Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 Updates: Tie, Upsets, Hat-trick, Records.

We are now towards the end of the First round of the World Cup and already we have seen many exciting games of cricket, few upsets and crowed and cricketing fans are really enjoying the tournament. Every team is trying their best to reach at the quarter finals and that too grab the top two positions in the group. The reason being, if you are in top two, then in the quarter finals, you are playing with bottom two in the other group.  In this article let us see major highlights of the World Cup 2011 so far:

Major highlights of the World Cup so far:

9. England Survived against West Indies:

It was a great game of cricket, in fact it was do or die for England and again England fought a closed game and they managed to Win it by 18 runs. Batting first, England managed to score moderate 243. West Indies started their inning with very attacking manner, as if they wanted to finish the game in just 35-40 overs. But, when spinners came, suddenly WI started loosing wickets and game shifted in England's way. But, again 7th wicket partnership brought WI into the game, but England spinners did well towards end and claimed 7 wickets between Swann and Tredwell and won a close match for England. This win has survived England's hope for the quarter final berth.

Group 'B' has very interesting results in this World cup. SA beat Ind, Ind beat Bangladesh, Bangladesh beat Eng, Eng beat WI, WI beat Ireland, Ireland beat England and England beat SA. It means all teams are unpredictable, they can beat any team and they can loose against any team. Is this group become a 'Choker's Group'?   

8. India - South Africa Close contest:

It was bound to be the best contest in the tournament as it was not India Vs SA, but it was World's best batting attack Vs World's best bowling attack!
India started this game with immense determination and Indian openers dominated  World's best bowling attack for almost 41 overs of an inning. Thanks to Virendra Sehwag and none other than Great Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar was in supreme form and he took attack to the opposition since the beginning. His hook shot to Steyn  was superb, it reminded me the similar shot he had played to Caddik in the past. Now a days he plays this shot very rarely, but this time playing against World's best fast bowler was something special and treat to watch. His straight drive to Morkal was again the trade mark shot from he master. It was an awesome inning I guess, where he made 111, completing his 99th international century and 48th ODI century.
But, when he departed, India collapsed and lost 9 wickets for just 29 runs! Can you imagine? and India could set a target of only (?) 297. (At one time, it looked like India were targeting 360-370 at least.)
Thanks, to the 'Power Play' which happened to be the best bowling spell. But, it was just a poor performance from Indian batters who were attacking each and every ball in the power play and that too against Steyn and Morkal. Result was simple, the great collapse!

When Pro teas chased, it was also not a convincing chase. They also struggled a lot and at one point of time, it looked like that, the match was escaped from their hands, but Pieterson did it well and scored 13 runs in the last over of the match against Nehara and won the match for South Africa.
One should not blame Indian bowlers, as average score on that track was 316 and India managed to score 20 runs short from the average and that too when they were in a position to score, 40-50 runs more than the average score.

A great lesson to Dhoni and Co and there must be special preparation going on on how to play in Power plays, especially batting power plays. At the time of post match presentation, Dhoni said a right thing, " In Power plays Players should play for their country and not for the crowed'" Brilliant statement ! but, the timing was little late, if he could have said it when he was batting on the other end and watching how everyone got out, then result could have been different. Anyways, ifs and buts have no meaning and post match analysis, was on right track i guess.

7. England Beats SA:

Who says low scoring games are boring? This was a really nail bitting low scoring game and ultimately England held their nerves and Won it by just 6 runs. England batting first managed to score only 171, thanks to Ravi Bopara for his 60. After a flying start 63-0, at one stage it looked like South Africa will steal the game in no time.  But, from 124- 3, SA collapsed to 127-7. What a turn around by England. Towards end Steyn batted beautifully but was not enough to win the game and SA again showed their weakness of loosing games in pressured situation. I think, this upset has kept Group B table wide open for top two spots. India would like to claim either of the top two spots so that they will have to play against slightly less powerful opponents in the quarterfinals.

6. Ireland fought well against India:

India beat Ireland by 5 wickets but this was not a comprehensive win at all. Indians were obvious favorites for this match but team having the strongest batting line up were required to use their all 7 batsmen to chase 207. Credit goes to Irish bowlers and their wonderful fielding who saved at least 30-40 runs in the game. 

Again a big question mark on Indian bowling as Yuvraj Singh a part time bowler (?) took 5 wickets but Harbhajan and Chawala failed to take a single wicket between them. Harbhajan has taken only two wickets on spinning tracks so far in three matches he has played ( out of three, two were against minnows). This is really a poor performance so far. Harbhajan needs to take wickets and that to at crucial time if India has to Win the World Cup. Piyush Chawala continued his poor bowling in this match also conceding  56 in his 8 overs without any wicket. Even part time spinners have performed better than him! In fact India is playing with 2 Full time bowlers only (Zaheer and Munaf) and one Part time (?) Spinner i.e. Yuvi. So rest of the 20 overs are Wicket less and run conceding. India needs to improve their bowling very quickly otherwise they will have to pay prize for it. Fielding is poor too and Dhoni admitted that we won't see any change in the fielding immediately, slow fielders will remain slow only. Now, a team who is having weak bowling attack and poor fielding unit deserves the World Cup on the strength of their batting?

