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Monday, February 28, 2011

India and England locked in a tie after cliffhanger

Sachin Tendulkar scored brilliant 47th century in ODI once again and created new record of most centuries in the World Cup. This century also took him one step near to the great landmark of 100 centuries in International Cricket. Andrew Strauss played scintillating innings of 158 with some luck. Supporting characters tried hard and created big drama but all these great efforts ended without reaching their destination. How often we see such a great cricket match where records tumbled, which fought hard till the last ball with fortunes fluctuating from one side to other and in the end, no side end up fortunate enough to win the contest and what about the spectators, they get their money's  but in the end they have to go home without witnessing  desired climax of the story which kept them tied to their seats for almost 8 hours.

Yesterday night Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru witnessed the contest which made World Cup alive after a week of its inception. India and England performed brilliantly with the bat but failed to make a mark in bowling and fielding. World Cup 2011 needed this kind of match badly after one week of boring cricket. Both teams given runs like they are playing in a charity match on a surface which had nothing for the bowlers. But I feel in all this run galore both captains made few mistakes which deprived them from winning this great contest. Dhoni did not attack Englishmen too much. Strauss made a mistake by continuing with Anderson in death overs even after he went for plenty of runs. Both teams fielded poorly.

If we talk about Dhoni, I already mentioned about his defensive techniques in my earlier posts and once again he repeated the same mistakes and then cried foul over one decision which went against his team. I think when you score 338 runs then 9 out of 10 times you win but for that you have to use attacking strategy and Dhoni failed to attack English batsmen even after putting mammoth score on the board. He opened the field for English batsmen to pick-up easy singles and did not force them to make a mistake. Pietersen, Strauss and Bell took full advantage of Dhoni's strategy and kept picking up singles and odd boundaries without taking any big risk. Dhoni is repeating the same mistakes again and again and because of which Indian team lose the crunch matches. He made mistakes in South Africa where he set defensive field in Test Matches as well as in ODIs and that resulted into drawn test series and ended up losing the ODI Series 3-2 to Proteas.

When Dhoni will understand the importance of blocking the singles? In this match it was evident that Dhoni made a mistake by not attacking the English batsmen. Had Strauss not taken that 3rd Batting Power Play then England would have easily won but because Strauss took the Power Play and Dhoni was forced to bring the field in, immediately India team gripped the game by picking up 2 quick wickets because singles were dried up and that forced Bell and Strauss to play rash shots which resulted into their downfall and eventually match ended in tie. Big lesson for Dhoni and his team for the coming matches. Dhoni have to attack there is no other option. If you want to win a game then you have to pick up wickets otherwise you will face the music of opposition batsmen who will make mockery of the defensive field and easily collect the runs and keeps the pressure of run-rate away form them like Bell and Strauss did yesterday and almost took the game away from India.

As far as Strauss and England are concerned, I think they were bit lucky to tie this game not because they batted brilliantly but Indian captain and bowlers turned deaf and did not appeal even after Strauss edged the ball when he was on 3 and 111. I think Strauss made a big mistake of taking Power Play at wrong time. They were picking up 8-9 runs easily in the middle-overs but could not resist themselves from going bang-bang by taking Power Play and finish the match in style but to their misfortune, tactic of taking Power Play went against them and they almost reached on the verge of losing the game from the position of strength. Zaheer bowled brilliantly in the Power Play and picked up crucial wickets of Bell and Strauss on successive deliveries . In the next over he picked up Collingwood by cleaning his off-stump and gave India advantage to win the game but once again lack-luster Indian fielding came onto the scene and Indian fielders allowed Englishmen to convert the singles into twos and match resulted into the tie.

I don't say India's bowling was that bad in this match. I must say poor strategy of Dhoni and fielding deprived India from great victory. As far as Strauss is concerned bowling and fielding is big worry for him and have to work hard  on fielding and bowling before next match if he wants his team to sail into quarters and semis. India also have problems in plenty with the fielding and strategy and have to rectify the mistakes immediately otherwise they will end up on losing side once again. For India, Yuvraj's return in form is a very good sign and this can be a big advantage in coming matches but remember only batting can't win matches.

I must say this match certainly lived upto its big hype which was created in its build up.

