Search This Blog

Saturday 31 January 2015

Miandad vs More - The Kangaroo Leap

Defining Moments at #ICCWorldCup‬

Miandad vs More and the kangaroo jumps!

This amazing incident from the 1992 World Cup marquee game between India and Pakistan is permanently etched in hearts of millions of cricket fans.

Miandad known for his antiques to provoke opposition players said something that riled up More.

He started mouthing from behind the stumps. This continued for a while until Miandad stopped the bowler (Sachin Tendulkar) and decided to have a word with More about it. 

Both exchanged words before complaining to the umpire about each other.

The very next ball ... Miandad plaeyed towards mid on, ran a bit but came back since Sachin had fielded and thrown the ball back to More. He was well inside but More still flicked the bails and appeared to appeal. This got Miandad annoyed and he did the now legendary "Kangaroo" jumps in kangaroo land (venue: Sydney Cricket Ground)

Absolutely hilarious to see but raised tension between the two teams on the night.

India went on to win the game comfortably. Miandad bowled by Javagal Srinath.

Friday 30 January 2015

Eng Thump Ind To Reach Triseries Final Jan 2015

After a small hiccup upfront, the Englishmen have shown India the door in the CarltonMid Triseries tournament.

Having bowled India out for just 200, the game was setup for an easy win.
But surprisingly, India was up for a fight today and reduced Eng to 66 for 5 in no time.
As always though (and that clearly indicates the bowling class of India -- utterly miserable) No 4 (#JamesTaylor) and No 7 (Jos Butler) collaborated beautifully for a century stand to clear away any thoughts of an upset loss for England.

By the time both were dismissed, England needed less than 10 runs to win the game with over 4 overs to spare. Broad and Woakes comfortably crossed the finish line.

Eng 201 for 7, through to the final against Australia at the #MCG on 1st Feb 2015.

What does this mean for #TeamIndia?

 - Elimination from the current Tri series

 - An extra couple of "rest days" before the World Cup (Remember MS Dhoni had complained of fatigue for their poor performance a few days ago?)

 - Time for introspection whether they have any realistic chance to qualify for the knockout stages at the world cup? Am sure Ireland, Zimbabwe and UAE are already plotting an upset win against them while the others Windies, South Africa and Pakistan are already smiling at their fortune of playing an out of form and disorganized #TeamIndia

 - Batting is in woeful form although they seem to have the talent. Bowling is at best club class and will not trouble world class batsmen the least (#AB can easily plan to break his fastest ODI century record when the two teams meet at the #MCG in their World Cup group encounter in Feb)

 - Need to plan/hope to bat second as that seems to be their best chance of winning some games at the moment.

 - If this performance continues at the World Cup, it could well be curtains for Dhoni from all forms of the game. His sour ties with Virat are already showing up and VK has a great chance to grab the captaincy position with both hands.

 - Can they think of calling #AnilKumble back from retirement to bowl at opposition tails or bowl containing overs?  

Eng v Ind (Live Score Cricket) - from WACA - 30 Jan 15


Surprise... Surprise ... Surprise..

After 25 overs Eng 92 for 5

What the batsmen didn't deliver, the bowlers are trying to!
#StuartBinny seems to be the man in action plucking 3 of those 5 wickets.

Getting very interesting now with James Taylor and Jos Butler at the crease.
They have added 26 runs so far.

The only worry for India now is that they find it very difficult to bowl opposition lower order out of a game. So, its not all that a good news for Indian fans. The recently concluded test series against Australia is big testimony to that.

Who do you think can claim maximum of the lower order wickets remaining in the English camp?
A. Stuart Binny
B. Ravindra Jadeja
C. Any other

OR will Taylor/Butler sail Eng through to the final against Australia?

We'll find out in some time.
Stay tuned.... 

Will Eng Steamroll Ind at WACA Today? (30 Jan 15)

We're nearing the end of the first innings of the virtual semi final between England and India at #WACA, Perth in the on going CarltonMid TriSeries. India have batted poorly yet again and may be closing in on a meagre score of about 200 (it reads 194 for 9 in 47.4 overs as I write this blog piece)

#StevenFinn once again the damager-in-chief with 3 wickets supported well by Anderson, Moeen Ali and Woakes.

For a change ... the Indian openers gave a solid start :) (Rahane and Dhawan)
80 odd in 20 overs. Cautious but solid.
With wickets in hand, the charge would definitely on.
However, it seems the other batsman had decided to undo all the good work by collapsing like nine pins once the initial partnership was broken.

Kohli still playing at 3 (inspite of all the hoo-hah about him moving to 4 to add stability in the frail middle order) isn't doing much (he hasn't been able to carry his test form to one dayers unlike Steven Smith for Aus)

Raina, Rayudu, Jadeja, Binny - will they be able to do much on these Australian pitches in the world cup? nothing on show today suggested that's going to happen. Other teams in Pool B are merrily watching this Indian team disintegrate. More so the Pakistanis who are their first opponent in the WC Pool B opener at Adelaide Oval on 15th Feb.

