29 November 2010

Redbacks wow, Aussies owww


Peter George of the Redbacks  (c) Getty Images
Tasmanian Tigers v South Australia Redbacks (Sheffield Shield)

Who'd have thunk it!  
They didn't only bounce back from 55 all out but on the last day they took the remaining 5 wickets for just 33 runs and won comfortably by 43 runs!! It is especially pleasing to see that Krejza didn't finish unbeaten.

Heroes of the match: Peter George with 4-65 and 5-28 (LOL), Vic Import No.1 Rob Cassell with 5 scalps, Vic Import No.2 Aiden Blizzard with 113, Dan frickn Christian with 93 incl. 11 fours and 5 sixes, Graham Manou with 77.  

"George finished with 5 for 28 and took nine wickets for the match, continuing his love affair with Bellerive Oval, where in the corresponding game last year he collected 11 for the match," writes Cricinfo.

I still can't believe they've won the match of shame this comfortably. Klinger must have spoken some very angry (or sweet) words after the first Redbacks innings. Something like "Dudes, seriously, WTF!!!" or "Frog cakes for every 50!" Well it helped!

Press conferences (audio):  Peter George (Day 1), Dan frickn Christian (Day 3), Michael Klinger (Day 4)

Yes and I also think the gap between Callum Ferguson and the Test team is widening...

Oh yes the Test team!!! Arghhhh!

Ashes Test 1 Day 5
[scorecard]

Les Poms Du Mal:

Trott, Cook, Strauss, Satan, Rat Plague, Cholera, Cat Poo, Old Fish (c) Getty Images


Click to watch Batty, Church,
Linley discuss the 1st Test
and preview Adelaide
Punter has already announced that Dougie Bollinger and Ryan Harris have been added to the squad. Surrey's Gareth Batty thinks Mitch shouldn't get chopped in a panic reaction. Gareth Batty is generally interesting to listen to. Tim Linley has a bit of a giggle fit and Mark Church should definitely be on TV very often.

The two additions to the squad also mean that North will play yet another Test. They probably bank on his spin (= undroppability), seeing that the Xman didn't have a lot of impact, but I hope he'll come good in Adelaide, Swann is expected to do better as well.

Personally I would rest Clarke, simply because the guy needs a break, his injury seems to hamper him to a large extent. But I reckon he will hobble across the field in Adelaide again.

I also see strong parallels between Andrew Strauss and Graeme Smith. Both are SAF-born, not overly imaginative cricket captains, who open the batting in a muscular fashion and are, more or less currently, thriving in foreign conditions. Ergo, Strauss is a bos tardis as well, q.e.d. and moo!

Quote of the day:
Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special about Mitchell Johnson: "I wouldn't let him hold a baby!"


Cheers,
Wes

28 November 2010

Alright, sucks.

Ashes Test 1 Day 4

[scorecard]

Gahhhhhhh. Oz have classically given it away here. And fielding like the English will not help either.

The chant is now "drop Mitch", well the chant has been that since the match started. Today I have heard a very interesting opinion from Australia: lose this series painfully so that the selectors realise that they have to clean out the stables. "Old and crap" were the words used for the players, even Clarke. It also included the suggestion that rather the newbs should get battered and gather experience than the olds stalling the trek any longer.

Aiden fukn Blizzard.   (c) Getty Images
However. Ferguson failed again in both innings of the current Shield match. Just to put this into perspective: Dan frickn Christian made 93, Graham Manou made 77 and Aiden Blizzard even got another ton; he is currently hogging a first class average of 56.33. No joke. Still funny.

Let me quickly elaborate on this, the Redbacks were bowled out for an absolutely unacceptable 55 in their first innings, were made follow on and put 416 on the board. Sorry for the offtopic, couldn't leave this unmentioned.

I am not aware of Khawaja's faring in the NSW game. Ah I just looked up... 17. Umm. Who else was in the contention? Hughes. Battered the WA openers, then got out in the 40s. I still think that my George Bailey idea is rather good... but his average isn't. Well it's better than Fergs' 35.69 (compare ODIs 46.07), of who I think he isn't ready yet.

