Posted by: iccwc | March 15, 2007

There will be posts today…

Selfishly, my work place has stopped my direct access to blogger. Bloody Capitalists. I shall though, find time to report on my near perfect prediction regarding the Scotland game and a continued look at the smaller nations in the competition.

Posted by: iccwc | March 14, 2007

Australia v Scotland

Teams for Australia v Scotland @ St. Kitts

Oz

Gilchrist + , Hadyden, Ponting (c) , Clarke, Hodge, Hussey, Watson, Hogg, Bracken, Tait, McGrath

Scoz

Watts, Haq, Watson, Hamilton, Brown, Poonin, Smith + , Wright (c), Rogers, Blain and Hoffman

Scotland won Ze Toss, and have chosen to concede 400 runs and then attempt bravely to chase them down only to be bowled out for 80.

Posted by: iccwc | March 14, 2007

WI v Pak – Final verdict…

In the first game of the tournament we had a shock, or did we? Playing in front of a home crowd, imbued by Red Stripe and sense of celebration, those gathered to see the West Indies play roared and cheered every ball as though it might be the last they’d see.

The players one would normally rely on to score the big knocks looked pedestrian, and scraped to jittery double-figure scores. It took the man who commentators have frequently called upon to show his real cricketing self: Marlon Samuels to provide the backbone of the West Indian innings. His 63 was a cultured and sometimes brutal display of batting, laying the foundations for a respectable 241/9 by the island side.

On a pitch which offered more pace than anticipated, the score seemed eminently ‘gettable’ for the Pakistanis. Their core batsmen of Inzi, Yousuf and Younis rival any in the modern age, but on this occasion all three failed much like the West Indian trio, and this proved to be their downfall losing them for a combined total of just 82.

What was remarkable about this victory (or loss) was the way for the first time in memory, the West Indies bowled as a unit. All five bowlers took wickets, and none conceded more than 4.5 per over. They pressurised at all times, giving away little – the West Indian bowlers conceded just 17 boundaries compared to the 28 leaked by Pakistan – and this was the factor which beat the tourists into submission.

If the Windies batting fires, and the bowling remains this strong, we may find ourselves, in six months time, with the first victors on home soil. But there’s still a long way to go…

Posted by: iccwc | March 14, 2007

I wouldn’t normally post this…. but

This is definately how to catch a ball. Although I am suspicious of all American sports, this ‘chuck’ or ‘lob’ or whatever they call it to the catcher was incredible. I shall never say that again, should I die of embarassment. The catcher is called Tyrone Prothro, the chappie who fails miserably to forsee that he was going to catch a baguette shaped object on his back is called a fool.

But seriously folks, don’t try this at home, you’ll fall asleep.

Posted by: iccwc | March 13, 2007

A Seating update…

Just heard on commentary that, there’s lot’s of spectators standing here…

Is that:

a) To do with the fact that the stadium was about 0.6% ready at 9.30 am?
b) It’s an unbelievable game, unparalleled in modern cricketing history?
c) It’s so hot that people are turning their bottoms into ribeye steaks by sitting down?
d) They are in fact sitting down, but Jonathan Agnew has seen a new breed of people?

If you answered anything other than a) you are to go to Hove in the middle of winter, have an outdoor net with Graham Gooch in the pouring rain and not kill yourself.

Posted by: iccwc | March 13, 2007

West Indies Summary

In the end, the WI, not the God fearing women from middle England, but the Caribbean Cricket team, got a hugely average 241, thanks in no small part to some lusty middle and lower order pinch hitting.

Marlon Samuels broke free of the shackles that have restrained him in the early part of his career, and crafted a delicious 63 off just 70 balls including 3 enormous sixes. Accompanying him on his journey were Ramnaresh Sarwan and Lara who got 49 and 37 respectively.

The Islanders though, never got into full flow on the Sabina Park pitch which offered more pace than many had speculated it might, where a par score looked to be 280+.

For all the West Indian Failings, there were moments for the Jamaican crowd to cheer, including some bazooka-like hitting from Bravo and Smith, and Corey Collymore hitting ‘the greatest shot ever by a number eleven’ out of the stadium on the very last ball of the innings to give the score an air of respectability at 241-9.

Pakistan’s bowlers did well to contain the West Indian attack, especially in the middle part of the game where Lara and Samuels were cutting loose. Iftikhar Anjum was worthy of individual note in taking 3/44 off his full allocation but his performance was simply a part of a fine team effort by Pakistan. It was all nearly ruined with some odd fielding, most humorously by Danish Kaneria who, when offering a return catch to the Pakistan ‘keeper Kamran Akmal lobbed it straight over his head for four.

What is notable about the game so far is that we’ve had crowd noise, boundaries, and some fun. If it continues in this fashion, the World Cup will certainly be one to remember.