MSD looks painfully out of sorts - batting wise (well ...) and mind wise (this was supposedly his best strength until a few months ago). Unless he really has some ace up his sleeve, he can safely pass on the World Cup to another team in two months time.

Will be back shortly with the Eng reply.
Batsmen have failed miserably. The bowlers haven't even started showing any fight yet on this tour.
Tough days ahead for Team India.

A conspiracy theory could be - England were deliberately scheduled to  play India at Brisbane and Perth (two of the fastest and bounciest tracks in Australia) to deflate their confidence going into the World Cup.

Another theory is that MSD is practicing batting first in all these games to test his bowlers defending a total. LOL ... bowlers will be the perfect scapegoats and batsmen will hide the ignominy of elimination from the cup under that pretext.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Eng v SA (Semifinal, Sydney, World Cup 1992)

Venue: SCG, Sydney (D/N match)

In what has to be termed as the biggest "joke" in history of one day cricket, the funny rain rule applied to matches then, turned an absolute cliff hanger into a farce! That's the best way to describe this incredible semi final between Eng and SA.

Both teams had it fairly easy enroute the semifinals, #England winning 6 of their 8 games while SA winning 5. #SA had just been readmitted to cricket after the #apartheid ban on them for 20 odd years. Hence, there were no expectations from them as such. However, under #KeplerWessels, this team rewrote history by appearing in the semis of a Cricket World Cup on debut!

On a gloomy SCG afternoon, SA won the toss and inserted England into bat. Considering forecast of showers later in the day, the #Proteas wanted to know their targets and revisions just in case (little did they imagine about the cruel realty that was about to strike them later that evening).

SA broke through the openers very  cheaply. #Gooch edged behind off #AllanDonald for 2 and #IanBotham was castled by Meryck Pringle for 17.

Eng 39 for 2.

#GraemeHick joined #AlecStewart and both of them started repair work of the English innings. Steadily they reached 100 before deciding to open up and take charge. #BrianMcMillan snapped their partnership claiming Stewart for 33 but Hick had settled down by then and he unleashed a barrage of strokes to push the England scoring ahead briskly.

Middle order support from #NeilFairbrother (28), #AllanLamb (19) and #ChrisLewis (18) ensured England breezed past 200 through small but quick partnerships. Hick was dismissed for a solid 83. But, it was #DermotReeve who stole the late order show for the #Poms. His quickfire 25 of 14 (including 3 consecutive boundaries in one over) ensured England reached a respectable 252 at the end of their 45 overs. (Match had to be shortened due to rain interruptions at the top leading to time overrun of the first innings cut off of 6:10 pm) 

At 5+ runs per over (in the 90s this was a big deal!!), the target was definitely stiff and everyone felt England would nail the game swiftly.  SA had different ideas though. Wessels and #Andrew Hudson made a breezy start before Wessels was claimed by Botham. #PeterKirsten, their best technical batsman, didnt last too long either and was out for 11.

SA 61 for 2.

Hudson was in fine nick though and he was just appearing to open up when he was trapped leg before by #RichardIllingworth for a well compiled 46.

SA 90 for 3.

It was now left to the younger generation of SA cricket to steer their ship. And boy did they march? #AdrianKuiper struck a super 36, #HansieCronje 24 and #JontyRhodes a breezy 43 to inch close to their target. A victory was in sight. Although all these youngsters eventually got out, the score was reading ..

SA 206 for 6

Very even contest.

#DaveRichardson and McMillan then put a very steady partnership of 29 to reach 231 in 42.5 overs. 
Victory in sight. 23 to win in 13 balls. You'd put your money on SA the way these two were batting. Gooch looking clueless and desperate for a breakthrough.

And then it happened... the heavens opened up.
Play had to be stopped due to the showers.
When play resumed, the rain rule was applied to adjust the time lost in the break.

The scoreboard read 22 runs to win in 7 balls.

Bah! the target was revised by just 1 run but 6 balls were taken off the batting team.

Then more drama .... 

The officials had actually made a mistake displaying 7 balls. They corrected the scoreboard again.
Now it read ....

22 runs to win in 1 ball

What? What the $#%@? 

Speechless.. there was a dead silence in the crowd. 

How on earth was that possible?

But, it was a rain rule being applied those days and had to be put into force.

What a shame! The game was tantalizingly poised for a humdinger of a finish and then this farcical rain rule spoilt it all.

Chris Lewis sent down the one delivery and McMillan tapped it down to long on for a single. The match had ended, technically.

No one was happy. The Englishmen knew victory was handed over to them by the rain rule. The Proteas knew it was pure divine intervention that didnt want them to win the game.

England qualified for the final against Pakistan at the #MCG.

SA returned home, bruised but not humiliated. They had put up an amazing performance throughout the tournament and were only robbed of a possible finals berth by rain gods. 

MOM: Graeme Hick

Watch the game highlights here...