Bowling-wise... phewww. With North being the only one to pick up a wicket it leaves you really without any clues. Harris would be handy, he and Klint are doing well in the VIC-QLD clash. Not sure if Mitch will ever be good again. There are useful fast bowlers in a few state teams, I think Trent Copeland (avg. 17.46 albeit from eight matches only) and Luke Butterworth (avg. 26.10) perhaps range in this category and could provide a bit of Tremlett sparkle, but fork knows if they can handle playing Tests. But the next in line is probably Bolly anyway, should be fit soon again.

Now, what's the plan: Strauss declares with a lead of 100 and Australia will try not to get out for 25.  With Katich and Clarke injured, and Punter and North ditto, just minus the injuries, that could be a stiff task.

The next Test will take place in Adelaide and I have no clue how they are supposed to take wickets there if they can't take any in Brisbane. 


Too tired to think,
Wes

27 November 2010

Stupid Hussey

Ashes Test 1 Day 3

[scorecard]

Hussey (195)
Needn't discuss that, too stupid to make five runs, wasted everybody's time, should've dropped him a year ago, North (1) at least had the spine to march back right away.

Haddin (136)
Well I reckon you can't expect a big score from the Klutz.


How to fix the bowling if Mitch keeps spraying about:

Mitch out, Bolly in.
Rishabh argued that this method would leave a hole in the lower batting order. Don't worry Rish. Putting O'Keefe in for Doherty should solve the problem twice and thrice. No offence X, I know you're gonna take wickets.

Here's Rishabh's cricket blog: The Adventures Of Billy The Worm


Well well. Been showing too many Surrey videos as of late so here's a Middlesex one, Steven Finn speaks after his 6fer:



Cheers,
Wes

26 November 2010

The Huss at the end of the tunnel & Tim Linley Pt. 2

Ashes Test 1 Day 2
[scorecard]

Collapso Crapso - Punter, Clarke, North (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)
And now the good Muss has started to play the matchsaving innings of his life. Good luck Muss, I want 150 from you, and I know you can do it :)

Oh yeah Swann has sucked backside so far LOL. Will spare you and myself any comments about Herr Finn or they'll hang me for high treason again.

And now... attention ladies and gentlemen... tadaaaaaa...:

Tim Linley's Book Club chapter 2! Coelho's Alchemist! This time I actually caught myself applauding and cheering my head off throughout the whole video, the guy is just priceless, his boundless enthusiasm grants him such a christmassy aura, I might actually start reading again... well not really (damn you internet) but yeah you know what I mean. Go Tim, give it to us!





Cheerio!
Wes

25 November 2010

Siddle happily mawing away

Ashes Test 1 Day 1
[scorecard]

Peter Siddle speaking about his hat-trick... and his birthday... and Xavier Doherty!



Sorry I don't have time for more... But happy Pete makes up for that I think!

Cheers,
Wes

24 November 2010

The Ashes, or: Total Monkeyfication

It started a couple of weeks ago. Some people changed their user pictures on certain websites. Lovely peeps began to speak in tongues of which you would have never suspected them. The level of aggression on both sides of the planet has since been rising continuously.

While England have trampled their way through the warm-up games, left a trail of destruction behind (Peter George... ) and are leaning back with a smug grin on their faces, the Australian nerves lie out in the open for everybody to jump around on them. If you reap hissed comments about your obviously doubtful allegiance because you dare mourn the omission of the Rug, and to top it all off your Aussie flag only covers a part of your avatar, then you know that Oz are concerned, very concerned.

The tension is increasing, friends become foes, the entire subcontinent suffers a relapse of the Stockholm Syndrome and starts to chant "Cookie... Cooookieeeeee..." deliriously, you catch yourself thinking bad things, the bad things you have been thinking of Ian Bell get even worse, and if you have ever felt any affection for one of the opponent's players you now wish that he catches a virus, his fiancée gets bingled in the shower, or anything else that would keep him out of the action.

Eventually, the Ashes turn everybody into monkeys. The most cultivated Englishmen climb up the palm tree and get their coconuts ready, the Australians are already sitting on the opposite tree, impatiently waiting to hurl their brown rock-hard missiles at the Pomheads, and generally everybody un-evolves into furry prehistoric mammals.


Well, there is still a vacant spot for me in the branches... 

Asheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!


Wes

23 November 2010

New Kids On The Blog!

