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Posts Tagged ‘West Indies’

At a press conference in New Delhi to unveil the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy, we were repeatedly told that the tournament, with 15 matches being played over a fortnight, would showcase the “best of the best”. Like Mr Rumsfeld and his mythical WMD, if you tell a lie enough times, you can convince yourself that it’s the truth. Fortunately, cricket has statistics to separate fact from fiction.

So, England and West Indies belong on the highest echelon, do they? Since January 2008, England have won 12 of 36 matches. Australia stand on the threshold of a 7-0 series sweep, and India beat them with embarrassing ease 10 months ago. Without Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, it would be charitable to call them even a second-rate side.

Where does that leave West Indies, who couldn’t even beat England? (more…)

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The Indians fans that had come early to Lord’s whooped it up in the early part of the afternoon, as Pakistan stumbled badly in pursuit of a modest Sri Lankan total. But any Pakistani supporters that stayed back for the later game soon got their chance for payback as West Indies produced a high-class performance to push India toward the abyss. Lendl Simmons took a mind-boggling catch to dismiss Gautam Gambhir and then batted beautifully for 44, but it was Dwayne Bravo that took the game away, following up 4 for 38 with a dazzling 36-ball 66.

At one stage, the required rate was climbing up to 10, but Bravo cut loose with some gorgeous orthodox strokes, targetting the straight boundary and cover with equal fluency. India lost it in two overs, with Ishant Sharma giving up 16 and Harbhajan 15 in the 17th and 18th overs of the innings. India had done well to take the game that far, but ultimately they paid the price for the poorest of starts. Having slumped to 29 for 3, they were then marooned in treacle for eight overs as the bowlers frustrated Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. Dhoni’s 11 spanned 23 balls, and it was left to Yuvraj to inject some urgency with some stunning shots in the final overs.

Yusuf Pathan chipped in as well, but you always sensed that they were 10 or 15 short. (more…)

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England upset on the opening day, and now Australia annihilated on the second. Ian Bishop predictably asked Ricky Ponting afterwards if Andrew Symonds had been missed, but there’s little he or anyone else could have done with Chris Gayle in the sort of mood that he was in. When Gayle bats like that, the best place for a bowler to be is injured or ill in the dressing room. Though the West Indies didn’t field particularly well, the early breakthroughs from Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards meant that even the explosive David Warner had to take his time to rebuild the innings. It took Australia 12 overs to get to 83. West Indies, by contrast, got there by the end of the Power Play. Andre Fletcher got things going, but once Gayle found his groove, not even the roads outside The Oval were safe.
Given that West Indies won with 25 balls to spare, Australia now need a mathematical miracle to qualify. Even if they win against Sri Lanka on Monday, they’d need to do so emphatically to undo the damage done by Gayle and Fletcher. Australia haven’t quite cracked the Twenty20 format yet, and this was another example of it. Ponting may have evaded the Symonds question with a smile and a glib comment, but if his team goes out on Monday night, the last might be heard somewhere in the Queensland bush.

England upset on the opening day, and now Australia annihilated on the second. Ian Bishop predictably asked Ricky Ponting afterwards if Andrew Symonds had been missed, but there’s little he or anyone else could have done with Chris Gayle in the sort of mood that he was in. When Gayle bats like that, the best place for a bowler to be is injured or ill in the dressing room. Though the West Indies didn’t field particularly well, the early breakthroughs from Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards meant that even the explosive David Warner had to take his time to rebuild the innings. It took Australia 12 overs to get to 83. West Indies, by contrast, got there by the end of the Power Play. Andre Fletcher got things going, but once Gayle found his groove, not even the roads outside The Oval were safe.

Given that West Indies won with 25 balls to spare, Australia now need a mathematical miracle to qualify. Even if they win against Sri Lanka on Monday, they’d need to do so emphatically to undo the damage done by Gayle and Fletcher. Australia haven’t quite cracked the Twenty20 format yet, and this was another example of it. Ponting may have evaded the Symonds question with a smile and a glib comment, but if his team goes out on Monday night, the last laugh might be heard somewhere in the Queensland bush.

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