Top Matches in Feb 2015 atthe #ICCWorldCup2015

Here are some of the best matches to look out for in Feb 2015 at the #ICCWorldCup2015

14th Feb - NZ v SL, #Christchurch
14th Feb - Aus v Eng, #MCG
15th Feb - Ind v Pak, #AdelaideOval
20th Feb - NZ v Eng, #Wellington...
22nd Feb - Ind v SA, MCG
28th Feb - NZ v Aus, #Auckland

Huge games upfront to decide positions in their group.
Bigger excitement awaits in Mar 2015 but book your schedules for these games. They're gonna be one hella exciting stuff, especially the Aus/Eng and Ind/Pak games are massive from viewership and rivalry based!

Eng v Aus is legendary although Aus have always had an upper hand most of the time. In the current context too, the Aussies look too powerful for the Englishmen. Its just that being #MCG and timeless rivalry will make the atmosphere quick electrifying.
Punches will be exchanged but mostly it seems that the Aussies will end up on top in that game!

Ind v Pak is for the generations!

Traditional rivals all these years and players' careers depend on outcome of these games. Such is the intensity!

Surprisingly, all all world cup meetings till date, India have been victorius. That's an amazing stat considering Pak won the cup in 1992 (but lost comfortably to India in a league match). Same in 1999 when they reached semifinals at the world cup but lost to India. They were comprehensively beaten in 1996 quarter finals (another electric game though) and 2011 semi finals. The two teams did not meet each other in the 1975, 1979 and 2007 (both teams were ousted in the first round itself).

Whatever the results, the needle and pressure in an Ind v Pak game is amazing.
Promises to be another mouth watering clash at the Adelaide Oval on 15th Feb 2015. Cant wait to see that match...

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Herschelle Gibbs - "You just dropped the World Cup Son"

"You just dropped the World Cup son..." Did Steve Waugh say that? Yes or No .. the debate will go on but it was undoubtedly the defining moment in the 1999 world cup. IF Steve Waugh would have gone at that stage, Australia would have never qualified for the semi finals and SA would have had the best chance to win the world cup. As luck would have it, the best fielder in the side (alongside Jonty Rhodes) had to drop this sitter.

The score card should have read like this
Steve Waugh caught and dropped Gibbs b Kluesner 52

Waugh went to score his typical gritty century and bail Australia out of this game to set up semifinals against? You guessed right... SA again. What happened at Birmingham in the semis? ... is part of cricketing legend!

Sri Lanka Official 2015 World Cup Song - Wonderful!

#SriLanka - Official Cricket World Cup 2015 Song

Simply awesome!!
Just like their team and culture .. its vibrant and colorful!

Always a balanced and powerful side although they are never talked about or rated high as some of the others (India and England are you listening?) who seem to be more media friendly... Probably they need a good PR or a captain like Ranatunga to announce themselves on world stage. 

Great respect for this side. All the best for the world cup!

Sunday 25 January 2015

Australia Day and Republic Day Cricket Clash 2015

#AustraliaDay and #RepublicDay on 26th Jan.
#India v #Australia at the #SCG on 26th Jan 2015

India's last chance really to beat Australia and higher their morale before the #ICCWorldCup2015. Need to really pull up their socks and beat the Aussies.

Australia sitting pretty with 3 wins out of 3 and can experiment.
However, given the big occasion they would definitely want to win this one too!

#Chakde India

Friday 23 January 2015

Will England Be Fourth Time Lucky?

#England teams have been enigmatic over the years.

They reached 3 Finals in the first 5 editions of the Cricket World Cup, losing on all three occasions
(to West Indies in 1979, to Australia in 1987 and to Pakistan in 1992). Until then, they were a very powerful force to reckon with in one dayers.

The advent of modern day cricket (pinch hitting, powerplays, etc) seemed to derail them completely from the format. Add to that key retirements including Ian Botham, Graham Gooch. Mike Gatting, Robin Smith, etc and their downfall happened pretty sharply over the years.

1996 saw them blown away by a rampaging Jayasuriya in the quarter finals
In 1999, they couldnt reach the #SuperSixes stage (in their home World Cup)
Repeat poor performances in 2003 (South Africa), 2007 (West Indies) and 2011 (India) indicated a big down-slide of this side.

However, with fresh new talent coming in, they have slowly crept up the ladder to top of the tree by 2012. Excellent combination of batting. bowling and all round ability led them to dominate both test and one day cricket for a while.

So, how does it look for them at the 2015 Cricket World Cup?
The team looks settled but low on pure skills. 

Morgan, Bell will need to lead talented youngsters in tough situations and crunch moments in tight matches. 

Definitely their biggest strength especially with Anderson and Finn leading that attack. Spin is a worry since retirement of Graeme Swann.

All Round Ability:
Broad, Ali, Bopara should do well to contribute with either bat or ball.

All in all, they need to play well above their potential and ability to win this world cup.
All the best #Poms!

Team England for the Cricket World Cup 2015 

Eoin Morgan
Moeen Ali
Garry Ballance
Ian Bell
Ravi Bopara
Jos Butler
Stuart Broad
Alex Hales
Joe Root
Chris Jordan
James Tredwell
James Taylor
Chris Woakes
James Anderson
Steven Finn

Thursday 22 January 2015

Sri Lanka - The Asian Lions Deserve To Be 50 Over World Champs

#SriLanka: No one other than #TeamAustralia has been as consistent over the last 15 years (since the new millennium). Winners of the previous #ICCT20WorldCup after being on the losing side in finals of all major tournaments including two World Cups, Champions Trophy and T20 Championships.