Sri Lanka faced the unexpected as Pakistan won well fought contest

This was one of the match which Sangakkara and his team wants to forget as soon as possible. They trapped badly in their own plan. The ground which witnessed only Lankan victories became witness of Pakistan team's victory for a change. I think moment Sangakkara lost the toss on slow and sluggish pitch it was evident that day was not favourable for Sri Lanka.There was atmosphere at the R Premadasa from the off, music and noise for once. Pakistan's openers came out at Sri Lanka's bowlers and a game was on our hands. Soon there was comedy, in Mohammad Hafeez's run-out, when men lose their wits utterly to the occasion itself. Soon two more wickets fell and one of them was Kamran Akmal's who literally threw his wicket.
There was then intelligence and wisdom in the partnership of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. For those who lack an appreciation of subtlety, the middle overs are hell. But how beautifully the pair manipulated angles and found space, a dink here, a deflection there, and how hard they ran. With barely any boundaries, the pair put on a 108-run stand at near enough a run a ball and the pace never felt as if it was slacking. In all they ran 65 singles and ten twos, true descendants of Asif Iqbal and Javed Miandad. Simultaneously there was the very physical appreciation of Sri Lankans in the field. Inside the circle they zipped around, like flying fish, hungry. Sri Lanka missed Lasith Malinga badly in this game because he was one player who would have made huge difference in this match from the Lankan prospects.
There was individual genius. In the build-up to this game, Pakistan spoke of Muttiah Muralitharan as if he wasn't Muttiah Muralitharan. He's too old, we play him well enough, he doesn't take wickets against us as he used to. All of this is essentially correct. Pakistan have learnt to play Muralitharan well but he still turned the entire nature of their innings, with his bowling at the death. It was mesmerising stuff, a reminder of his quite immense brain, against a bright young talent, and a batsman set and in real form. Basically it was defence, but beautiful and actually a form of attack.

Two passages of action were outstanding. The first was Shoaib Akhtar, who even at this stage in his career, is capable of recreating the heat every now and again of his early years. As a spectacle, pinging back Mahela Jayawardene's middle stump was difficult to better and it probably turned the game. In the next over, Shahid Afridi's delicious undoing of Thilan Samaraweera effectively sealed matters. Pace at one end and leg-spin at the other: it is not an unusual combination any more but the richness of its choreography and the vast possibilities it contains has always been brought out best by Pakistan. 
Sangakkara once again lived upto his reputation and tried hard to win the game on his own but run-rate was mounting and that forced Sangakkara to play the shot which he would have avoided on most occasion. Later, we saw how men and collectives can fall apart. Pakistan do it often but there's always a strange calmness about how it happens. To the eye, it doesn't feel like anything is breaking down. No one is running about shouting or screaming, there are smiles and expressionless faces and bemused smiles. Yet easy catches are dropped, run-outs missed, misfields, wides and no-balls bowled, poor decisions made and so on. I think Kamran Akmal missed too many catches and everytime he drops the catch he comes under scrutiny after that  famous Sydney test match where he dropped too many catches and faced the charges of match-fixing.  Chamara Silva came close to pulling off the most cunning heist so that there was always punch and counter punch, so that for every wicket that fell late on, a boundary was the response, cricket in perfect balance as it should be. Of course the result sets the rest of the tournament up just right. Co-hosts and favourites beaten by dark horses is a story that sells and sells.
Its good to see Pakistan winning this match and this clearly show that they have forgot all the unfortunate happenings and approached this game with fresh and blank mind. I believe Pakistan can make a mark in this World  Cup and if they reach finals then it will not surprise anybody if they continue to perform like they performed against Lankan giants but they have to improve on their fielding and top-order batting which is becoming bit of worry for them. Important thing from Pakistan's aspect is the bowling of form of their captain Shahid Afridi who is leading the team from the front atleast with the ball. He looked unplayable at times and had two very good games with the ball. I think if he continues to perform like this then this will definitely inspire youngsters in the team to do well.
Sri Lanka have to erase this match from their memories and have to focus on the coming games and try to win all of them to sail smoothly into the quarters and I believe one loss does not make the worst team.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Englishmen take on Indians on Sunday. Preview: India V/s England

After series of losses against Australia down-under and surviving near scare of loss from Netherlands in their first match, English team is raring to do well against India in their first high-profile match of the World Cup in Bengaluru on Sunday. All they injury hit bowlers are fit and ready to go after the Indian batting. England has already declared their strategy of bouncing the Indian batsmen and their bowlers are capable of doing that but the pitch of Chinnaswamy Stadium will allow them to do so is a big suspense. 