Soon, soon my friends! It hasn't started yet! Thus I would like to use the remaining time to introduce some new cricket blogs to you that caught my eye in the last weeks.


Let's start with Clear Cricket.

The website is a collaborative work by Josh Taylor (Hants And What Not) and Subash Jayaraman (The Cricket Couch), who invited more than a dozen cricket writers to publish articles on this platform and thus create a pool of cricket-related opinions for anyone who can't get bothered to read 100 trivial blogs (like this one) each day and who wants concentrated, well-founded views on all thinkable aspects of the beautiful game.


Let me quote their "About" section:
We’re about putting forward honest, non-regulated and at times brutally critical opinions, delivered straight from full time cricket lovers. Frustrated with the watered down, predictable content written by journalists and ex players, Clear Cricket sets out to find the true voice of the cricket fan.
Big words for a big goal, and they are on a good way to achieving it, head over and see for yourself!



Masuud Qazi, our bubbling fountain of Pak joy, has finally started his own blog! Those of you who know Masuud will have a certain idea of what awaits them, and all others will find out soon :D No seriously, he is a very well-spoken blogger.

The name of the blog is Bloody Cricket; it is actually way longer but everybody just calls it Bloody Cricket so I'll stick to that. Masuud takes no prisoners, always speaks his mind. You want his opinion? You'll get it. He has also contributed an epic eulogy on Younis Khan at Clear Cricket already.

So if you feel like dancing to some chin music, check out Bloody Cricket!



Next up we have The Randwick End, a new Aussie blog written by Dragonpunk, who some of you may know as a regular contributor to Ian's Baggy Green Blog. Dragonpunk is a passionate New South Wales Blues supporter and contrary to what his nickname might imply he's a really kind bloke ;)

You may expect increased posting activities on his blog during the Ashes, so keep an eye on it!



Last but not least there is a new Glamorgan blog out, it is called | turnandbounce | and run by Pete Hayman.

Pete has taken up blogging again after a longish break, the current turmoil at the Glamorgan CCC inspired him to write down some very clear views on the respective events and naturally I support his stance in particular in terms of a certain chubby, formerly South Australian batsman.

I hope Pete continues the good work, he's definitely one to keep on the radar!


You can find these blogs and authors on the common social networks:

Twitter:

Clear Cricket Josh Taylor Subash Jayaraman
Masuud Qazi
Dragonpunk The Baggy Green Blog
Pete Hayman


Facebook:

Clear Cricket (page) Clear Cricket (profile) The Cricket Couch
Masuud Qazi


That's it for today!

Onward my little steed, towards regaining the Ashes! :P

Cheers,
Wes

20 November 2010

NM Hauritz b Doherty 0

[Shield scorecards] [Australia A v England XI scorecard] [cricinfo squad announcement]

What annoys me is the common notion that Doherty was solely put in as a left-armer to remove KP. Jesus Christ, KP is not the navel of the world, especially not in his current form. There are 20 wickets to take and if they play a left-arm spinner they do it because there lie chances in this strategy. Ritz has not only looked suboptimal in India, which I am not even considering here, and which many people attribute to Ponting's captaincy, but also in the home matches so far, where he was not playing under Ponting, but for NSW.

Ritz: engulfed by the Australian Spinners Maelstrom
Doherty on the other hand has had a good recent past at Tassie and has looked significantly better in the last domestic matches than Ritz, who is also horribly low on confidence at the moment, the latest blow being his dropped catch in the NSW-Tassie Shield match, which directly led to NSW's defeat.

In the three Shield matches played so far Doherty has taken 11 wickets at 2.39 at an average of 27.45. Ritz only managed 4 wickets at 38.75 from the same number of matches, econ 3.69; that includes a 3-wicket haul, which means that he only took 1 wicket in 5 innings. Compared to Doherty's 126 overs Ritz only bowled 42, which is pretty telling in terms of the faith Captain Kat puts in him.

I am not from the Subcontinent, but if I were I would say that Punter and Kat knew Ritz would get axed and thus Kat felt no need to bowl Ritz into form and relied more on his seamers in order to increase NSW's chances, while at Tassie Doherty got a decent ride out to run himself warm.