Sri Lankan sides just look very well organized every time they participate in any tournament. Agreed, they don't have big names to boast of (apart from #Jayawardhane, #Sangakara, #Malinga and to some extent #AngeloMatthews) but they are very compact side. There is no fuss about this team. They go about doing their job professionally and the results are for everyone to see.

From minnows in earlier world cup editions to world champs in 1996 under the legendary #ArjunaRantunga, they have come a long way since. Outplayed in the 1999 edition in England, they bounced back in 2003 to reach the semi finals (where they had Australia in trouble at a stage but eventually lost the game). They went a step ahead in 2007 reaching the finals (again to lose to Australia) and in 2011 (lost to India). Shows their consistency on all types of wickets and conditions. Just that they lack the killer genius of #AravindaDeSilva and #SanathJayasuriya of 1996 to take that one step further.

Personally, I think the Sri Lankans are highly under-rated players. They have not really gotten their due on world stage like the power/rich Indian players, superstar Aussies ad Pakistanis or the media powerful England and SA players have. Maybe their lifestyle, demeanor and laid back approach could be the reason. But their skills are amazing and they should demand their own value by winning this #ICCWorldCup2015. Its about time...

Batting looks solid with Dilshan, Jayawardena, Sanga will guide their youngsters well. Probably the last cup for Sanga-Jaya. Therefore, they'd like to bow out on a high! (just like they did in the T20 final two years ago)

Bowling seems to be a slightly weak area although Malinga and Kulasekhara will bring in all their experience and guile into the fast bowling attack. The Australian and Kiwi pitches will support both bounce and swing. Hence, seamers will rule the roost and they are looking forward to young seamers in Prasad, Lakmal and Perera to come up with the goods.

Spin department is in the able hands of the veteran Rangana Herath. He along with Jeevan Mendis and Senanayake will bring variety to their potent bowling attack.

All rounders will be led by Angelo Matthews. Awesomely talented and fit-for-all situations in a match, he will be a key cog in the Sri Lankan armour if they are to win the cup. Will they?

Team Sri Lanka for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
Angelo Matthews
Lahiru Thirimanne
Dinesh Chandimal
Tilakatne Dilshan
Mahela Jayawardena
Kumar Sangakarra
Dimuth Karunaratne
Lasith Malinga
Nuwan Kulasekara
Thisara Perera
Dhammika Prasad
Suranga Lakmal
Rangana Herath
Sachithra Senanayake
Jeevan Mendis

West Indies - Powerhouse to Poor house

1975 and 1979 Champions (still considered by many as the best One day side of all time with names like Lloyd, Richards, Greenidge, Dujon, Roberts, Marshal, Holding, Garner, and the list goes on)
1983: Shock defeat in the finals at the hands of India started their decline in world cricket.
1987: Did not qualify for the semi-finals
1992: Did not qualify for the semi-finals
1996: The gut wrenching loss to Australia from an easy win position in the semi-finals
1999: Did not qualify for the super sixes
2003: Did not qualify for the super sixes
2007: Eliminated in quarter finals
2011: Eliminated in quarter finals

The solid powerhouse that this team once was ... cut a sorry picture in every following world cup.
It became worse in the new millennium.
All throughout that period, there were only glimpses of greatness mostly through Lara, Walsh and Ambrose 

So how does it look for them at the 2015 edition of the cricket world cup?

Gayle, Samuels, Darren Bravo, Simmons will need to pull out one special innings after another to upset other teams in their group. 

Lack of middle order stability will be concerning.

Can crank up pace and suprise oppositions. Roach, Taylor, Carter.
Especially the Australian pitches will suit their seamers well.
Spin with Narine is a bright spot but Benn and others looks a bit weak.

All round ability:
Samuels, Gayle, Holder, Sammy, Russell can wield both bat and ball effectively.

Overall, very outside chances considering a lot of factors including their players squabblinh with WICB every other month, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have been huge omisions leading to lot of criticism. All the best

Team West Indies for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Jason Holder
Chris Gayle
Dwayne Smith
Marlon Samuels
Darren Bravo
Lendl Simmons
Darren Sammy
Denesh Ramdin
Sulieman Benn
Sunil Narine
Johnathan Carter
Sheldon Cottrell
Kemar Roach
Andre Russell
Jerome Taylor

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Afghanistan - Will This Be A Smashing Debut For Them?

#Afghanistan, debut at this year's ICC Cricket World Cup.
As an associate member from 2001, their journey has been of ups and downs.

However, they qualified for the premier cricket event on account of finishing second in the ICC World Cricket League Championship.

A complete new team throws a lot to ponder. What are their strengths? Weaknesses? Who are the stars? Whether they will be in "awe" of the heavyweight teams or throw caution to the wind and deliver upsets? (Remember Kenya against WI in 1996, Ireland vs Pakistan and Bangladesh vs India in 2007 and Ireland vs England in 2011).

Will be very interesting indeed.
From what has been read and said, this team has good talent and like all Asian teams play and follow cricket passionately. Spin bowling and batting seems to be their key strengths. Playing in Australia is going to be their biggest test no doubt.