In warm-up match between India and Australia, Chinnaswamy pitch turned a lot and created lot of problems for the Aussie batsmen and remember English batsmen are not known for playing the spin well. So interesting to see what kind of combination Englishmen will try in the match against India on Sunday. English team is missing Eoin Morgan very much because he is the one player who keeps the scoreboard rolling and very dangerous batsmen in later half of the innings. But Englishmen have some very capable batsmen in Pietersen, Tortt, Strauss and Bell who can win matches for the. Matt Prior is the very capable batsmen I really failed to understand why England opened with Pietersen. I believe England must open with Matt Prior because he can keep the scoreboard rolling and even he gets out cheaply there is no harm. We all saw how Pietersen struggled against Netherlands while opening the batting so its better that Pietersen bats down the order. Trott is the big hope for England in middle-order. He is most reliable batsmen and play the very important role of anchor. 

If we talk about English bowling, Broad, Anderson and Bresnan makes good combination and will be supported by off-spinner Greame Swann. but I believe England must take chance with 2nd spinner in Bengaluru match and that will be surprise for the Indian team. Collingwood and Trott can play supporting bowler role very well so England have enough in their armoury as far as bowling is concerned. Only thing they require is little application from all the players and I feel if they play as a unit they can very well advance to the semis.

Indian team is full of confidence at the moment after their win over Bangladesh in opening match of the World Cup. Shewag , Kohli and Gambhir had good time in that match and looking good to score lot of runs in coming matches. But Sachin's failure in his last 3 ODIs is a bit of concern for Team India. Fomm of Yuvraj SIngh with the bat is also big worry. I think India have the team which suits to the sub-continent conditions but at times they falters at the key moments. India have variety in their bowling as well and they have lot of spinning option which is big advantage for Team India and MS Dhoni.  I think India have to play sensibly against England and have to post huge total like they did against Bangladesh, if they want to win this encounter and gain some pyschological advantage for the coming matches. 

India must play 2 spinners because English batsmen certainly struggle against the spin in Bengaluru. I believe trio of Harbhajan Sing, Piyush Chawla and Yuvraj Singh will do wonders if they get the same track on which they played against Australia in the warm-up game and restricted Aussies under 180. India's biggest problem is the fitness of its fast bowlers. Both Nehra and Zaheer are struggling with injuries and have to be fully fit ahead of the all important game against India. India will have the advantage of playing at home and crowd will be cheering them to do well.

Cracker of the contest is waiting for the cricket lovers on Sunday and cricket lovers across the country hoping to see close and exciting contest between these two teams.


ICC WC Logo1
10th ICC Cricket World Cup started on 19th Feb, 2011 and since then lot of action happened on-field and off-field. Here is the summary of all the events happened during first week of the World Cup.
No upset happened in first week of the World Cup and results were as per expectations
Netherlands gave hard time to the Englishmen but failed to win the match.
Ireland also fought hard but failed to cross the final barrier.
Australian Captain Ricky Ponting once again created news with his bad behaviour as he broke the LCD TV at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera after getting run-out against Zimabawe. Ponting was penalised with deduction of 50% match fees by the ICC.
Sehwag created news for not wearing numbered Jersey in the match against Bangladesh due to superstition. ICC raised the objection but finally allowed Sehwag to play without number in rest of the matches.
Australia and West Indies further suffered due to an injury to its key players.  Doug Bollinger and Dwayne Bravo returned home due to injuries and they will be certainly missed by their teams. Both Bravo and Bollinger have been ruled out of the remaining matches in the World Cup
Sachin, Sehwag and Yuvraj were also in news due to injury scare during practice session in Bengaluru ahead of all important England match.
As many as 311 Boundaries and 40 Sixes hit in the World Cup this week in 10 matches played so far.
Fans were lathi-charged outside Chinnaswamy Stadium  in Bengaluru where they gathered for getting tickets of India-England match. Anil Kumble is heading the KSCA and it is really shameful that such incident happened in the presence of legend like Anil Kumble.
ICC questioned its own President Mr. Sharad Pawar for not handling the ticket distribution  system properly
Australia emerged as the strongest team and Kenya emerged as weakest team of  Week-1
Virender Sehwag of India emerged as highest run-getter with 175 runs under his belt and Mitchell Johnson of Australia emerged as leading wicket-taker with 8 wickets in Week-1.
90% of the decision of on-field umpires proved right after using UDRS.
Virender Sehwag scored first century of the 2011 World Cup.
Pakistan Captain Shahid Afridi picked up first five wicket haul of the 2011 World Cup.

