Sunday, 27 March 2011

World Cup: one week left

Overall the cricket at the current World Cup has been very good. We have not had too many poor matches. Of the four quarter finals:

West Indies were thrashed by Pakistan and rightly so. Pakistan, like West Indies are a team that can beat anybody one day and lose to anyone the next. Pakistan at least have more ‘good’ days and could easily will the competition.

India beat Australia in a close game that in the end India deserved to win. India have, to quote the Heath government, been walking around the battlefield looking for someone to surrender to. In this match they got their act together. I was really impressed with Australia even though they lost. Not for one minute did they stop trying to win. There is no shame in being beaten by a better side, especially if in doing so you give everything. Australia, and Brett Lee in particular, embodied that. It was good to see such dominant champions going out on their shield.

South Africa has a side that should have won the 2011 world cup. They can beat anyone. Unfortunately that extends to themselves and the serial underachievers did just that. Credit must go to New Zealand who was clever enough to see it coming and exploit it. A World Cup just wouldn’t be a World Cup without a South African choke.

Sri Lanka looks like a side that might be peaking at the right time. Their bowling was superb to restrict England to 229. The Harath, Murali, Mendis, Malinga quartet are superb with the ball; Dilshan and Tharanga similarly so with bat. England looked a tired side at the end of a long set of tours. However, the reality is that they were beaten by a better side.

Roll on the semi-finals. Who will win? Toss a coin.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

After weeks of cricket...

After weeks of cricket, what have we learned about the teams playing in the ICC World Cup:

  1. Pre-tournament favourites India haven’t won a single significant game
  2. Australia haven’t played a significant game
  3. South Africa, for once, has a balanced-ish side
  4. Pakistan can beat anyone (we knew that)
  5. Pakistan can lost to anyone (we knew that)
  6. England are more unpredictable than Pakistan and couldn’t play in a dull match if they wanted

India has sunk pretty much out of sight as favourites for me. Take away Sehwag and Tendulkar and I suspect they wouldn’t have won any matches, let alone qualified for the quarter finals. South Africa look to have a balanced side but they also demonstrated against England that they are still world class chokers. Maybe they can get over that. It is difficult to know much about Australia they have hardly played a competitive game – if nothing else they must be fresh! Personally I think anybody could still win this tournament.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Collingwood takes the blame

We have to have someone to blame for the shambles that has been England’s form against Ireland and Bangladesh. Paul Collingwood seems to be the fall guy. His batting has been, frankly, rubbish for quite a while. He is not deserving of his position in the team and batting him at 8 (yes eight) indicates that the ‘management’ don’t think he is any good either.

Batting at eight – isn’t that where the bowlers usually hide? Collingwood did bowl against Bangladesh and his figures were: 7-0-24-0, which was the most economical English figures (and second most of the match). Against Ireland Collingwood’s economy was only bettered by Swann. So bowling a pretty full complement of 10 overs and batting at either doesn’t seem that bad an idea. He might have lost his ability to bat but I think he should keep his place as a bowling all-rounder – at least until the end of England’s world cup (which will be on Thursday if they don’t beat West Indies).

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Irish eyes are smiling (this time)

Watch out, watch out, there is a thief about. The ICC wants to steal Ireland’s ability to shock in the World Cup by excluding them from the next World Cup. The problem with the World Cup is not the associate teams. Sure they may hammered into the ground occasionally but that can happen to any team. The real issue is the ridiculous amount of time the competition takes. Six weeks! Leave the associates in but take the dawdling out.