The general expectation from everyone would be to see them compete and not just fill up the numbers. Even if they stretch some of the sides in Pool A, it would be a great achievement. Their games against Scotland and Bangladesh would be an interesting watch.

Team Afghanistan for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
Mohammad Nabi
Afzar Zazai
Aftab Alam
Asghar Stanikzai
Dawlat Zadran
Gulabdin Naib
Hamid Hassan
Javed Ahmadi
Mirwais Ashraf
Najbullah Zadran
Nasir Jamal
Nawroz Mangal
Samiullah Shenwari
Shapoor Zadran
Usman Ghani
Hasmatullah Shaidi
Izatullah Dawlatazai
Sharafuddin Ashraf

Will South Africa Bury Ghosts Of Previous Cricket World Cups in 2015?

Will #SA break the #CricketWorldCup jinx this time?

The eternal "chokers" of cricket enter yet another world cup carrying ghosts of previous editions. The dreadful #Rainrule in 1992, the #Lara magnum opus in 1996, the ultimate #KluesnerChoke in the greatest one dayer of all time in 1999, the silly miscalculation against  #SriLanka in 2003, complete annihilation by #Australia in 2007 and the #NewZeland choke of 2011.

What are their chances this time around then?

Almost every world cup has thrown a situation that has pushed them out of the cup. Ironically, on most occasions they are the team to beat. Wessels' team in 1992 was their re-entry into world cup after the apartheid era but they did tremendously well to reach the semis only to be cruelly thrown out due to the ridiculous rain rule that was being applied to rain curtailed games. The #DuckworthLewis rule came in later to even out a contest.

In 1996 and 1999, under #HansieCronje, they were arguably the best side to win both tournaments on form and man-to-man strengths. Bowling, Batting, Fielding, All round ability .. they had it all. And some of the best names at that. However in 1996, they ran into a rampaging #BrianLara in the quarterfinal to be blown under his assault. In 1999, the greatest one day match of all time (a tied semi final against Australia) saw them bow out on account of losing to the Aussies in the group stage. An eternal #choke (that went on to become a sobriquet associated with them for years to come).

In 2003, under #GraemeSmith and being hosts, was another golden opportunity. And what did they do? Fluff up a Duckworth-Lewis calculation and failed to take an extra run that would see them in the next round. Instead Sri Lanka went through. What a mega blunder!

2007 World Cup was dominated by Australia throughout and they blew away everyone along the way including SA in the semifinals. Fair and square. No bad luck involved here.

Come 2011, and again tragedy struck in the quarterfinals against New Zealand. From what seemed like a easy win, they wasted another opportunity...

Any luck this time around?

Well, they seem a bit inexperienced and a lot of fresh faces.
However their key strength is their bowling, especially #DaleSteyn and #MorneMorkel. They will hold key on the fast Australian pitches and seams NZ tracks.

Batting is in safe hands of #ABDevilliers, #HashimAmla and #FafDuPlessis.

Solid all round strength and fielding is extra-ordinary right from the #JontyRhodes era.

With SA its all going to be about self belief.
Can they conquer their mental demons this time around?

SA Team for Cricket World Cup 2015
A B Devilliers
Hashim Amla
Kyle Abbott
Farhan Behardien
Quinton De Kock
Jean Paul Duminy
Faf Du Plessis
Imran Tahir
David Miller
Morne Morkel
Wayne Parnell
Aaron Phangiso
Vernon Philander
Rilee Rossauw
Dale Steyn

Monday 19 January 2015

AB's Historic feat - Fastest Century In One Dayers

A long standing record in cricket is broken !!!

#ABDevilliers has done it.... 
Century in 31 balls ... OMG ... unbelievable batting from the most valuable player in cricket today.

#SouthAfrica vs #WestIndies
Venue: Wanderers, Johannesburg
Date: 18th Jan 2015

Batting first and riding well on #HashimAmla and #RileeRossouw hundreds, South Africa looked to build momentum for a big score through some quick runs from their middle order. #AB decided scoring quick was not good enough. He decided to take the bullet train route. 

And boy, did he explode?

Absolute carnage followed.
The hapless #Windies could do nothing but see the bowls flowing over their heads into the crowds in what has been one of the most audacious batting display in cricket history. Scoops, Sweeps, Paddle shots, Flicks, the runs flowed from everywhere... and AB the magician provided them all  .. in just 31 balls..

And that didn't end there.
He carried on and piled up 149 in 49 deliveries (including 16 sixes, a SA record)

Records set
50 runs - 16 balls - World record #ABDevilliers
100 runs - 31 balls - World record #ABDevilliers
16 sixes - South African record #ABDevilliers
Total score 439 - just four short of that magical 443 SA scored against Australia (again at Wanderers in that classic massive scoring game few years ago)

West Indies were so blown away by that onslaught, that their reply ended before it actually started.
Although #DeneshRamdin and #DwayneSmith got half centuries, they lost the game by 148 runs. Had they plucked AB early in his innings, they could have made a game of it. Not to be.

AB take a bow!

