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Sunday, March 1, 2015

World cup matches over week end - 3 matches 3 perspectives !!

When this World Cup started, it appeared to be a flawed draw – 42 out of 49 matches could be redundant as expected 8 times would be there in QF and in a short time, the finalists would be there in knock-out basis.  Honestly, did you ever imagine this scenario !  - Aussies are no. 4 in their pool :
TEAMS
MAT
WON
LOST
TIED
N/R
PTS
NET RR
New Zealand
4
4
0
0
0
8
3.589
Sri Lanka
4
3
1
0
0
6
0.128
Bangladesh
3
1
1
0
1
3
0.13
Australia
3
1
1
0
1
3
-0.305
Afghanistan
3
1
2
0
0
2
-0.76
England
4
1
3
0
0
2
-1.201
Scotland
3
0
3
0
0
0
-1.735

Way back in 2011 in a QF England set a target of 230 and promptly lost to Lankans by 10 wickets ! Dilshan and Upul Tharanga smashed them all around the park – winning without losing a wicket and with 63 balls to spare. That sealed a place for Lanka and ended the chaotic campaign of England. 

Now there is still hope for the English team – should they still reach the quarter-finals –  it would be because of the flawed format of this tournament –  though it does appear that their misery could be put an end soon.  The stark reality is that they need to beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their last two group games to advance to the last eight and while they should still do that it is fanciful to expect them to defeat anyone of note.

This week end of the 4 – 3 are on different perspective.  The 4th Pakis beat Zimbabwe. 

Tests have been played at Eden Park since 1929-30 and the ground hosted New Zealand's first Test victory, against West Indies in 1955-56. The pavilion is steeped in tradition, contrasting with two massive modern grandstands which push the capacity over 40,000.  The  Chappell-Hadlee trophy match was hyped to the best match of the tournament - in front of a packed and partisan Auckland crowd. The game had everything: perfect weather, a full house, a flurry of early boundaries followed by eye-popping collapses, sensational swing bowling, clever spin bowling, and perhaps the calmest batsman in the world hitting one of the fastest bowlers in the world for a straight six to seal a one-wicket victory for New Zealand.

There was the astonishing collapse of Aussie.  At 128/9 Kiwis had used only 3 bowlers - Daniel Vettori, Trent Boult and Tim Southee - Australia were shot out in 32.2 overs and New Zealand  had to bat before the scheduled dinner break once again.  McCullum was in a hurry to finish and made a half century too - before he fell off his 24th delivery.  NZ too collapsed and towards the end 3 wickets fell in quick succession – from 145 for 7, NZ were 146 for 9, with Starc on a hat-trick to win it for Australia and Williamson stranded at the wrong end. Boult, however, defended and left the last two Starc deliveries. With six runs to get and no wickets remaining,  Kane Williamson had the strike against Cummins.  He hit it hard and flat and started celebrating for it was a sure six and what a way to finish !  Boult and Starc were the real heroes. 

India made a short work of UAE – Ashwin bowled well taking 4 wickets and India quickly won with loss of a solitary wicket, going to top the table.  MS Dhoni, the India captain, has said it was important to spread cricket in more countries and look beyond mere commercial interests. Dhoni said that some of the Associate sides had come a long way and deserved to be given more support in terms of facilities and chances. Several Associate captains and coaches have criticised the ICC's move to limit the number of teams for the next World Cup to ten. Dhoni refrained from giving his opinion on the matter, saying that it was for the authorities to take a call on.

And today, at Wellington - Sri Lanka made a chase of 310 seem like a weekend stroll in the park as Kumar Sangakkara unfurled a majestic hundred, his second of the tournament, alongside Lahiru Thirimanne's fourth ODI ton. They ensured Joe Root's hundred became merely a footnote and left England facing two must-win matches to make the quarter-finals. The pair added 212 for the second wicket in 28.2 overs with Sangakkara racing to his hundred from 70 balls - his fastest one-day hundred - to follow his 76-ball 105 against Bangladesh at the MCG as he shredded England's attack with piercing drives, dismissive pulls and the occasional touch of deftness.

Remember Ireland chased and 307/6 against West Indies at Nelson in this World Cup. 6-5 England's ODI record when defending a target of 300 or more in ODIs since 2010. Australia (three times), Ireland and Sri Lanka have all chased these targets down against England during this period. Former England spinner Graeme Swann has called on the England and Wales Cricket Board to realise their approach is 'out of date', saying that there is a 'stubbornness' about their selection policy and that they are 'living in the past'. The defeat goes alongside reverses against Australia and New Zealand, with Scotland the only team England have beaten so far.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

1st Mar 2015.

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