Preview: Sri Lanka V/s Pakistan. Battle for sub-continent kingdom begins

Mercurial Paksitan will take on Lankan Lions in their own den today. This will going to be a cracker of the contest and believe me both team will play for advantage. This match will also give some hint about Sri Lanka's journey towards World Cup finals. But it will be important match for both the teams and nobody will going to take it lightly as one mistake will result into the defeat.

Kumar Sangakkara(Captain/WK), Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Mahela Jayawardene(Vice-Captain), Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chamara Kapugedara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Thisara Perera, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Tillakratane Dilshan. Trevor Bayliss(Coach)

If we talk about Sri Lanka, they are considered favourite for the trophy alongwith Team India and it is also justified with their performances in the recent matches. They won their last series against West Indies and all their players are in supreme form. Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene will be their mainstay in the batting while bowling will revolve around Malinga, Muralitharan and Mendis. Sri Lanka have very balanced team. they have good batsmen in top-order, they have good all-rounders in Perera and Mathews and they possess lethal spinning warriors in Muralitharan and Mendis. They also have great advantage of playing at home and they have best suited team for the conditions and pitches in sub-continent. Remember they became champion in 1996 in sub-continent conditions. They are great fielding side  and probably best in sub-continent which is huge  advantage for  them over Pakistan
Misbah Ul Haq, Shahid Afridi(Captain), Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal(WK), Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Abdul Razzaq,  Abdur Rehman, Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Ahmed Shehzad. Waqar Younis(Coach)

As far as Pakistan is concerned their confidence is sky high after series win New Zealand and they also beat Kenya convincingly in their first match. Their middle-order got few runs under their belt as Misbah Ul Haq, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal and Kamran Akmal got half-centuries in the game against Kenya and had very good batting practice. Pakistan is always known about its bowling and this time also they possess one of the best attack in the tournament. They have Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzak at their disposal who will be  supported well by the off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi.  Pakistan had few controversies before the start of World Cup but now they forgot everything and focusing hard on the tournament. Opening pair is bit of concern for them as both their openers failed against Kenya so they have to correct it in the game against Sri Lanka. I think they must try Kamran Akmal in opening who was their regular opener few months back and move Hafeez at No.3 position.

I believe mouth-watering contest is in offer today and this match will definitely go till the last ball and that will be a treat for the cricket-lovers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Agony continues for Kiwis as Kangaroos scored emphatic victory

Kiwi minds must be full of thoughts about whats going wrong with them in last few months as they are losing series and matches like novices. Kiwis faced huge loss at the hands of Aussies at Jamtha, Nagpur. If talk about resources and talent then Kiwi team is no less to anybody in this tournament. They have class players in McCullum, Guptill, Taylor, Vettori and Southee but somehow they are losing the plot and their agony continuing. Today also top-order of Kiwis falter badly and I must say if  Vettori had not scored those valuable 40 odd runs in the end then Kiwis had been bundled out for less than 150. I think they have to believe in their abilities and play sensibly to their strengths.

Now on every match becomes crucial for them, it will  going to be a difficult task for them to come-back in the tournament because they have to face Sri Lanka and Pakistan who are very tough opposition in sub-continent conditions. Kiwis can make it to the quarter-finals somehow even if they lose to Sri Lanka and Pakistan but one or two upset happens in their group then it will become difficult for the Kiwis so its important that they win atleast 4 matches to go smoothly into the quarter-finals. Their top-order is not at all clicking and hence their bowler fails to make any impression in absence of good runs on the scoreboard, so its important that top-order get among the runs and give something to their bowlers.