Sunday 18 January 2015

Is David Warner The "Spoilt Brat" Of World Cricket?

Its happened yet again!

#DavidWarner is at it ... with the touring Indian team.

He was seen getting into a verbal duel with Indian batsmen #RohitSharma and #SureshRaina in an ugly incident during their #CarltonMidTriSeries tournament at Adelaide Oval.

It so happened that during India's batting innings, Sharma and Raina were rebuilding the India innings pretty well. They seemed to be on course to post a good score. 

In one of #JamesFaulkner's overs (23rd of the innings), they ran for an overthrow. The Aussies believed that the ball had ricocheted off Rohit's body and batsmen shouldn't have taken the run. (unwritten but widely followed cricket protocol). Replays showed otherwise. Nothing seemed to touch Rohit and hence the run was pretty valid and within rules of sportsmanship.

However during the change of overs, Warner decided to speak up his mind to Rohit about it. What followed was ugly exchange of words between the two and Warner was repeatedly heard saying "Speak English" to the Indian duo. The umpires and other team members intervened at the right time to sort things out and got on with the game.

Australia went to win the match by 4 wickets (although they suffered a lot of hiccups late in their innings and just about managed to get over the line)

David Warner was fined 50% of his match fee for his behavior and it instantly sparked a raging discussion whether the game has remained a #GentlemansGame? and aggressive play is being mistaken as a verbal slugfest or gibberish talk on the field?

#MartinCrowe even suggested a card system (like in #Soccer) to bring this in check.

The big question remains.
Who will "bell" Warner off his ways to deal with on field situations.
Hope the Australian captain is listening?

Saturday 17 January 2015

Underestimate Pakistan At Your Peril This #CricketWorldCup2015

The most unpredictable team of all time! by a distance.
Amazing talent, extraordinary performances on one day and even minnows feel proud on others. Such has been Pakistan's journey over the last 40 years of World Cup one day cricket.

From being arguably the best bowling unit (talent wise) ever to some of the most abject defeats in the World cup (notably - loss to Bangladesh in 1999 and to Ireland in 2007). You cannot predict which Pakistan side will land up on the field on a given day.

Boy, but if you give them a sniff and they are in the zone ... they can really nail you into submission with their audacious batting strokeplay or deadly bowling spells (as Australia found out in their league game in 1999 and NZ in that heartbreaking semifinal of 1992).

So how does this 2015 Pakistan World Cup squad look like?
Does it have the firepower to go all the way?

A lot inexperience in their batting ranks. A lot of youngsters roped in Ehsan Adil, Shehzad, Sohail, Maqsood. This could be their weakest link since conditions in Australia and NZ would favor seamers and teams from sub continent generally struggle here. Having said that, the "unseen" packages may just turn out to be surprise packages for other teams (India will their first opponent .. what a mouth watering clash scheduled for 15th Feb 15 at the Adelaide Oval)
A lot will depend on the experience of Misbah and Younis Khan to carry these youngsters when settting or chasing targets.

The traditional powerhouse of this team.
Emergence of Riaz and Irfan is a good sign but still lack of experience could spell their doom. Just don't see anyone to guide these seamers in tight situations.
Spinners will be lead by Hafeez and Afridi and they should do well.

All rounders
Plenty but its just that they may or they may not. You may see a blinder from nowhere (remember Inzamam's 60 from 37 from nowhere in 1992 against NZ to snatch victory in the end-game of that match?) but you will also see timid failures along the way (like the World Cup final 1999 against Australia)

All in all, a very inexperienced side and definitely not the favorites by a long way. May be that could be a boon in disguise. Who thought Imran Khan's team would win that 1992 in Australia world cup after an atrocious start to their campaign then. The venue this time? ... ... Australia again! Do NOT count them out.

Team Pakistan for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015


Team Australia for World Cup 2015 - Best Bet To Win The Cup?

Obviously the firm favorites to win the cup.
No.1 ranked in ODI, hosts and well-balanced side.
This Australian side looks equipped to go the distance!

It must be said that this team is a pale shadow of the great Aussis teams of 90s and 2000s. They don't have a legendary batting lineup including Gilchrist, Ponting, Waugh, Hayden, Bevan nor do they possess arguably the best balanced bowling attacks of all time (Warne, Mcgrath, Gillespie, Lee). This is a team reinventing itself through new talent.

However, the Australian cricket structure is such that it ensures new talent comes up all the time. Take the case of #GeorgeBailey who is also their current #T20 captain. With limited experience, he has catapulted to great heights in the shorter formats of the game. Many other names including Doherty, Cummins, Hazlewood are already being termed as the #RisingCricketStars of the world !

Looks solid all the way through with low or no chinks in that armoury.
They have the firepower in Warner, Watson, Maxwell, Finch.
Consistent and steady middle order in Clarke, Bailey, Smith, Marsh
More than useful tail - Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson

If at all, this seems to be their weak link.
New seamers in Hazlewood, Cummins, Faulkner and Starc are not experienced enough. Seasoned campaigners like Johnson will have to guide them smartly especially as the tournament moves in the elimination stages. Spinning dept lacks depth too. Doherty, Clarke and other part timers may not be very impactful although its going to be about the seamers in the Australian-NZ summer!

