McCullum making 19 of 10 with one four and two sixes, and Jacob Oram blasting a quickfire 25 of 9 balls, with one four and three sixes.

Shoib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq, were taken for 30 runs apiece in over 48 and 49. Over all an excellent display of clean power hitting. Pakistan fielders, with wicket keeper in particular added to the spoils, with some poor fielding and catching. Umar Gul finished his quota of overs early, and returned an enviable figure of 10-1-32-3, in such a high scoring match. Akhtar, Rehman, Afridi and Hafeez picked up a wicket each.

If the Pakistani, fielding and bowling was poor, the batting was poorer. Razzaq 62 of 74, Umar Gul 34 of 25 and Umar Akmal 38 of 58, made good use of the dew factor in the end, but could not help Pakistan sliding to a massive 110 runs loss. Southee bowled his heart out for a figure of 8-1-25-3. Nathen McCullum, Styris and Mills, picked two wickets each. Lone wicket was taken by Jacob Oram.

Pakistan have a strong bowling line up, and when it failed, they fell like nine pins. NewZealand, with Vettori coming in at ten, appear to be a strong unit. With Oram's arrival, Southee and Mills bowling at their best and Vettori and McCullum in the spin department, they are strong in bowling too. Every one knows about their fielding prowess. the only thing they lack is the self belief. If they could mentally prepare for any eventualities, here is a World Cup winner.

Any Takers ??

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.23. Gr.A. Kenya vs Canada

In match of the minnows, played for prestige, Kenya 198 all out lost to Canada 199 for five by five wickets at the Kotla, Delhi.

Batting first after winning the toss, Kenya were bowled out for 198. Mishra and Odoyo made good fifties.Obuya and Kamande made 31 and 22. Osinde bowled brilliantly up the order to finish with 10-2-26-4. Baidwan and Cheema picked up couple of wickets each, and Balaji Rao and Davison picked a wicket each.

Almost all Canadian top half played well. But it was skipper Bagai 64 of 97 and Jimmy Hansra 70 of 90, who took Canada past their rivals. Odhiambo, Otieno and Ngoche were among the wickets for Kenya.

Monday, March 7, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.22. Gr.B. Ireland vs India

It was Yuvi all the way, as Ireland 207 all out lost to India 210 for 5 by five wickets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

Ireland lost two early wickets of Stirling and Joyce in a brilliant opening spell by Zaheer Khan. Porterfield 79 of 104, and RJ O' Brien 46 of 78, added 113 runs for the third wicket, when only a brilliant run out of NJ O'Brien by Virat could separate them. Yuvraj, took over at this stage and bowled a brilliant spell of 10-0-31-5 wickets. Zaheer was at his usual best with 9-1-30-3 and Munaf picked up a wicket. Ireland were bowled out for 207.

Sehwag and Gambhir perished early. Tendulkar 38 of 56 and Virat Kohli 34 of 53 were involved in a steady third wicket partnership of 63 in 15 overs, when Tendulkar fell. Yuvraj lost Kohli at team total of 100 in the 24th over. Dhoni walked in and with Yuvraj added 67 runs for the fifth wicket, in seventeen overs. Pathan joined Yuvi and finished the match with an unbeaten 30 in 24 balls, with two fours and three sixes. Yuvraj followed his five wicket haul, with a match winning, unbeaten 50 of 75 balls. Ireland batted, bowled and field their heart out and India owes their victory totally to Yuvraj on the day.

Other than Zaheer, and the part time bowlers, Indian team does not seem to possess any bowlers. Piyush Chawla bowled with out imagination, and was carted around everywhere. Harbhajan bowls more up and down stuff and does not appear to be a force to reckon with. Munaf is OK in the start overs, but lacks imagination in the death. saving grace is the fifth bowler option, with part timers, not letting India down.

How long and how far, will only the batsmen get you your victoriers ? Debates and counter debates on Chawla's selection in the eleven goes on. Mind you, he is in the team as a specialist spinner ( let us not bother, whose choice he was etc at this stage), and need support rather than brickbats. We can not change the fifteen member combination and brow beating him and Dhoni for his choice of Chawla, will only make it worse.