Australia chased down the score of 206 in just 34 overs at the loss of 7 wickets reflects the pathetic situation of Kiwi team. I feel John Wright and Daniel Vettori have to make some changes in batting-order. I think they have to open with Ryder and Guptill and ask Brendon McCullum to bat one-down. New Zealand must play Jacob Oram in all the matches. I don't understand the reason of leaving him out today for Jamie How who is struggling with his batting at the moment. Oram also gives the option of bowling. Its important for New Zealand players to bring some smiles on the face of earth-quake victims back home by winning few matches.

As far as Australia is concerned they are playing like invincibles at the moment. They are bowling well, fielding well and today their top-order also got some runs under their belt but worry for them is the  form of captain Ricky Ponting who is clearly struggling with the bat. He has to score few runs just to set example for the fellow players. Ponting  have lost his confidence and looks completely out of sorts. I think his finger injury is worrying him too much and he does not look like the Ponting whom we know. There is no flow in his footwork and strokes. Australian team is winning at the moment so nobody is questioning about Ponting's batting but moment Australia start losing I think Ponting will become first victim of the loss if he continues to fail with the bat.

Good thing for Australia is their bowling. Lee, Tait and Johnson bowled very well today and restricted New Zealand by picking up regular wickets and bowling them out in just 45 overs. Right through this tournament their bowling is their main ammunition and doing very well for them. I think return of Brett Lee has done wonders to their bowling and under Lee's leadership all the bowlers are doing very well. At the moment Australians not giving an inch to the opposition batsmen and looks like going into the quarter-finals unbeaten. Brilliant performance today must have bolstered their confidence for coming matches.

So everything went perfect for Australia today except Ponting's batting and for Kiwis it was horrible match and they have to come out all guns blazing in their next match if they want to advance in the tournament.

Proteas open World Cup campaign with a victory over Carribeans

As South African team entered the ground, few minutes later, it presented itself in the form of Johan Botha, standing at the top of his run up, ready to open the bowling. A pitch that looked relatively flat provided Botha with sharp turn for the third ball he bowled which was quite unique. While Chris Gayle was walking back, Graeme Smith's Zimbabwean strategy of opening the bowling with spin was justified. 

Smith, who was battling a case of the sniffles, can be forgiven for forgetting the next 20 overs didn't work out for any of the South Africans bowlers. Steyn's first over was worth 11 runs, Jacques Kallis bowled two overs that went for 10 and nine, and Imran Tahir's second over was 11 as well. Darren Bravo threatened to honour the tradition of a West Indian batsman scoring a century against South Africa to cause an upset and they were settling down as comfortably as content cats on a cuddle cushion in the sun. Then came the drinks break. West Indies used it to relax and South Africa to strategise. They came back in a miserly mood. The next six overs had 27 runs scored off them and then Bravo was out lbw to Botha. Smith had been using Robin Peterson from the other end but when one wicket fell, he sensed that it was time to unleash the mystery man. It was a decision laced with risk, a decision that the South Africa of before may not even have considered. This South Africa was willing to chance it.
Tahir came back with the confidence of a man who had spent years bowling at this level and took two wickets in two overs, which could have easily been three had he held on to the second return chance that went his way. Tahir showed why his debut was more anticipated than start of the tournament itself by most South Africans, disguising the googly craftily and showing no fear in tossing it up, getting hit a bit and then reaping the rewards.Tahir bowled an initial spell of two overs and two more spells of four overs each, the wicket-taking spells. He had Peterson and Botha keeping him company at the other end, with Peterson a silent, yet vital, partner along the way. Peterson had taken the most wickets of any of the South African bowlers in the warm up games and was emerging as an unlikely striker. 
The presence of three spinners even rubbed off on Steyn, who ran through the West Indies tail with the clinical approach of a surgeon. With the wicket-taking responsibility evenly spread, Steyn could save himself for when he was needed and, as a result, "bowled quicker" at times. He was able to play a slightly different, but equally effective role. Purists would not have recognised this South African attack and, although they may be pleased with its results, they'll be happy to hear that normal service has not disappeared from Smith's mind completely. South Africa have eight days to think about what to do in their next match, against Netherlands in Mohali. Until then, they can bask in the knowledge that their captain is living up to his promise of being dynamic and affording them the luxury of variation, and that he is enjoying the unpredictability.
Indeed, a great victory for Proteas and West Indies have to pull-up their socks immediately. Windies also got handicapped because of the injury to Bravo. 

