Friday, 30 March 2007

To the Super 8s

The 2nd Stage of the CWC competition has commenced and India have completed their dismal showing and flown back home. The game's super power (the way I see it Australia and India are the biggest teams in world cricket today) have put up their worst display in a world cup to date. Big loses result from their exit running into millions in forfeited Caribbean travel packages as well as a predictable drop in the television audience from the massive subcontinental market.

Oh well... Tough! The competition goes on... and for minnows Ireland and Bangladesh and their fans things could not be rosier... As I post this blog Ireland is facing England in their fist Super 8 encounter, a distinguished achievement and hopefully this will promote the game in the Irish Republic and they will develop into a fully fledged cricketing force. Fans who at the start of the tournament foresaw a tie between the rivals India and Pakistan will be treated to a spectacle of Ireland v Bangladesh!

The teams from the Southern Hemisphere exhibit none of the inconsistencies their counterparts from the subcontinent suffered, Australia are looking ominous and their squad looks to be back in good shape with the return of Symonds from injury. This produced one of the best matches thus far when they defeated South Africa in their final first round match. South Africa look in good knick although the Caribbean pitches have exposed that perhaps they are lacking slightly in variety in the bowling department. My personal favourite of mine, Shaun Pollock hasn't been the force he normally is; though I believe he will prove himself in the second half of the tournament. These two along with the All blacks are looking to be the teams to beat in this competition, New Zealand look quite strong out on the field with strength in their allrounder department. Sri Lanka is the only major South Asian team left and are doing a reasonable job thus far, their bowling looks to be well organised array of weapons with ample ammunition in the form of experience, capable of being deployed on any type of track at the various battle grounds.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Cricket World Cup 2007

Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the latest edition of the world cup is that the Irish are through to the Super 8s level, a feat that would have been laughed at by most had it been ventured prior to the commencing of the tournament. The big guns from the subcontinent managed to prove once more that consistency is one aspect of the game thats missing from their Caribbean luggage, perhaps all the holiday gear took up all the available compartments. Pakistan gifted the Irish with their passport to the next round on St. Patrick's Day (miracles do happen, if you were an unbeliever then here's your example). India managed to perform worse than Bangladesh in all areas of play and went down to the youngsters in their first match of the tournament, its going to be an uphill battle here on for the biggest side in world cricket to make it past the first round. The Australians are proving strong despite a few injury scares coming into the tournament, an indication of the depth of their squad. The South Africans set about shattering records to show their intent, Herschelle Gibbs becoming the first man in International Cricket to hit a 6 of every ball of an over and Mark Boucher scoring the fastest 50 in a World Cup.

All the action was accompanied by the tragic news of the passing of Bob Woolmer, coach of the Pakistan side and ex-coach of South Africa, just a day after Pakistan were knocked out of the tournament.