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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Learning from WC 2011 – the orange connection to Netherland and Nagpur.

The previous version of WC had 16 teams in 4 groups and this time it is 14 in 2 groups.  Do you know the teams that played in the last version and are not here ?  Going by the first three matches which were lopsided contests – the fourth was better as Zimbabwe threatened Aussies batting line up.  I had felt that the minnows are not worth their place but one of my friends kept insisting that they are displaying raw courage and intent and would prove their worth.  The game of England Vs.  Netherlands proved him true.

Not sure how many would have utilized for booking movie tickets in the metropolis and few other cities.  They and the move to have the tickets sold through them on internet came a cropper.  The online partner was found out of place as it crashed unable to bear the traffic.  The tourney has month-long group matches and hopes to cash on the build-up to the long winding road to finals.  Now with the crash the ICC is reportedly mulling on distributing the tickets through lots.  The Hosts have the responsibility of distribution, stamping and printing of gate tickets and hospitality tickets.  The initiation through the web came down crashing with the failure of infrastructure of  It came down a cropper minutes after the tickets went live as reports have it that there were 10 million hits in a matter of minutes.  Hanging in cyberspace may not be an entirely new experience for many of us but this would have more frustrating and different.

In another exposure of not so good planning, Wankhede is one of the smallest capacity  stadiums hosting the WC in India (by our standards !)  Only the picturesque Mohali is smaller.  Eden Gardens, Motera, Chepauk, Kotla, Nagpur all have higher capacity.  Now coming to yesterday’s match – not many would have volunteered to sit down and watch Netherland – England tie at Nagpur. 

The last time when the two met in June 2009 in T20 Ryan ten Doeschate with some others inflicted a sensational humiliation.  Resurgent England are on a high after their performances in tests down under and were considered to mow down the dutch team, which was not expected to last the full 50 overs.  15 years ago Greame Hick’s century proved the difference between the ill balanced teams and in 2003 WC  at East London was another onesided affair as Holland were bundled out for 142.

The venue was Nagpur – called city of Oranges.  This major commercial and political centre of Vidarbha region is famous for oranges.  Nagpur lies precisely at the center of the country with the Zero Mile Marker indicating the geographical center of India  Citrus Sinensis is commonly grown tree fruit.  It is considered to be hybrid of pomelo and mandarin – the ones sold in Nagpur are generally small in size but sweet.  Orange is the colour that occurs between red and yellow in the visible spectrum.

On seeing the schedule, Dutch should have blushed – for they wear orange.  The colours of their flag are red, white and blue – but their National soccer team also sport orange arising out of their association to the colour of Dutch Royal Family.  The lineage o the current dynasty - the House of Oranje-Nassau -- dates back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange).  Thus the color orange has royal roots in the Netherlands and symbolizes a broader pride in the country and in being Dutch.  Apr 30 is the National holiday – the Queen’s day and on that almost all dutch wear orange colour. 

Holland itself is regerred as Oranje. The soccer team Oranje are considered to be a great team who have seldom won the World Cup.  There is an Oranje town in the Dutch province of Drenthe and there is the  Orange Free State  -  an erstwhile  independent Boer republic,  later a British colony and now a province of the Union of South Africa.  There also is the  Orange River  - the longest in South Africa, rising from Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa.

Now coming to the match of OrangesHolland made a commanding 292 for 6 with ten Doeschate making a fine. It was an innings that would done proud any batsman of a major cricketing Nation scoring them off 110 balls.  He plays for Essex and is already known to British team.  He struck nine fours and3 over the boundary.  The century came off 98 balls.  The team’s total of 292 for 6 is their highest against a full member Nation.

England had a solid but slow start with Pietersen grinding his way to a 39 off 61 balls before a great diving catch by Borren off left armer Seelaar showed him the way.  The match lasted till 49th over but in the end overs Bukhari and others’ inexperience was revealed as they bowled wrong line to a packed off side field.  Ravi Bopara and Collingwood saw England through but not without trepidation and threat.

A good match for Netherlands but not the desired result.  Perhaps at some point the honour of stretching England till the final over  was running in their minds rather than taking an all out attach on them.

Probably the WC has now began in right earnest.  The two nations that are not playing in the present WC are : -  Scotland and Bermuda.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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