Fans, Cricket and Lathi Charge in the name of World Cup

Sad incident happened yesterday outside  Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru where thousands of fans were beaten brutally by the police just  because those fans gathered there to get the ticket of India-England ODI which will going to be played on Sunday.

We say we are democratic country but I believe we still live in British Raj. Story is the same as it was in British Raj, people were beaten in that era by British police and people are beaten in this era as well. But actually it is fault of the people that they went to Chinnaswamy Stadium in a hope to get the few tickets for the match as we Indians consider cricket as religion and players as GODS. In British Raj, ‘Indians and Dogs’ were not allowed for any big occasion or in specific places in their own country and now poor and middle-class Indians without contacts and money are not allowed. What kind of independence it is? Its ridiculous to see so many fans were lathi-charged and our administrators didn’t utter a word. It was unfortunate that fans who waited for the ticket for hours were beaten brutally like animals.

Incident becomes even more shameful, knowing that Karnataka Cricket Association is headed by one of the legends of Indian cricket in Anil Kumble. It was not expected at least from Anil Kumble, whom cricket fans adored for so many years. It was disappointing to hear from our own Javagal Srinath, that they can’t handle people and can’t give tickets to everybody. Mr. Srinath understand one thing, cricket in this country is driven by fans and if you keep fans away from the cricket than this game will die soon.  Matter also becomes more serious because even after so many fans were beaten and hospitalized, Anil Kumble didn’t came out and expressed his apologies over the incident. Shame on you Mr. Anil Kumble, you were my hero till yesterday but now you are nothing to me.
Now coming to the core issue of non-availability of tickets for the matches. ICC already expressed its disappointment over ticket distribution. ICC wrote letter to its own President and questioned his ability to manage the ticket distribution in a fair manner. This is also very shameful for the country that one of tis cabinet minister who is holding high post in World’s highest cricket governing body is questioned by its own peers.  You can understand from the fact that in cricket crazy country, only 10% to 30% tickets are available for the general public and rest of the tickets are distributed as complimentary to the politicians, bureaucrats, sponsors  and affiliate members of the respective boards. So our so called administrators deprive the general public from watching the match in the stadium because they don’t have influence to get the tickets. Moreover pricing of the ticket is also so high that common-man can’t buy it. Moreover, people who wait outside the ticket-window for hours are treated shabbily and lathi-charged as they are criminals and committed some big crime.

Sharad Pawar
Understand one thing where Sharad Pawar exists, corruption and mis-management also exist. In fact, corruption and mis-management is synonym to Mr. Pawar. Mr. Sharad Pawar has done no good to the people of this country as a minister and also as a ICC President. He always looked after his own benefits and rake in moolahs for his relatives and for himself. Food prices rise consistently under Pawar's regime and common-man is also deprived from watching the cricket and still he exists as a authority.  I believe people like Pawars and Kalmias should be punished heavily instead of common people but that will not going to happen because  India is a one such country where if you have power you can do anything. There are only 4000 tickets available for the World Cup finals in Wankede Stadium, Mumbai. Capacity of Wankhede Stadium is 32000 and for common-people only 4000 tickets are available and those are also priced heavily. So this clearly indicates that watching cricket in a stadium is only for the VVIPs and billionaires and really this is big injustice to the  common-man.

Mis-management of the tournament organizing committee also reflects in their selection of the stadiums. In Mumbai there are 3 stadiums and among all of them DY Patil stadium is having maximum seating capacity of 55000 yet Wankhede Stadium was selected for the World Cup final just because Sharad Pawar led MCA owns it, though its sitting capacity is almost half of the DY Patil Stadium. The match for which lathi-charge massacre happens yesterday was originally scheduled to be played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata which is having capacity of accommodating more than 100,000 spectators but because of BCCI’s internal politics match was awarded to the Chinnaswamy Stadium which is having sitting capacity of just 42000 and out of 42000 tickets only 8000 were available for the general public.