Okay okay... at the Gabba Ritz took 1-7 from just two overs simply because the seamers had cleaned up QLD within 2 days. Not only this result but also the bowling figures in the recent QLD-SA match, in which the captains entirely decided against the use of spinners (Chris Swan 13 wickets, Rob Cassell 7, Gary Putland 5), lead me to my other theory: what can't be excluded is that Doherty only got added as a token spinner and they'll go in with four quicks, relying on North, Katich, and Clarke to spin it if needed.

Furthermore it might have played a role that new kids usually grab a bag of wickets on debut, the examples are legion. Both Doherty and O'Keefe did so in their maiden Oz matches. So over all I can understand the selectors here; if you compare the general figures given above, and also the current levels of confidence, it makes sense to put Doherty in.

However:  I still have Ritz' good Oz summer of 2009/10 in mind and also his decent performance in the last Ashes, and would hence probably not have axed him.

And if I had I'd have added Steve O'Keefe. Yes he is the most massive of my bandwagons, but his performance in the A-team match versus a full strength English batting line-up and an excellent seam attack made me slide out in my own drool every five minutes. I've already lauded his enthusingly stubborn 66 in a previous post, but now add to that 4 wickets at 22 apiece and the scalp of bloody KP. Yes if you really want to go for a KP bonus you should pick O'Keefe for increased snake v rabbit effect. Besides he always performed greatly in the A-side (does anyone remember his 7-35 and 108 runs against Sri Lanka A?) and one would actually assume that he must be a prime target of every selector's attention. Doherty can't offer such credentials.

Phil Hughes quite obviously picked the wrong sport. Somebody should tell him.
(c) AP
Also Keef batted well enough in the second innings to enable Cam White to get a century and Oz to avoid an innings defeat and that also gives him a batting average of 46.5 for this match hehe. Yes I rate him in pretty much every aspect. Open your minds, give in to your hearts, I know you want it!

Right, apart from Cam White's good looking century I'd like to mention Phil Hughes equally attractive 81, imho at least Cam White has to be put on the list of possible future Test players, and little Hughesless needs to perform like this more frequently, because after the Ashes, at the latest after the World Cup, we will hopefully see a bit of fresh blood in the side.

That was a long text about some short work.


Cheers,
Wes

18 November 2010

The Three Little Tims

Tim #1
Tim Linley reviews André Agassi's autobiography.
Tim is one of these little things I like can tolerate about Surrey...
Didn't know, though, that he's such a cheesecake hehe!



Tim #2
Tim Southee speaks ahead of the, ahead of the, third Test between India and New Zealand.
He's quite a bit, quite a bit, excited, hmm?



Tim #3
Tim Paine & 300 other Aussie players guess the name of the first Australian Prime Minister.
The usual suspects take the biscuit, each one in his very own way (Mitch LOL).
But of course certain others are among the knowers B)



Cheers,
Wes

17 November 2010

Oh Steve

Australia A v England XI
New South Wales Blues v Tasmanian Tigers
Victorian Bushrangers v Western Warriors

Ponting (7), Hussey (0 off 18), North (17), Watson (6), Katich (1), Haddin (10), Khawaja (13), Ferguson (7),
White (5), Hughes (2)

Steven Smith (56)
Steve O'Keefe (66)

I rest my case.

No, not yet.

Legsmith and SoK reach their fifties  (c) Getty Images
God they were so awesome. Most of you probably know how it feels when you put all your faith in one player and there is no chance, not in this life or the next, that you would ever apostatise, you just know that he is going to cut it, and then he grabs his chance with both hands and feet and doesn't let go, as if to reward your faith and your trust. It made me cringe to hear how the entire babble machinery, in particular the Australian legation, knew bugger all about O'Keefe's batting talent and was completely caught by surprise.

SoK batted very sensibly, presented his broad range of skills from masterfully catapulting Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar into the stands and beyond, to lightning-quick running between the wickets, and kept the tailenders alive, so that he could accomplish his task. Earlier on he had shared a wonderful partnership with the Legsmith, who keeps proving his class with the bat time and time again; I needn't tell you what an entertaining batsman Smithy is, nearly all of his shots give you a reason to cheer your head off and you catch yourself worshipping and jubilating... rejoice! For the Legsmith shall not disappoint! Lovely gutsy and able player. These two, and a beautifully stubborn donkey innings by the good Tim Paine, saved Australia from complete humiliation.