All Rounders
This is their big strength. Great combination of batsmen who can bowl and vice versa. Watson, Clarke, Smith, Faulkner can turn matches on their batting or bowling skills alone.

All in all, this Aussie side looks well set to dethrone India and regain the World Cup crown, unless they fluff up in important games or some match winning innings/performances snatches a game or two away from them!  

The Final 15 in the Australian squad for #ICCWorldCup2015
#Michael Clarke
#George Bailey
#Pat Cummins
#Xavier Doherty
#James Faulkner
#Aaron Finch
#Brad Haddin
#Josh Hazlewood
#Mitchell Johnson
#Mitchell Marsh
#Glenn Maxwell
#Steve Smith
#Mitchell Starc
#David Warner
#Shane Watson

Thursday 15 January 2015

Pak v NZ (Semifinal, Auckland, World Cup 1992)

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
A batting superstar has arrived .... 
Best way to describe this match.

Against all odds Pakistan managed to scrape through to the semi-finals of this edition's #WorldCup semifinals (Remember the 1 point they gained from the hopeless performance against England, 74 all out, allowed them to move ahead of Australia and West Indies). Their opposition? The deadly in-form team, New Zealand. Unbeaten until their last league game (ironically their only loss came at the hands of Pakistan).

Stage was set. Eden Park, Auckland all set to stage its first ever World Cup semifinal game. The home team buoyant and clear favorites going into this game. But, as they say ... take Pakistan team granted at your own peril as the #Kiwis were to soon find out.

On a sunny March morning and a jam-packed stadium, NZ captain #MarttinCrowe won the toss and elected to bat first. Runs on the board was the clear plan. #MarkGreatbatch and #JohnWright opened the innings. Greatbatch was is great form and had blasted oppositions into submission during the course of the tournament. Danger man truly. But, the Pak bowlers had done their homework brilliantly. They pinned him and Wright by cramping them for room and no width to free their arms. #AquibJaved and #WasimAkram were awesome in that first spell. Aquib castled Greatbatch on 17.

#MushtaqAhmed then took over and had Wright and #AndrewJones caught to reduce NZ to 87 for 3. This is when captain Crowe and #KenRutherford took charge. Slowly, they built the innings before unleashing a counter-attack on the Pak bowling. Crowe's brilliant run in the world cup continued. He scored a fluent 91 before being run-out in the end stages of their innings.

Rutherford's steady 50 and some late blows for the Kiwi tail enabled them to score a very competitive 262 for 7 in their stipulated 50 overs. Wasim was the pick of the bowlers with an effective 2 for 40.

More than enough, you'd think as a Kiwi fan then.
Considering Pak's fallibility chasing scores or Kiwi tactics during the world cup to keep shuffling bowlers quickly were all stacked against Pak. Will they pull it off or would this be an end to their on-off campaign?

Then drama. Captain Crowe who suffered cramps and dehydration wasn't fit to take field. A big blow considering his audacious tactics and skill captaincy had brought them this far. His deputy John Wright certainly wasn't an inspirational figure on the ground but had to lead his side.

#AmeerSohail and #RameezRaja opened the innings for Pakistan. As usual #DeepakPatel, the offie opened NZ's bowling. This move to open with a spinner had brought them huge success all throughout. The trend continued when he had Sohail caught by Jones.

Pak 30 for 1.

Captain Imran promoted himself at No.3 to show his men how to lead from the front. He and Rameez slowly pushed things along. Plan was clear. Build and hold wickets for a late onslaught. They added 54 before Rameez fell to #WillieWatson. That brought in the wily old fox #JavedMiandad to the crease. Both him and Imran took it forward by adding 50 runs before Imran fell to #ChrisHarris.

Pak 134 for 3.

However, all this build-up was leading to required run-rate blowing up. Something had to give in. To add to their woes, Mr. Dependendable, #SalimMalik fell cheaply to #GavinLarsen reducing Pak to 140 for 4. 

Will Javed pull off a miracle with youngsters to follow? or Kiwis choke them? 

What Auckland and rest of the world witnessed after that was sheer magic!

In walked a 22 year old tall and burly youngster #InzamamUlHaq
With Javed at the other end, he unleashed an extraordinary counter attack on the Kiwis. This type of audacious strokeplay and power was never seen before!

His breathtaking hitting stunned the Kiwis. They were clueless. They were bamboozled. 

Javed held his end and encouraged #Inzi (as he later popularly came to be known) to play one of the finest match winning innings of all time. His 37 ball 60 became part of cricket folklore.

But there was still some drama to come. Inzy was run out trying to steal a single. Wasim was castled by Watson raising Kiwi hopes yet again. It needed someone to put the finishing touches from either side. #MoinKhan did it for Pakistan. Again, with Javed's astute presence in the middle.

His massive six and couple of boundaries deflated the Kiwis and Pakistan romped home with an improbable win. Amazing scenes at the Eden Park as Pakistan team engulfed Moin and Javed. 
Heartbreak for the Kiwis and more so for Martin Crowe. A golden chance to reach the finals had been lost.