I believe whatever happened outside Chinnaswamy Stadium has left big blemish on the face of cricket administrators of this country and such incident was not expected atleast in the Kumble regime.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kangaroos take on KIwis and Bangla Tigers face Ireland

2 matches will be played tomorrow. First encounter will between  old neighbours Australia and New Zealand. If we talk about these two countries on the basis of form then I believe Australia will have upper-hand in this encounter and looks good to register easy win over New Zealand. In ICC ODI  Rankings, Australia is currently No.1 team and New Zealand is sitting at No.7 spot. So difference between the two teams is huge. In fact recent performances of both the teams also justify their positions as Australia coming to this tournament with comprehensive ODI series win over England at home while New Zealand lost their home-series against Pakistan. But one thing is common between both the teams, both teams have defeated their opponents in their respective opening matches. Australia defeated Zimbabwe and New Zealand defeated Kenya.

Australia looks far more dangerous than New Zealand at the moment and favourites to win the contest as they possess two deadly fast bowlers in Lee and Tait while their other bowlers in Johnson and Bollinger also bowling well and bowling with reasonable pace and accuracy. Australia is lacking in spin department as they have only Jason Krejza to survive with. If talking about Australian batting then I must say except Shane Watson none of their top batsmen are in good form. Haddin, Ponting, Clarke, Fergusson, White, David Hussey,  all struggling for runs and they are badly missing services of Mike Hussey who was their mainstay in middle-order but unfortunately out of the World Cup because of injury. But make no mistake Australia can beat any team in the world even with the half team.


Ricky Ponting(Captain), Michael Clarke(Vice-Captain), Shane Watson, Steve Smith, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Cameroon White, Brad Haddin(WK), Tim Paine(WK), Nathan Hauritz, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, John Hastings. Tim Nielsen(Coach)

New Zealand's situation is very bad at the moment. They lost last 3 ODI series in a row and looks completely out of sorts. Although they won their opening match against Kenya convincingly but that cannot hide their weak links. They are clearly struggling but good thing for them is their bowling. Southee, Bennett and Vettori makes formidable bowling attack and if their batsmen score few runs then I feel they can win any game and can advance to semis as well. Form of Ross Taylor is big worry for New Zealand. He is their star batsmen and its important that he hits the form if New Zealand have to make some impact in the tournament. At the moment Taylor is having few technical flaws against spin which he needs to rectify immediately if he wants to do well on sub-continent pitches. He has to play on front -foot and have to use his feet if he wants to hit the sub-lime form.  Overall Kiwi batting is bit dodgy and they rely heavily on Guptill and McCullum to give them good start, if both openers will give them good start then I feel Kiwis can post or chase any total.


Daniel Vettori(Captain), Hamish Bennett, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum(WK), Nathan McCullum, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Luke Woodcock, Kyle Mills. John Wright(Coach)

Another encounter will be between Bangla Tigers and minnows Ireland. Here I think Bangladesh will have upper hand because they are playing at home and nowadays they are very capable team atleast at home. They did very well in their opening match against India where they almost chased the huge Indian total. Situation will be different against Ireland and I believe Bangla spinners will not allow Ireland's batting to score too many runs. 

Bangla batting is in great form as Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes have become more than reliable openers for them in the shorter version of the format. As far as Ireland is concerned I must say they will gain good experience of playing in sub-continent but cannot win many matches but one cannot deny upsets. So important match for Bangladesh to stay in hunt for quarter-finals.

Shakib Al Hasan(Captain), Tamim Iqbal(Vice-Captain), Mushfiqur Rahim(WK), Abdur Razzak, Naeem Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Imrul Kayes, Raqibul Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Junaid Siddique, Mahmuddulah, Mohammad Ashraful, Shafiul Islam, Shahriar Nafees, Suhrawadi Shuvo. Jamie Siddons(Coach)


William Porterfield(Captain), Niall O'Brien(WK), Gary Wilson(WK), Kevin O'Brien John Mooney, Ed Joyce, Nigel Jones, Andrew White, Albert Van Der Merwe, TrentJohnston, George Dockrell, Paul Stirling, Alex Cusack, Boyd Rankin, Andre Botha. Phil Simmons(Coach)