Of course I hope he and Legsmith will be in the wickets tonight, he has already caught Strauss. It might be that the English smash them around a bit but who cares... the point has already been proven. These two noodleheads have easily outscored any other so-called specialist batsmen in "The 17", in fact, SoK scored more runs than all of them combined. And oh yeah I nearly forgot to mention that Mitchell "Sachin" Johnson is on 82 not out with his bud Adam Voges (91*) partnering him for parallel tons tomorrow, if all goes well.

Take that, Hildy of Evil!
I would like to sincerely apologise to everyone who saw this post coming. You have to admit that it is justified!

But! Chris Tremlett took four. I bet none of you saw me lauding this! The gentle ex-Hampser should feel confirmed and encouraged; after a great season with coughcoughsurreycoughcough it is pretty cool to see him getting his job done so impressively. Go Chris, flower and prosper! As long as you don't cost Oz any matches.

Cheers,
Wes

16 November 2010

A brilliant plan for Cossy's county future!

Currently recovering from the shock that Mark Cosgrove has basically been kicked in the arse by Glamorgan, as they decided to pouch Alviro Petersen as their overseas player next season and thussishly also kicked Jamie Dalrymple in the backside stripping him of the leadership. Now Cossy could only play for Glam in the T20... Ahhh frick this!

The grapevine rumours that he might be in friendly talks with either Yorkshire or Derbyshire... Derby would be borderline already, but I'd probably put them on the radar then. BUT!!! The mere idea of him exposing his soft lucky belly to Yorks makes me bring up my last meal again!

Mark Cosgrove during the CC match of  Glamorgan v Worcestershire at Colwyn Bay, August 2010,  (c) EyeJay/ The Steel Daffodil


So because of this, and before it's too late, I will now present to you my idea of the century, if not millennium:

Cosgrove for Hampshire!!!

Yeah you are allowed to call me Einstein, I came up with this all on my own! Slug looks like jilting Hamps anyway, and I can't see them sign Dan frickn Christian / Hughesless again for next season; and although Middlesex haven't signed an overseas player yet I think he doesn't quite fit into the London bunch... and, Jesus, Cossy all wrapped in pink.... shudder... I will not even start imagining the banter!

The Hamps kit on the other hand would suit him excellently; the fans like a funny, confident but mighty and capable player like Corker for instance, and if you think of a Cosgrove/Adams partnership to open the long format games you will drool yourself to death, I won't even start raving about the T20 now. The rest gets all pushed one slot down the order if necessary, and Hampshire's CC-title is safe! :D

*bows down* *waves benevolently into the crowd*
Thank you, thank you.


Wes

15 November 2010

Cosgrove not in preliminary Ashes squad

First-class average: 43.84  (c) Getty Images
After kickstarting Tassie's Shield campaign with an imperious 159 against the Melbuns and thereby leading the side to victory, and then outscoring Punter twice in a row by a significant margin in a Shield match Tasmania lost because of Punter in the side, I must seriously wonder why our favourite chubster is still ignored in the selection of a squad that even features Pup's pup.

Perhaps the first sunbeams after an extraordinarily long Australian winter have scorched important parts of Hildy's thinking apparatus. In fact this is the only explanation I can come up with. However, Hilditch's ignorance only strengthens me in my faith because the rule of thumb is if you don't get selected you are too good for it.

More proof required? There are two other players who would definitely have deserved the honourable mention as well:

Little red riding hood aka Aaron O'Brien, the gem from SA, who I would rate South Australia's most valuable player at the moment, and of course Steve "SlaSoK" O'Keefe, the current Formula 1 car among my personal bandwagons. If they pick Doherty for his left-arm spin they might as well put O'Keefe in the squad. I think the fate which the selectors have thought up for him is to play in the A-side until his retirement. But I have calmed down now from the mental rage that nearly choked me last night. Hopefully Steve will do well in the A-side this week, it's a very stiff task.

