The world cup 2007 is finally coming to an end, and for me, since ’91 this has been probably the most boring one I’ve seen. Reason one but obviously India’s ouster in the first stage. Reason two: It is too long a world cup, 6 weeks is just too long. Having not watched each and every match as I have in the previous cups this one will remain least etched in my memory.
Like 2003 Aussies look unbeatable and have not been challenged so far. I thought that SA and NZ would drive them to the wall but the two most likely teams to have upset the Aussies were decimated by them in style. It speaks a word or two in the zone the Aussies are and the way they are playing cricket. The losses to England and NZ prior to the world cup was just a lapse on their part.
I love the Aussies, always have since I started watching this game. They play this game to win. They play it in their own style and are not ruffled by what others are doing. They might lose but they do not care; they stick to their nature and more often than not it has helped them come out victorious. It is such a pleasure to watch them play because they bring nothing but smiles to your face. They have established their own brand of playing cricket and the way to defeat them is not to copy their style but etch your own style and beat them. Cause you cannot better them at their own game. Tell me who will not love the Aussies.
They do not miss the Waugh brothers, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Shane Warne. Gilchrist’s out of form performance has not affected their game even 1%, Shaun Tait is ready to take over from McGrath while Michael Clarke is already being touted as captaincy material. Mike Hussey has been relatively quiet but his performances have spoken for themselves. The team is not being arrogant by not feeling the pinch of the stars but it just shows how good their bench strength is to deliver the same results in absence of these power houses. Full credit to them and sure they deserve to win.
SL on the other hand has been the quiet performer. I did not meet one person who placed them in the finals with the Aussies before this world cup began. SA, NZ, WI and even India were being named but not the Lankan Lions. What a performance! Every single person in this team has contributed in every match. The young guns have come out and done their land proud. Jayasurya can relax and retire in peace. There is Tharanga, Chamra Silva, Dilshan Tilakratne, the ever reliable Jaywardane. The bowling has been top class. Vaas I never doubted him, and he one Lankan I’ve always loved to watch, even against India. Malinga , Mahroof and Murali make the bowling look unbeatable and the Aussies have not had a look at the SL bowlers in the league match what with Vaas, Murali & Malinga all rested. Not a bad ploy was it even if it cost them the match. Their fielding matches up to the best in the world and I see no reason why this team won’t let the Aussies sleep tight before the big day.
This world cup has been full of Déjà vu, India’s loss to SL (my earlier post), SA-AUS semi final( like in 1999), though it did not match up to the thriller like the earlier one, and now the ’96 final match-up! We just have to wait and see if history repeats again!
On a personal note though, this cup has been the most disappointing one for me. I’ve rarely failed in my predictions so far, rarely lost a bet on cricket but this time around I think I’m losing my touch! I expected India to make it atleast to the semis, did not happen. I then backed my next favourite team, the Black Caps cause they were playing some real good cricket only to see them have their bad day in the semis against the Lankans. I definitely did not want SA to win cause I don’t think it was a great cup for them and besides I do not like their current team. They seem a little short on the sportsmanship and the right spirit to play the game; the biggest culprit being Andre Nell.
SL has never been a favourite with me. They are good bunch of players but they have always irked me, and I have no reason to justify it. Aussies, though I love them, I’m now tired of seeing them win day in and out. For me this final is a Catch 22 situation where I do not want to support any team but I would not mind if either one wins. Aussies cause they deserve to, they have been awesome for the last ten years. SL cause they should win against Aussies; as the Aussies have never given them their due respect.
It’s McGrath’s and Murali-Jayasurya’s last calling; I would want the latter to answer to it first!
I’ll be watching the final today, I hope you all do. And yes do let me know whom you are supporting this time around.