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Posts Tagged ‘Wayne Parnell’

And so India finished their Super-Eight campaign with an unblemished slate. Three games, three defeats, and the most dismal defence of a title since Sri Lanka were sent packing from the 1999 World Cup, also in England. As for South Africa, eliminated on home soil by the Indians two years ago despite losing just one game, they go into the semi-finals with a perfect record, just like Sri Lanka. Pakistan and West Indies will need to play out of their skins to deny them.
India’s self-destruction at Trent Bridge was almost comical, though the fans who had flocked to the ground despite the meaninglessness of the fixture certainly weren’t amused. From 47 for 0 at the end of the Power Play to 64 for 4 after the next six represented a very steep decline, and when Yusuf Pathan then lofted one tamely to short cover, the end was nigh. The two Singhs, Yuvraj and Harbhajan, tried to go down swinging, but there wasn’t much conviction in the effort.
South Africa’s spinners were exceptional, with Johan Botha taking 3 for 16, and Roelof ven der Merwe finishing with 1 for 13. They were tidy and aggressive, and backed up by typically brilliant fielding. And they could still call on Dale Steyn at the end to finish the job. With Wayne Parnell and the Morkel brothers also part of the pack, and Jacques Kallis due to come back, South Africa will take some stopping.
India bowled far better than they had in previous games, with the spinners choking the life out of South Africa. Like the Indians, South Africa had also made a frantic start, taking 44 from the first five overs. The next eight produced just 27, and the eventual total of 130 owed much to the dazzling skills of AB de Villiers, who struck the ball so cleanly and cleverly during the course of a 51-ball 63.
Once again though, Dhoni did something to raise the odd eyebrow. Having bowled spin for 14 overs on the trot, he opted to give the final over to Zaheer Khan, whose opening burst had once again been disappointing. He went for 11 runs, and India ended up losing by 12. More ammunition for the critics.
Having been embarrassed by the bouncing ball at Lord’s, India’s batsmen were terrible against the turning one as well. Rather than knocking the ball around for singles, too many of them went for the Bollywood stroke, while Dhoni’s charge down the pitch and subsequent run-out will feature in blooper shows for some time to come.
In the weeks to come, many will pinpoint the IPL, fatigue and a million other reasons for this Indian debacle. Ultimately though, the players didn’t appear hungry enough. The way Parnell ran across to deep cover to stop a lofted drive from Rohit was symbolic of how seriously South Africa took this, and it’s no coincidence that they have now won seven T20 games in a row. The IPL may revolutionise the Twenty20 game, but for the moment, it seems to have benefited the foreign contingent as much as the Indians.
Officials can bang a gong all they like about the country’s financial might, but just as the Premiership has taken England no closer to football World Cup glory, the IPL will never be a magic fix for Indian cricket’s problems. Global events are won by the teams that want it badly enough. India weren’t one of them.

And so India finished their Super-Eight campaign with an unblemished slate. Three games, three defeats, and the most dismal defence of a title since Sri Lanka were sent packing from the 1999 World Cup, also in England. As for South Africa, eliminated on home soil by the Indians two years ago despite losing just one game, they go into the semi-finals with a perfect record, just like Sri Lanka. Pakistan and West Indies will need to play out of their skins to deny them.

India’s self-destruction at Trent Bridge was almost comical, though the fans who had flocked to the ground despite the meaninglessness of the fixture certainly weren’t amused. From 47 for 0 at the end of the Power Play to 64 for 4 after the next six represented a very steep decline, and when Yusuf Pathan then lofted one tamely to short cover, the end was nigh. The two Singhs, Yuvraj and Harbhajan, tried to go down swinging, but there wasn’t much conviction in the effort. (more…)

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Like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, the Pakistan cricket team’s behaviour is impossible to predict. Against England and Sri Lanka, they were horrid, especially with the bat, but against the Netherlands they were good. Today, at The Oval against fancied New Zealand, they were very good indeed. Barring another unimaginable Irish upset though, it’s safe to say that Pakistani fans can start looking at semi-final tickets.
This was as clinical a performance as anyone could have hoped for. And it should have surprised no one that the catalyst for it was a rebel. Abdul Razzaq hasn’t played for Pakistan since throwing in his lot with the Indian Cricket League and it was only injuries to Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat that saw him being called up after he had torn up the ICL contract. A decade ago, Razzaq was a young star as Pakistan went all the way to a World Cup final against Australia. These days, he bowls about 10km/hr slower, but his cleverness was a big factor in a superb bowling performance after Mohammad Aamer had started the innings poorly. Razzaq had Brendon McCullum caught at point off his fourth delivery and he bowled a maiden on his way to figures of 2 for 17.
With an experienced hand ensuring that the new ball wasn’t wasted, Umar Gul was in his element with the older ball. New Zealand’s middle and lower order had no answer whatsoever to wicked reverse-swung yorkers as they went from 73 for 4 to 99 all out. Gul’s contribution was 5 for 6 from  three overs, and he was twice on a hat-trick. In faraway Kolkata, some would no doubt have wondered how much different the Knight Riders’ IPL campaign might have been if one of the world’s best T20 bowlers had been involved.
Statistically, it was the best spell ever in a T20 international, and it gave Pakistan much leeway in the net run-rate stake in a group that might not be as straightforward as some people think. But for some slipshod batting – horrid, to go back to the poem – the margin of victory should have been even more emphatic.
You could have said the same for South Africa earlier in the day. With Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs batting as though they were having a net, a total in excess of 200 seemed possible. But Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor bowled superbly in the final stages to keep the vaunted middle order in check. A target of 184 might have been surpassed had Chris Gayle and a couple of others got going. But apart from an exceptional innings from Lendl Simmons [77 from 50 balls], only two West Indians got to double figures, and neither went past 20. Like the girl with the curl, West Indies too deal in extremes.
Credit to South Africa though. Dale Steyn was fast and accurate and Roelof van der Merwe is a bruiser trapped in a spin bowler’s body. And they have a star in the making in Wayne Parnell. One of the best performers at the Under-19 World Cup last year, Parnell has made the transition to senior level without too many hitches, and today he finished with 4 for 13. The semi-finals loom large now, and the main challenge for the South Africans will be to avoid the mental glitches that have stymied them in big tournaments ever since they returned from isolation. The quality of their players and the form-guide both make them big favourites, but things are seldom so simple in a World Cup. Just ask Pakistan, who go from 0 to 60, and from 60 to 0 so rapidly that it can make the head spin.

Like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, the Pakistan cricket team’s behaviour is impossible to predict. Against England and Sri Lanka, they were horrid, especially with the bat, but against the Netherlands they were good. Today, at The Oval against fancied New Zealand, they were very good indeed. Barring another unimaginable Irish upset, it’s safe to say that Pakistani fans can start looking at semi-final tickets.

This was as clinical a performance as anyone could have hoped for. And it should have surprised no one that the catalyst for it was a rebel. Abdul Razzaq hasn’t played for Pakistan since throwing in his lot with the Indian Cricket League and it was only injuries to Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat that saw him being called up after he had torn up his ICL contract. A decade ago, Razzaq was a young star as Pakistan went all the way to a World Cup final against Australia. These days, he bowls about 10km/hr slower, but his cleverness was a big factor in a superb bowling performance after Mohammad Aamer had started the innings poorly. Razzaq had Brendon McCullum caught at point off his fourth delivery and he bowled a maiden on his way to figures of 2 for 17.

With an experienced hand ensuring that the new ball wasn’t wasted, Umar Gul was in his element with the older ball. (more…)

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