The A-squad:
(no Cosgrove here either mind you) George Bailey (c), Ed Cowan, Peter Forrest, Peter George, Moises Henriques, Ben Hilfenhaus, Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger, Andrew McDonald (vc), Stephen O’Keefe, James Pattinson, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade

In the context of the match between Australia A and the England XI I would last but not least like to recommend a great read I stumbled upon last night, The Reverse Sweep has taken a very illuminating look at the pitch of Bellerive Oval in Hobart and enriches his insights with a bit of trivia, get informed!


Cheers,
Wes

12 November 2010

Déjà vu for Germany - ICC WCL 8 - Day 5 - Final

ICC World Cricket League Div. 8


Day 5

Final - Kuwait v Germany:

What a pity. Just like in the Euro Div 2 earlier this year the hosts proved too strong for everybody else. Germany won the toss and batted but I was completely wrong last night, Kuwait's pacers kept it tight but it were the left-arm spinner and the offie who cost us our wickets, Azmatullah Nazeer with three wickets and Saud Qamar with five! However, Murad bowled at 2.50 but our boys didn't seem to dislike the pace and negotiated it better than the spin. Both openers, Milan Fernando and André Leslie, went past 30 and Rana-Javed Iqbal made 25, apart from that almost everybody contributed a trickle and we achieved a total of 163. Seems very low but we have defended less at this ground, 128 for instance in the opening game.

Mixed feelings in the German camp but the skipper (back row centre) is proud!  (c) ICC

But in these successful defences Ehsan didn't go at 20.50 :( No, this is no criticism of my favourite left-arm-quick. Not at all. I think he was in a crazy situation of having to bowl at batsmen that are used to express left-arm pace and they just smashed him around. The problem is that these 41 runs that came from his two overs probably cost us a proper contest. It's not his fault! He has done us proud on so many occasions and he will do it again. Heads up big boy, you have taken us to the final and thereby to Div 7! :)

In the chase three Kuwaiti wickets fell before Kuwait had reached the hundred, among these were the important scalps of Irfan Bhatti and Hisham Mirza, but also the second opener Abid Chaudhry got removed, however, Kuwait had already raced to 96 then. Skipper Asif Khan bowled Kashif Haider and Shakeel Hassan out, he probably assumed this was our only chance to take more wickets. Kashif, who had accounted for Bhatti and Mirza, also dismissed the fourth Kuwaiti, keeper Mohammad Akhudzada, before he finished his last over with figures of 3-38. Ahh Kash...

Thomas!!!  (c) ICC
Shakeel tightened the screws with an economy of 2.50 and felled Chaudhry, but my impression was the Kuwaitis could just afford to sit out the spinners and wait for sunshine because they were under no pressure. So our two best men were bowled out at 111-4... Tarun Rawat and Milan Fernando continued the bowling decently but the Kuwaitis just leaned back and milked them as they didn't have to take any risks, and they had probably learnt their lesson from their collapse against Zambia yesterday.

Big congratulations to the Kuwaiti team, they have played on a different level and truly deserve to lift the trophy! But don't feel too safe my friends from the desert... we shall meet again, soon, very soon!:D

Ah well... we are going to Botswana! Yayyy I am so proud of the boys, their hard work is rewarded with all these fantastic trips around the world and going to Africa will certainly be one of the greatest journeys for the majority of them. They will encounter the Kuwaitis again but the cards are gonna be reshuffled, as the desert warriors will play on foreign soil just like everybody else.

Our good Asif Khan summarises:
"I think our spinners really troubled the teams here in Kuwait and it's unfortunate we've not managed to win today but to know we're heading to Botswana is a great feeling. The side has worked extremely hard to get here and the qualification is even more special as this whole tournament we played on turf wickets, of which we have none in Germany."

Thanks Germs for this fantastic experience, we have moved a big step forward!
We will certainly improve further and I'm already looking forward to Div 7 next year! :D

The list of the WCL Div 7 participants looks as follows:
1st and 2nd of Div 8 2010 - that's us, Kuwait and Germany,
5th (Botswana) and 6th (Norway) of Div 6 2009,
3rd (Nigeria) and 4th (Japan) of Div 7 2009

I can't say a lot about these teams except that Japan are strong and we have already beaten Norway this year.
The African teams will turn up no doubt.


