World T20 Day 10
AUS - SL [scorecard]
WI - IND [scorecard]
Theoretically I could just post another yolk-yellow scorecard, this time the result is even more crushing, but maybe it is time for some words of praise now. Alongside India, Sri Lanka is the team I respect most in this tournament, simply because they are so annoying to play against. They squeeze the air out of you and you have to scamper and nurdle your way to 120 somehow, if you are lucky. Australia got to feel that tight grip right away, the complete top order -5 batsmen- got snipered for a total of 39 runs. Compare this to the B'desh match, where they managed at least 50+, which was shocking enough.
But what happened then surprised even the most optimistic Oz supporters: the ever-reliable Muss and, hear hear, everybody's favourite Victorian bear boy Cam White stepped up like the total step-uppers. I didn't believe my eyes. Especially Cam, who hadn't really had the most successful of all tournaments so far, fired from all tubes and bludgeoned the Lankan attack for 85 from 49. Hussey made sure that the duct to the tail remained plugged and heaved a handful of mighty ones as well. After the last ball of this innings had been bowled, SL groaned in pain realising that in order to win they had to climb a yellow mountain of 169.
The Australian bowlers put some weighty arguments against this plan onto the table. First they caused some frown of worry as they failed to apply early cuts within the first two overs, but when Nannes began to read the tale of "Knuppel uit de zak" with sonorous voice a spectacular Sri Lankan collapse followed and ended only when SL had been clubbed into the dressing room for 87 in the 17th over. Nannes started his killing spree by removing the utterly dangerous Jayawardene, Taito took skipper Sangakkara and handed the whip back to Nannes who continued by spanking the butt of Jayasuriya. SL had collected 16 runs by then.
Dilshan attempted to re-vitalise his career, but got hammered back into his hole by a searing Mitch and the mother of all rippers executed by Cameron White, who by taking this stunner put the cherry on top of his creamy batting performance. Mitch had tasted blood, Mathews burnt his fingers on the flaming spearhead of the Australian attack. Hilariously skipper Clarke couldn't leave his hands off the ball again (naughty pup will not drop, loves ball too much), bowled an over for 2 (!) and took the scalp of the accursed Malinga! And so they kept falling one after another, until Mitch finished Dirk's tale with the words "and they walked happily ever after".
Steven Smith: 4 overs, 12 runs/econ 3.00, 1 maiden, 2 wickets, 2 catches
I cannot, and don't want to, stop harping on how much of a prospect this guy is. His talent is brizzling around him like electric charge, you can touch it with your hands and go brzzzzt ouch. No matter whether with the ball, in the field or with the bat (check his first class stats again), the boy delivers. Australia needs to watch carefully over these precious, omnipotent fingers; they will pay the faith back twice and thrice.
But there is something about Oz I still find worrying: on the one hand it is positive that any batter will chip in with a rescuing performance on his day, on the other hand Oz don't have these reliable constants such as Kies, Morgan or KP in the English team. Hussey the old fox is the only one who can be relied on. I know it depends on the circumstances such as wicket, toss, opposing attack and the extent to which the single players are suited to handle these. But I would really like a bit more consistency here.
However, Oz have been the "Ohhhh and ahhhhhh" team at this stage of the tournament and will stride onward so God loves the good ones ^^
In the first match of the day India were read the sermon by hosting skipper Chris Gayle, who dramatically fell short of a century when he got run out on 98, home by miles but with the tip of his bat bobbing up into the air. Bugger! Nevertheless the effort of the Windian one-man-army, who also accounted for the key wicket of Suresh Raina, was enough to compensate the 17 extras produced by the Windie bowlers -in particular Kemar Roach, who seemed totally off track at one stage of the match- and the Windies surfed to victory on a cool nice wave.
Group F looks utterly interesting, all of the teams could still make it depending on the outcome of tomorrow's matches and the net run rates. [points table]