Oh, Jerome Taylor has already got 1/13… I’m not going to say I told you so yet…

Posted by: iccwc | March 13, 2007

A brief update on the WI v Pakistan…

  • Gayle gone without troubling the scorers much in the third over for two…
  • Sarwan first four in the fourth over… 9/1
  • Windies reach their 50 without further trouble… Chanderpaul 16, Sarwan 30 (15th over)
  • Chanderpaul out in the 20th over to a snorter from Anjum who’s been excellent this morning. 64/2
  • Samuels in with Sarwan
  • Sarwan out! Anjum again, this fella is bowling with some spirit, although the West Indian Batsmen have certainly been helping the bowlers here at ‘New’ Sabina Park. One short of his fifty. 77/3, 24th over.
  • Not quite the last hope for the Indies, but the great man is in to bat. No, not Alex Tudor – It’s Brian Lara.
  • Kaneria and Anjum keeing things neat and tidy, giving away little at the end of the 20’s…
  • Lara and Samuels playing excellent cricket at the end of the 35th over – upping the pace with some HUGE hitting from both men. Each has cleared the fence and the boundary is starting to take a bashing. Run Rate up – classic finish in prospect… 138/3 15 overs to go

As we speak the seats are still being installed into Sabina Park following a dispute with the seating contractors a week before the start of the World Cup. I see worrying parallels with the Wembley Stadium debacle and what’ll probably happen with the London 2012 Olympic bid. Stay tuned for news as and when I get it.
Posted by: iccwc | March 12, 2007

Preview: WI v Pakistan, Sabina Park

One of Cricket’s truly memorable stadia, Sabina Park has been host to centuries, controversy and cacophanous noise over the years it has been a test match host. The old Sabina Park though, is no more. The advent of the ICC World Cup has brought about drastic changes to the stadium that was host to Sobers’ test match batting record. It is now renovated and truly ready to host cricket at the highest level.

Some believe the tinkering (seating has been bumped up by 5,000) will ruin the deafening and mind-boggling atmosphere once found there, but those who believe it will be a chastening experience for the ground are outnumbered by those, including me, who are saying ‘about bloody time’.

On more than one occasion the ground has been under great suspicion for providing pitches which more resembled martian surfaces than grass, and recently England’s game with the West Indies was abandoned because of danger to life and limb. But what will the two teams face when they arrive for the game on tuesday?

The West Indies, regardless of their triumphant opening ceremony, could not come into this game on a lower note. Demolished by India in the recent warm-up games, and rumours of money frustrations still abound, it is going to take something heroic from their ageing Captain to mould this team into something resembling professionals.

With age and talent on his (left-hand) side, Chris Gayle ought to be the performer of the tournament. Brutal but languid power, coupled with an eagle-eye for the ball and some laconic but accurate bowling, means Gayle is the proverbial man for all seasons. The current regulations, although no doubt they will change probably mid-over, play right into the Jamaican’s gloves. With the field set in for the first ten overs, he is in a position to play a game within a game, much like Sri Lanka did in 1996.

Gayle cannot carry a team all by himself, and the senior and frankly, superior, players around him must mentally turn up at Sabina if they’re to stand any chance of winning. Sarwan, Lara and Chanderpaul have vast experience of the world game and all average 40+ in the shortened version of the game, there is no excuse for these men to fail on home soil. If they can’t do it in the West Indies, it might be time to make wholesale changes.

Key man: Jerome Taylor

Frightening speed and hitherto unharnessed accuracy could mean that on a good day, he can give his team mates the chance to get an early bath.

Although I have dismissed the chances of the West Indies, because they are a team lacking in direction at least they haven’t got a couple of disgraceful drug cheats ruining the party for everyone else.

The media melee surrounding Asif and Akhtar means that Pakistan are going to be guaranteed a multimedis scrum whereever they set foot, and it must, for the players, be impossible to ignore.

Their case is an example of the total lack of communication and correlation between the confederate cricketing nations and their overseer, the ICC. One moment they are not banned, then banned for life, and then it is reduced and increased incrementally, and finally they are not playing because they conveniently have injuries, most probably to their egos. The ICC members should have stood up off their Saville Row-ed backsides and done something about it before the World Cup started, because to still have the row rumbling on, is for me, showing a great deal of disrespect to the host nations.

Problems aside though and Pakistan have to be seen as one of the top four teams in the competition. With the established ‘golden tripod’ of Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis, Pakistan have a central core to rival Australia. Kamran Akmal is emerging as a huge talent in the game, and Danish Kaneria’s hybrid leg-spin/impish pest routine has accounted for the best in the world.

As long as Politics doesn’t spill into the dressing room, Pakistan will surely be a force to be reckoned with this year, and will hope for a repeat of their 1991 success.

Winner: Pakistan by either 80 runs or 5 wickets.

Here is a link:

http://blogs.cricinfo.com/wc_monitor/archives/2007/03/the_opening_ceremony.php

To Andrew Miller’s potted history of last night’s events. The fact that he uses the word ‘Jerk Chicken’ makes it worth the read.

But it is very good and he covers everything that happened.

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