Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties a saying so well-known it’s almost cliché to use it now! But time and again this saying is proved right and this time the little minnows were the ones who proved it right. I can bet my life not one cricket fan would’ve predicted Pakistan’s ouster in the first round, not one die-hard Indian fan would’ve expected defeat in the first match against Bangladesh and not even the Bangladeshi supporters would’ve expected their team to beat two big guns back to back. NZ in the warm up and India in the first match of the opening round!!! No one and if someone tells me he or she did they are lying through the roof!!!
Pakistan’s ouster was a shocker and I’m yet to recover from it. No WC is good without an India –Pak tie and yes I wanted to see my team keep their WC record intact of being unbeatable against Pak. It was definitely not their best side that they have fielded for the cup and Asif-Shoaib would’ve made hell of a difference. But to be not able to get past Ireland was tough to digest. As much as the batsmen should be blamed for the loss I must give it to Ireland for pulling an incredible performance in both the matches. No one thought they would win but as of now they are leading their group table! First the tie against Zim and then a victory against Pak. They sure have the made the entire cricketing world sit up and take notice of them. And honestly I was seeing the highlights I liked that guy Neil O’ Brien. He single-handedly tackled the Pak attack with confidence. Good footwork and solid shots. They sure have a long way to go but this man did make mark!
Australia, SL and SA started off in pompous style much to our expectations and Gibbs’s sixes against Netherlands sure brought a smile to my face. It’s not against the best cricketing nation but a record is a record and with so many non-test playing nations involved these will come abound. But what the heck savour it! It does not come often and whether against top class or bottom class teams six 6s in six consecutive balls is no mean feat; proven by the fact that it is the first time in international cricket. Sobers and Shastri hold the record in first-class fixtures, so give the guy some due
I loved the way WI won. They were really struggling but having seen them hit 230 odd from 3 an over in the 20th over, I told my husband that it seems a good total to defend on a slow pitch and I’m glad they proved me right. Pakistan can only blame themselves for both the losses.
And coming to my dear team India, I felt like a fool when people asked about our chances and I proudly said yes I see them in the final four. I would still like to stand by it. Considering our record against SL in the recent past, I actually feel we can win. As for the match against Bangladesh, the lesser said the better. The batting is clearly a problem and as much as Sehwag has got a century as I’m writing this article I still feel he will struggle against the better attacks! The batsmen got to get their act right and yes if someone is near the team can you please pass on a message to our bowler that an offside- middle stump line exists when you bowl. They only seemed to see the leg-stump! How they miss the basics often really surprises me.
The only positive so far is Saurav Ganguly. I so wanted to write since his comeback that his batting and attitude has been refreshing. That is exactly what I wanted of him and a little late but it has come at the best time. He is old self and seems to enjoy his batting. He is relaxed, his feet are moving well and he is confident. There is no clutter in his head and things are clear. Batting like a dream, now only if he would continue throughout the innings and not give it up the way he did against Bangladesh.
While on India, ‘Inconsistency is Thy Name’, as my husband always puts it! Bowled out under 200 against minnows now they thrash Bermuda to get a WC record of highest runs in an innings! It is possible only with us in back to back matches!
The latest match has been halted by rain as I write this. Why am I not surprised? One, because rain gods have never favoured us, and second, we did bring it upon ourselves to this situation. So if this is a washout with no reserve day in place India will bid goodbye to the WC and then I’m left wondering for commercial reasons this WC will be in a soup! No Pakistan, no India it’s not a good thing for the WC organisers!
But Tendulkar entertained, and so did Yuvraj, but sending Dhoni and him ahead of Sachin. Not done, simply not done because the little master is in a good nick! Sometimes I feel we leave our brains behind in experimenting unnecessary things. Too much of anything is not good and India better realise that sooner than later!
Apart from the all of the above the most rude shock of the WC, Bob Woolmer’s Death. A fine, fine coach and I was completely aghast at the news. That it came one day after Pak’s ouster leaves me wondering if the pressure and stress got to him. The cricket world will miss him; the teams will miss him the most. He had so much to offer to the game in him. May his soul rest in peace.