Come on Men in Blue, Take a deep breath and lay down a selection strategy and bowling strategy for more crucial matches to come. You can do it .

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.21. Gr.B. England vs South Africa

In a slow and turning wicket at MAC Stadium, Chennai, England batting first after winning the toss made only 171 all out in 45.4 overs, but still managed to hold the mighty South Africans at 165 all out in 47.4 overs, to win by a narrow margin of seven runs.

England started disastrously losing three wickets for 15 runs in the fifth over. South Africans read the pitch accurately and, Petersen bowled as a man possessed, knocking out Strauss for nought, Pietersen for two and Ian Bell for 5.

Trott 52 of 94 and Bopara 60 of 98, added 99 runs for the fourth wicket, when Trott fell in the 39th over C&B Imran Tahir. Tahir, Steyn & Morkel toook over and polished the rest of English side with figures of 4 for 38, 1 for 37 and 2 for 16.

172 to make at 3.44 runs per over was a cake walk for South Africa. Amla & Smith added 63 runs for the first wicket, when Smith was taken Swann in the 15th over for 22 of 41 balls. It was now the turn of Broad to take over, and he clean bowled Amla for 42 of 51 and Kallis caught Prior for 15 in 20.

Not to be left behind, Anderson awfully out of form till the match, clean bowled the in form AB de Villiers for 25 of 44 and Duminy for nothing. In between F du Plessis, was run out and South Africans were six down for 124. but still in with a chance. Yardy had other things in mind and beat Petersen with a ball moving away with the arm to be caught by Prior for three. South Africans 127 for 7.

Wan Wyke and Steyn took the score to 160 when Wan Wyke fell bowled by Bresnen for 13. Steyn fell at 164 and as usual South Africa choked at the post, to lose by seven runs. Broad 4 for 15, Anderson 2 for 16, Swann 1 for 29, Yardy 1 for 46 and Bresnen 1 of 27 were amongst wickets. It was an all round display by England, and throws open the slots for Gr.B.qualifiers.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.20. Gr.A. Sri Lanka vs Australia

The much awaited Group.A. match between Sri Lanka and Australia, was washed out with out any result.

The start of the match gave no clue of the storm to follow. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Sangakara 73 0f 102 and Samaraweera 34 of 48 were going steadily at 146 for 3 in 32, when the heavens opened out. Further play was ruled out and the teams shared a point each.

Nothing much to write about on the match, but the dramas were in plenty in the middle. When it comes to winning, the Australians try all unfathomable means . As the match started and Tait bowling to Dilshan, the drama resembling a WWE wrestling contest was enacted.

It is high time the men yellow , captain included are handled properly for their deeds/misdeeds in the field. Tait's language, clear on the screen for any person with a normal sense of lip reading, was unprintable. Ponting did not wish to lag behind and added his bit. It is not that Dilshan is a saint. But the provocation was clearly Australian. Dilshan did not use his brains. He should have stood ground and thrashed the opposition all round, with sensible batting.

No replays for washed out matches, is provided at this stage of the competition. The final sufferers are again the gullible public and TV audience world over. What a pity ??

Friday, March 4, 2011

ICC-CWC.2011. Match.19. Gr.B. West Indies vs Bangladesh

The Gr.B. match between West indies and Bangladesh at Mirpur, was over even before the spectators could settle down. A pathetic one sided ,worse than a lower division match at any district levels.

Bangladesh batting first, were gunned down by Roach, Benn and skipper Sammy for 58 runs in 19 overs. Roach the man of the match ripped through for an excellent 6-0-19-3 ,supported by Benn 5.5=2-18-4 , and Sammy 7-0-21-3.

West Indies lost DS Smith, bowled by Naeem Islam for 6. Gayle and DM Bravo, batted out the Bangladeshis, with an unbroken second wicket partnership of 30 runs, and the match was over in the 13th over.

The whole match lasted for 31.1 overs, and the gullible public and viewers world over were taken for a jolly good ride. What a waste.

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.18. Gr.A. Zimbabwe vs New Zealand

In a thoroughly one sided match, Zimbabwe 162 all out, were steamrolled to submission by New Zealand 166 for no loss, by a massive ten wickets.