5. Pakistan survived against Canada:

Pakistan managed to score only 184-10  in just 43 overs against Canada. Canada started very well and they were 103-3 at one stage with 82 required with 7 wickets in hand. It looked like an another upset  due, Shahid Afridi bowled a brilliant spell of his fast Leg spins and claimed 5-23 in his 10 overs and turned out the match. Canada managed to score only 138 and Pakistan continued their winning momentum. Thanks to Afridi who had claimed 14 wickets in 3 matches he has played so far in this WC. It looks like he is going to beat all bowing records in World cups!

A week Before:

Instead of Updates I should have used word ‘Upsets’, shouldn’t I? Yes, this week belonged to the thrilling cricket which showcased a tie match, a hat-trick, the biggest upset of WC 2011 and along with that, many more records. Let’s have a look at interesting happenings on the field of cricket.

4.Pakistan beats Sri Lanka:
This match was between World Cup favorites Sri Lanka and underdogs Pakistan in Colombo. Though Pak side was strong, hardly anyone was giving them a chance. But Pakistan team got into form just at the perfect time and registered a victory over Lankans. Number-wise, it may be a small victory. But Lankans never looked to win once Sangakkara got out. Shahid Afridi was the pick of the bowlers and led from front to win a great encounter between Asia’s two giants! This was an upset #1.

3.India vs England a Tie!:
If Pak vs Lanka was in any case a less drama, on very next day, Bangalore Cricket Lovers experienced another nail biter. This was indeed a spectacular match and in the end, no one, but Cricket won. The pendulum of Win swung to India’s favor when they made 338 runs. But thanks to Strauss & Co., who not just fought for pride but to win a game. And when over number 42 came, it was just a formality for England to finish off the match in style. And just to do it, they opted for batting Powerplay P3. And that changed the course of play.
First Zaheer took two wickets in consecutive deliveries. That followed by few more wickets and England who were cruising towards win were reduced to fight for pride. 30 runs from two overs. And then, Pendulum swung back to England when 3 sixes were hit in those 8 balls’ span. Finally, it was 2 to win from 1 ball when fine effort of Yusuf in fielding saved India from what could have been the most humiliating defeat.

This match saw the limitations of UDRS. The complicated and unnatural rules of UDRS changed the game. May be this is why India has been saying not to allow UDRS unless and ultill it is foolproof.

2.Sri Lanka vs Kenya - Malinga's magical spell :
This was a practice game for Sri Lankans. It was just as if to tune them back to form after losing to Pakistan. But this saw a hat-trick taken by lasith Malinga- a rare scene in Cricket these days (only six bowlers have managed to take hat-trick in World Cup so far). Also, Malinga claimed a record of being the only bowler to take two hat-tricks in World cups- first being in World Cup 2007 against South Africa. His bowling was just an exhibition of Yorkers. If anyone wants to learn Yorkers, go meet Malinga.

1.England vs Ireland - Biggest Upset of the World Cup:
Well, why should this match be in news? Did England register a  record victory over Ireland? No… No… It was unbelievable, matured, sensible and brave run chase from Giant killer side Ireland. They chased huge total of 327 against England’s bowling attack. This match was also played at Bangalore. Looks like the pitch is graveyard for bowlers! This was the biggest day in history of Irish Cricket, even bigger than 2007 World Cup when they beat Pakistan to throw them out of tournament.

K O’Brien was the architect of the famous win! He made a record fastest century in World Cup in just 50 balls. While doing so, he set behind legends like
Mathew Hayden (66 balls),
J Davison- Canada- vs West Indies- 2077 (67 balls),
Adam Gilchrist (72 balls),
Jayawardene (80 balls)
who previously held record of being the fastest. Before getting out, O’Brien made 113 from 63 balls with 13 fours and six sixes. He was bravely supported, first by A Cusack and then by J Mooney.

This was a loss that must have hurt England the most as it was also the highest run chase in world cup history. Ireland chased astronomical 329 runs, under lights, against England’s bowling attack. Other highest successful run chases are
313-7 SL (vs Zim) 1992
301-9 Eng (vs WI) 2007
296-4 Eng (vs Netherlands) 2011- In this world cup itself, which was again a close shave for England.
289-4 Aus (vs NZ) 1996.

In the end, it was just a great week for a Cricket Lover. It saw great games fought for win, saw records being made, runs being chased, hat-tricks being taken, upsets being made and above all it did not spoiled spirit of cricket, thanks to Pointing who was not playing any of those matches..!


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