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Archive for the ‘World Cup 2007’ Category

No words. Just awe!

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Anil Kumble’s retirement from one day international cricket was expected and will serve Indian cricket well, since it will help extend his Test match career. He has not been the first choice spinner in the shorter version of the game for quite some time now. Ganguly and Dravid have shown an inclination towards Harbhajan Singh over Kumble and there was no point in him continuing. With all due respect, Kumble was just a shadow of the one day bowler, who tormented batsmen within the first 15 overs as well as at the death, post his return from the rotator cuff injury. His contribution with the bat was minimum and fielding was never his claim to fame.

But the fact remains that he is the best spinner the country has ever produced. What makes him the best is that, unlike the prolific quartet of Chandra, Venkat, Bedi and Prasanna, he never had a quality spinner to partner him at the other end. He had to deliver every time he stepped into the field, and he has managed to accomplish it more times than not. He has run through opposition more frequently and won more matches for the team in Tests, but his contribution in coloured clothing should not be overshadowed by his achievements in whites.

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4 runs required from 32 balls, 5 wickets in hand. Should have been a cruise for South Africa. Lasith Malinga had other ideas.

44.5 Malinga to Pollock, OUT, BINGO! Finally Malinga strikes, that is a superb bit of bowling. It’s a slower ball on the stumps, Pollock just does not pick it, plays inside the line of the ball and loses his leg stump. Even with the game all but gone Sri Lanka are fighting. Pollock played a good hand but now he’s gone!
SM Pollock b Malinga 13 (23m 24b 1×4 0x6) SR: 54.16
44.6 Malinga to Hall, OUT, ANOTHER! Andrew Hall goes off the very first ball! It’s another speared-in yorker, Hall just about manages to dig it out, but he can’t keep the ball down … it bobs up into the air for the man at cover to pouch easily! Is there a twise left in this game
AJ Hall c Tharanga b Malinga 0 (2m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Over number 45 – Chaminda Vass concedes just 1 run.

3 runs required from 24 balls. Malinga reloaded!

46.1 Malinga to Kallis, OUT, Would you believe it? Malinga has got the hat-trick! Full, furious, outside off stump, Kallis goes for a square-drive and nicks it behind. Loud appeal. Kallis stays rooted. Even louder appeal and Harper raises the fatal finger. SA eight down and choking real badly.
JH Kallis c wicket-keeperSangakkara b Malinga 86 (187m 110b 4×4 0x6) SR: 78.18
46.2 Malinga to Ntini, OUT, And then they were one! Malinga gets four in four. Unbelievable! Screaming yorker and Ntini drives, plays all over it and ball crashes into the middle stump. Malinga is slinging down magic deliveries and SA are nine down.
M Ntini b Malinga 0 (2m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00
46.3 Malinga to Langeveldt, no run, beaten Just kissed past the off stump. Tremendous nerves out there. Full and just outside off, yorker-length, Langeveldt pokes at it and gets beaten
46.4 Malinga to Langeveldt, no run, full, straight, on the off stump, pushed to mid-off. 3 to win from 20 balls. Camera pans to South Africa dressing room. They look stunned
46.5 Malinga to Langeveldt, 1 run, Jayasuriya mis-fields at squareleg and SA sneak in one run. SLower one, on the middle and leg, turned to behind square. Jayasuriya moves to his right but misfields.
46.6 Malinga to Peterson, no run, beauty, another delivery that teases the outside edge. Full and tailing

2 runs required from 18 balls. Over number 47 – Vaas bowls a maiden over (in cricketing parlance).

2 runs required from 12 balls. 1 wicket in hand. It Malinga again.

48.1 Malinga to Peterson, no run, Swing and a miss. What a cracking game this has been. Full and just outside off stump, slants away, he has a drive, but inside the line and the ball rushes past the outside edge.
48.2 Malinga to Peterson, FOUR, Peterson does it for SA with a edge past the slip. Fullish, outside off stump, Peterson drives, gets a outside edge and it runs down to third man boundary. SA have won. They nearly choked but have pulled it off. Peterson jumps in the air, pumps his fist and then smashes the stumps down at the other end. Immediately apologises! What a cracker of a game!

This is what the beauty of the game is all about – the glorious uncertainties, as they call it.

Youtube video of Malinga taking 4 wickets in as many balls is available here. Not sure how long it will be there, considering ICC’s endeavour to “protect” the commercial broadcast rights . It is a must watch, if you missed the game live.

Commentary Courtesy: Cricinfo

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He scored 37 runs off 32 balls. The calm at the crease, the unhurried manner in which he walked around, 3 huge sixes, a pull shot of the second ball he faced, nudges to the offside for singles – all were so typical of him. Then he tried to smash one more over the rope, but did not get it out of the middle of the bat. As the ball soared high and Sean Williams, one of Zimbabwe’s better fielders got underneath it, millions of ardent followers of the game around the globe would have uttered a silent prayer for Williams to drop the catch. But it was not to be, and it was time to say goodbye to Inzamam-ul-haq. The members of the Pakistan team were there to salute their captain, arguably the greatest batsman to grace the turf for Pakistan in coloured clothing. Understandably, Inzamam was in tears. So were many of his fans, whom he has entertained so well for the past 15 years. The 60 off 37 deliveries against New Zealand in the 1992 World Cup and the century against India in 2004-05, chasing an improbable 350 to win, will be remembered forever.

The developments over the last couple of weeks have taken a toll on Inzy, and it reached a point in which he could take it no more. The shocking loss to Ireland and the huge outcry back home were bad enough for any captain to handle. The death of Bob Woolmer perhaps, was the last straw and led him to take the decision of quitting One day international cricket. He will continue to represent his country in Tests. But knowing the fickle nature of cricket in Pakistan, one can only hope, wait and watch.

Inzy – Thanks for all the cricketing memories.

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After Inzamam, now it is the turn of the selectors and the PCB chairman to put forward their resignations. Things did not shape up the same way four years ago post Pakistan’s 2003 WC debacle. A lesson learnt perhaps! Knowing the stability, or the lack of it in the cricket administration on the other side of the border, expect more of the unexpected.

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… India managed to register their first win in the World cup, thought they would have liked to run through Bermuda a bit quicker. But overall, a performance to take confidence from and now the Ind-SL match should make for interesting viewing.

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Half done

Irony! A pitch termed as a batting paradise produced 191 runs against Bangladesh. Today a pitch termed as tricky with cracks and overcast conditions produced 413 runs, a World Cup record.

A more than satisfactory batting display by the Indians. The job is only half done though. If they manage to bundle Bermuda out for less than 150, then it will put them on a ground which cannot be termed as solid, but a lot firmer than where they were post their defeat at the hands of Bangladesh.

Cricket, more often is a game played between the ears, as the Indians have shown so far today. They have come up with a desperate batting performance when pushed into a corner. Hope that they continue in the same vein in the coming games…

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