Electing to bat on a good wicket, Zimbabwe never recovered from a poor start. Even before one could blink his eyes, five wickets were down for 46 runs .Taylor played a lone crusader role and made 44 of 57 when Styris got him LBW, with a full length delivery. Lamb, Utseya and Cremer, made 18,36 & 22 respectively, and Zimbabwe folded for 162 in the 47th over. Southee 9.2-3-29-3, KD Mills 10-0-29-2, Vettori 10-3-25-2 and Styris 4-0-13-1 , bowled well.

Guptil 86 of 104 balls, and Brenden McCullum 76 of 95 balls, serenely took the New Zelanders to a comfortable victory, with an unbeaten opening partnership of 166 runs.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011.Match.17. Gr.A. Pakistan vs Canada

Pakistan 184 all out beat Canada 138 all out, by 46 runs in a low scoring match at Premadasa. Batting first on a slow wicket, and a slower outfield. Pakistan could not sustain the Canadian spinners to be bowled out for 184 in 43 overs. Misbah 37 of 68 and Umar Akmal 48 of 68 were the only batsmen, who had a bit of control over the Canadian bowling. Baidwan 8-1-35-3, Cheema 8-1-33-2 , Balaji Rao 10-0-50-2 and Hansra 6-1-33-2 mesmerised the opposition.

Canada in their reply, could never take control of the game at any stage. Afridi with one more five wicket haul at 10-0-23-5, routed the Canadians for 138 in 43 overs to take Pakistan victors by 46 runs.

An interesting observation. The pitches at Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka are spinning tracks , offering low and uneven bounce. Their out field are large and slow. Where as the Indian pitches seem to be full of runs, with smallish boundaries and fast out field. This may help India, when the teams who have played outside India, face them in Indian conditions.The spinners who have played major part in their victories with ease, may have to purchase their wickets in Indian conditions. Will it be so. Let us see.

ICC-CWC.2011. Match.16. Gr.B. South Africa vs Netherlands

South Africa 351 for 5 annihilated Ireland 120 all out, by 231 runs, at Mohali. South Africa playing their second match, are at the top of the table in Gr.B. with four points. A one sided match, thoroughly dominated by the champion team from South Africa. Smith and Kallis were taken before the sixteenth over for a team total of 58, and every body were looking for another giant killing act.

It was not to be. Hashim Amla, 113 of 130 balls and AB de Villiers, 134 of 98 balls, piled up a massive third wicket partnership of 221 runs in 30 overs. Duminy made a quickfire 40 of 15 balls and South Africa finished at 351 for 5 . RN ten Doeschate 3 for 72 and Loots 1 for 60 had some consolation.

Ireland were never in the match and folded for 120 in under 35 overs. Imran Tahir 6.5-0-19-3, Kallis 6-0-19-2, Petersen 5-0-22-2 , Duminy 6-0-16-1 and Steyn 6-1-26-1, were amongst the wickets.

South Africa from Group.B. and Pakistan from Group.A. seem to be the most balance teams, with a solid bowling attack that can defend any totals. they definitely should be making the semi finals at least.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Gr.B. Match.15. England vs Ireland

England 327 for 8, lost to Ireland 329/7 by three wickets. Salute the Irish team. They played the game like true champions and thoroughly deserved their victory.

England won a good toss and elected to bat on a benign wicket. Strauss and Pietersen gave a good start of 91 runs in 13.3 overs, when Strauss 34 of 37 balls, was deceived by a beautiful floater by Dockrell. Pietersen was taken in the seventeenth over by Stirling for a well made 59 of 50 balls. Trott 92 of 92 and Ian Bell 81 of 86 added 166 in 26 overs. At 288 for 4 in the 45th over, England seemed to be heading for 340 to 350. It was not to be, as the Irish bowled the end overs intelligently and fielded as if their life depended on it. England was restricted to 327 for 8 wickets at 50 over mark. Mooney bowled brilliantly to take 4 wickets for 63, well supported by Johnston, Dockrell and Stirling.