But, the game belonged to the gentle giant, Inzamam.
A superstar had arrived ... in style!

MOM: Inzamam Ul Haq

Watch highlights here....

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Cricinfo Latest Photos

Cricinfo Latest Photos

Ind v Pak (Group Match, Centurion, World Cup 2003)

Venue: Supersport Park, Centurion, SA

Huge game!!
Traditional rivals at it again ... in a #WorldCup match.
Build up to this game was big. Pakistan bowling vs India batting.
It was predicted that if Pak batting clicks, they win. If Ind bowling clicks, they win. Simple as that.
But, Ind v Pak matches are never simple. right?

This match was more important for Pakistan than India because their victory/loss here would determine their slim chances to proceed ahead in the tournament. India was sitting in a better position but a win here would ensure their safe passage to the next phase.

Many battles were being looked forward to. Shoaib v Sachin, Waqar v Sehwag, Zaheer v Anwar, Kumble v Inzamam. It reached a feverish state prior to the game. Everyone just wanted the game to start ..... rather explode!!

On a wonderful Centurion morning, #WasimAkram, Pakistan captain, won the toss and elected to bat first. A good decision considering the pressure involved. #Saeed Anwar and #TaufeeqUmar started the Pak innings steadily. Mixing caution and aggression, they touched fifty under 10 overs without any damage done. Then #ZaheerKhan struck, uprooting Taufeeq stumps. First blood for Ind. #AbdulRazzaq, promoted up the order, to up the ante didnt stay for too long edging one behind off Nehra for 12. 90 for 2.

In walked #InzamamUlHaq, the best best Pakistan batsman. With Anwar in full flow by then, Pak would have imagined both of them to build a big partnership, Instead, the inevitable happened!! Inzy was run out (any surprises there?). A complete miscommunication and poor running cost him dearly. His reaction aftter the dismissal said everything. Frustration, disappointment and anger .. all in one. Indians were delighted. Pak 98 for 3.

#YousufYouhana joined Anwar and together they started their repair work. Answar crossed his individual fifty and Youhana was just about to let loose when #JavagalSrinath struck getting him to hit one down Zaheer's throat.  Pak 171 for 4.

Saeed Anwar completed a beautifully crafted century shortly after. he had played some delightful strokes in his innings holding one end strongly. Just as he was about to open up, #AshishNehra castled him. Pak 195 for 5. In spot of bother.

The extremely unreliable #ShaahidAfridi, follwed suit leaving Pak struggling to up the tempo in the end overs. Pak 208 for 6.

#RashidLatif though had different ideas. He unleashed his dogged style of batting and pushed the scoring quickly along with #YounisKhan. Both pushed the score past 250 before Younis was caught behind off Zaheer. Pak 256 for 7.

In walked Pak captain, #WasimAkram. He took charge and unleased some lusty blows in the final over to give the Pak total a mighty look. At the end of their innings, Pak 273 for 7. A good score considering the pressure and tension of an Ind v Pak game.

Can India pull this off? or Pak will walk away with an easy win?

In walked #SachinTendulkar and #VirenderSehwag to open Ind innings. The best opening pair vs the best pace attack on display (Shoaib, Waqar and Wasim). A contest was on the hands. Both batsmen knowing the required rate was high started pushing score quickly. Sachin was extremely severe on anything short of length. His #uppercut six of Shoaib is part of cricketing folklore now. What an amazing shot. The commentators were spell bound, the spectators were wow and Pak bowlers zapped by this onslaught. #WaqarYounis met the same fate the following over. 50 of the team was brought up in 5 overs. Tremendous start!

In desperate search for wickets, Waqar finally broke through Sehwag getting him to hit a full-length delivery to short cover. He trapped Ind captain #SouravGanguly #lbw the very next ball. Great fightback. Ind 53 for 2.

India promoted #MohamadKaif to number 4 to stem the rot and not risk another key wicket. A great decision since he played perfect foil to Sachin's aggression. At the other end, Sachin was most lucky to be dropped by Razzaq off Wasim. he continued to attack the Pak bowling unit though. 

His assault on Wasim and Afridi derailed the Pak camp completely. The genius at work showed his team how to do it? However due to the #Centurion heat, he developed cramps in legs and asked for a runner, Sehwag it was. His concentration seemed to have been lost and he fell to a Shoaib short delivery. What an innings he had played? 98 for 75 deliveries. A dream effort and one of the greatest ODI knocks ever seen. Ind 177 for 4.

The impact of Sachin's assault on Pak bowlers was such that the run pressure was off. All it now needed was someone to stay put and complete the chase. With #RahulDravid and #YuvrajSingh the crease, winning the game was no biog deal. Yuvraj played his usual aggressive stuff while Dravid supported him beautifully. India crossed the line with ease. A comfortable 6 wicket victory.

#RobinJackman, the presentor for Man of the Match, said "Thank you Sachin for such a wonderful innnings. Take a bow".

With this win, India was more or less assured of the next phase (#SuperSixes) while pakistan had to work their way around the group to move ahead.
MOM: Sachin Tendulkar

Watch the video highlights of this game here: