England won cliffhanger against Proteas.
There was lot of talk about England's loss to Ireland prior to this match and cricket pundits written-off England completely and announce that England will go home this time without reaching even quarter-finals. These words also got the support from the England's batting against Proteas at Chennai where Proteas bowled out England for only 171 after English captain Strauss won the toss and elected to bat on a rank turner against the side which was heavily loaded with spinners. Writing was on the wall for England when Smith and Amla given solid start to the Proteas innings and at one stage Proteas were 63 for 0 but in came transformation and suddenly game started changing and given some belief to the Englishmen of winning this game when they cleaned skipper Smith. Englishmen capitalize on this big breakthrough and soon picked up wickets of Amla and Kallis who were playing well till that time and victory was just looking very near for the Proteas.
Once Amla and Kallis got out middle-order of Proteas collapsed badly and from 124 for 3 Proteas reached 124 for 6 in a space of few overs and once again Proteas firmly confirmed their chokers tag. Steyn and Wan Vyk tried hard to get Proteas out of the difficult situation but English bowlers and fielders were too good in the field, kept the pressure, picked up wickets when it mattered the most and had a last laugh after the match. Pitch was turning left-right-center and Englishmen utilized the conditions better than the Africans and pull off the cliffhanger and left Proteas in a disarray. A contest which started in a dull manner gripped the spectators in the second-half and provided thrilling entertainment to the cricket lovers. England won it by 6 runs in the 49th over. Who says one-day cricket is boring? It was a match which you want to watch again and again if you are true cricket lover.
England have to work hard on their batting skills. They have to find out ways and means to play on turning tracks and against the spinners if they want to advance further in the tournament and have to learn quickly because they will get the similar pitches and conditions everywhere in the sub-continent. Kevin Pietersen is out of the World Cup and this is big blow to the English side and they have to find out suitable replacement. If Eoin Morgan is fit then they have to include him in the squad.
For Proteas, result from this match is unexpected and they were favourites to win this contest but once again they choked under pressure and lost it from the position of strength. Lot of work ahead for the Smith and Co. Form of Jacques Kallis with the bat is big worry for them and Kallis have to come good in the next match which is against India if Proteas wants to make a mark in the tournament. Before this match they looked unbeatable but match against England changed it all for them and its good that they lost the match so early in the tournament. Now they can analyse their mistakes and will sort out all the problems. I think this match was big eye-opener for them. The are the most balanced side in this World Cup and expected to go through the later stages of the tournament but they have to come out of the mental problem of choking under pressure which is associated with them since their re-entry in the International Cricket.
India tame Ireland
Big hype, lot of drama, superb performance by minnows and under-pressure Indian batting was the ingredients of this match but in the end India won it without much hiccups. This match lived upto its hype and Irish team spread lot of jitters in the Indian batting line-up after getting out for 207. Irish team bowled well and fielded well and provided tough fight to the Indians on a pitch which was having something in it for the bowlers. Irish supporters once again got something to cheer about.
Dhoni won the toss and against all expectations, he decided to field first, a decision which was forced after Irish batting performance against England. Irish team lost its 2 wicket quite early and Zaheer Khan once again became nemesis of top-order batsmen as he picked 2 quick wickets up-front. But captain Porterfield and Niall O'Brien stopped the wickets fall and build record partnership for the 3rd wicket and provided solidity to the Irish innings but once Niall O'Brien got out wickets fell at regular intervals and finally Irish team got all-out for just 207 runs a score which looked like piece of cake for the so-called best batting line-up in the world. Irish hero of the last match, Kevin O' Brien failed to do any damage in this match and go out cheaply. Yuvraj Singh ended with career best bowling figures of 5-31 which is a record in World Cup for any left-arm spinner. The problem Team India to sort out is the collapse of top-order in slightly testing conditions which was evident in this match.
Indian innings started with a disaster as Sehwag and Gambhir got out cheaply and given some hopes tot Irish team. Irish team bowled well and reduced Team India to 100-4 which included big wicket of 'CRICKET GOD' Sachin Tendulkar and created lot of excitement in the match. Here on captain Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh started playing sensibly and stopped the further damage by building good partnership. This partnership steadied the Indian innings but once again this match witnessed the twist when Dhoni got out and India still needed 41 runs to win from 10 overs. Irish created some panic in Indian camp with the wicket of Dhoni but in came Pathan who massacred the Dockrell by hitting him all over the park and made the run chase easy for Team India. Pathan made 30 valuable runs and Yuvraj Singh ended with brilliant half-century and sealed the Indian victory quite easily after all the drama. I think Dhoni have to think about Piyush Chawla after this match as he failed to deliver on a pitch which suited the spinners. This was second consecutive match where Chawla given more than 8 runs an over and failed to pick-up single wicket on a pitch which provided 5 wickets to the non-regular left-arm spin bowler like Yuvraj Singh.
Team India must be feeling like out of jail after this match and I must appreciate the Irish team's performance, they fought hard and spread the jitters in the Indian camp I feel ICC must make Ireland regular cricketing nation allow them to play atleast ODIs and T20s after their performance in this World Cup. This will definitely help in the growth of Irish cricket. Irish team can improve a lot if they get to play International cricket regularly against the big teams.
So Super-Sunday of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 lived upto the expectations of cricket lovers and provided lot of entertainment and excitement.