Ireland lost its skipper Porterfield in the first ball of the over, bowled Anderson for nought. Stirling and Joyce who made 32 runs each, added 62 runs for the second wicket, when Stirling was taken by Bresnen in the10th over. NJ O'Brien 29 of 36 fell at 103, to be followed by Joyce at 106 runs in the 23 rd over. Wilson fell in the twenty fifth over, and at 5 down for 111, Ireland were looking down the barrel, and England in heaven.

In walked KJ O'Brien and England did not know what hit them. He blasted his way to a memorable, record breaking century of just 50 balls, and in company of AR Cussack, who played intelligently for 47 of 58,and rotated the strike well, added 162 runs in seventeen overs. At 273 for six, it was still England's game. Mooney joined O'Brien and played sensibly for 33 of 30 balls and added 44 runs for the seventh wicket. O'Brien was run out, the only way he could have got out today, at 317 in the 48.1 overs. Mooney in the company of Johnston finished the match in the next six balls, clouting a four of the first ball of the 50th over. other than Swann's three for 47, no other bowler needs a mention.

The Irish were ecstatic, and England shell shocked. England lost the match due to poor bowling, fielding and over confidence, though Strauss did not say so in the post match interview.

Both India and England from Group B, are playing in similar fashion, with batting as the only strength. Teams can not win World Cup on one strength. Irish have performed well against Bangladesh & England. India need to be on their toes to end up winners against them.

The so called Minnows in Group B , Netherlands and Ireland, have performed beyond expectation. With West Indies finding their touch, the quarter final slot cannot be taken for granted. Let us wait and watch.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Match.14. Gr.A. Kenya vs Sri Lanka.

Kenya 142 all out lost to Sri Lanka 146 for 1 by nine wickets in another one sided match. there is nothing to write from cricketing point of view other than the blistering 7.4-0-38-6, spell by Malinga, which included an hat trick.

One cannot imagine a Sri Lankan team, without Malinga. It is as if no Malinga, no Sri Lanka. It is very difficult to control a side arm, slinging action, and Malinga does it consistently. Look at the number of clean bowled and LBW decisions, which is over 55%. Truly a great bowler. How one wish, India had such a bowler along with Zaheer.

Sri Lanka knocked of the required runs in 18.4 overs, with unbeaten 67 of 59 balls from Taranga, 44 of 30 balls by Dilshan and 27 not out of 24 by Sangakara. Sri Lanka are at the top of group A with four points from three matches.

ICC-CWC.2011, Match 12. Zimbabwe Vs Canada & Match 13. West Indies vs Netherlands

Match 12. Group.A. Zimbabawe vs Canada
Zimbabwe 298 for 9 beat Canada 123 all out by a huge margin of 175 runs. Batting first, Zimbabwe started poorly losing its openers Taylor and Coventry with 7 runs on board in the fourth over. man of the match Taibu and Ervine, carved out a brilliant 181 runs partnership in 28 overs. Contributions from Williams, Utseya, Cremer and Price, swelled Zimbabwean score to 298 at 50 overs. Balaji Rao picked up 4 wickets for a figure of 10-0-57-4, well supported by Chohan and Baidwan with a couple each.

Canada lost wickets early with three down for seven in the sixth over. Wickets fell regularly and Canada were eight down for 97 and only a few slogs at the end saw them through a three figure total of 123 all out, to be beaten squarely by 175 runs. Price & Cremer picked up three each. Utseya and Lamb bowled well to pick two each.

Match.13. Group.A. West indies vs Netherlands.
The top five, Smith 53 of 51 , Gayle 80 of 110 , DM Bravo 30 of 38,, Sarwan 49 of 41 and Pollard a blistering 60 of 27 balls, powered West Indiea to a match winning 330 for eight. Netherlands were routed for 115 in 32 overs, to leave West Indies victorious by a massive margin of 215 runs. Seelaar with 10-1-45-3 and Bukhari 10-1-65-2 bowled well.

Netherlands were swept of their feet, by the sheer pace of Roach with a figure of 8.2-0-27-6, and the guiles of Benn 8-1-28-3. Cooper made 55 of 72 and Bukhari 24 of 42. with this emphatic win, West indies are back in contention for a QF berth.