Small Final - Zambia v Vanuatu:

Fruity fresh towards WCL 8 2012!
The Vanuatuans prior to their match against Zambia (c) ICC
Wow what a great contest, it seems like the best match was saved for last! Zambia chose to bat and accumulated an imposing total of 272 runs. Opener Allan Nsensha made 82, and the fourth of the Patels, Imran, added a half ton, skipper Samit (Patel No. 3) contributed 42.

To be honest I was secretly hoping Vanuatu would win this, the Zambians were in our group and are tough and elegant fighters, but Trevor Langa's blog (see below) has totally turned me around, there is no shame in confessing this, he is a bloody great ambassador for Vanuatuan cricket. Also the funny wooden figurine they gave us at the toss of our clash and the bright smile of skipper Mansale might have played a role hehe.

However, the Vans didn't lose too many wickets but it came down to a T20 finish, 19 runs needed from the last three overs. Vanuatu started to hammer it!!! After 48.1 it was all over, what a wonderful match to conclude the tournament! Skipper Andrew Mansale made a big fat 131 not out, and was assisted by Jonathon Dunn (not a typo) with 63. Vanuatu very worthily retain their spot in Division 8, congratulations to the lemon-lime-coloured island folks!


The ever (ever ever ever ever ever ever)-smiling
André Leslie during his warm-up routine  (c) ICC
Here is a summary of the blogs that have been published at Cricinfo, they are absolutely worth looking at, great insights into the German and Vanuatuan camp:

André Leslie (Ger): Group Stage 1 | Group Stage 2 | Semifinal | Final

Trevor Langa (Van): Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Semifinal | Small Final


Crossover matches:

Gibraltar got thrashed by Suriname. Gahh gahh gahh. I don't want to talk about it. The only team they could beat was pitiful Bhutan. And they had to labour hard for this victory. They must go home now and lick their wounds of this summer and reassess a couple of things in their line-up I think. Perhaps also if their key players return they can arise from the ashes stronger. But the way it looks now they are completely down at the ground and need to regroup their forces. I certainly wish them all the best!

In the second match Bhutan bowled the Bahamas out within 35.3 overs and took all available balls to chase the total of 167! What a bizarre game. So at least none of the teams that took part in this tournament returns home without a single win.

~~~

So that was the ICC WCL Div 8 in Kuwait, what a great adventure. The teams depart tomorrow but I will already say good bye - mentally of course - today. It's been a fantastic ride and I am really happy about the way it went for us.

The Germs are going home now to the land of    and
Bring some sand and heat with you from Kuwait will you! :D


Cheers guys, I'm out of here,
Wes

11 November 2010

Ascension Day! ICC WCL 8 - Day 4 - Semifinals

ICC World Cricket League Div. 8


Day 4 - Semifinals

Semifinal Germany v Vanuatu:
Farooq working on his MOTM  (c) ICC
Yes we did it!! It was easier than I had thought. For the first time in this tournament Germany won the toss and what might have looked like a bad omen considering all the victories after the lost tosses so far turned out to be a comfortable win in the end. We batted first and I wasn't sure if 185 would be enough but Vanuatu never really got a foot in the door, our bowlers removed them one by one. Kashif was in the wickets again with four scalps this time and I was secretly hoping he'd get his fiver but four isn't bad either! Ehsan and Shakeel with two each and Rana with one. Fantastic. Our bowlers really make me grin like stupid, time and time again.

Batting-wise we've seen an impressive 79 from Farooq Ahmed, our good old warhorse, pardon, seasoned allrounder; I was already missing him a little in this tournament but he turned up in time, well done! None of the others made it past 20, I hope they'll be back in the runs in the final.

Yes the final! Tomorrow shall be the day of doom for us then, as Kuwait expectedly beat the Zambians.

What's even more important: We are playing in Division 7 now! With the big boys, you know. Hehe. I think the Germans deserve this richly, in my opinion we played even better than in the Euro Div 2, given the conditions were completely foreign to most of the players we cannot appreciate their efforts enough! No matter what happens tomorrow I think we can be very proud of our team and we have achieved a bit more than we expected, which is always very encouraging.

Skipper Asif Khan says: "It feels fantastic to know we’ll be travelling to Botswana next year for Division 7. To have won every game so far in this tournament is brilliant and I hope tomorrow we can round off a great week with a win over Kuwait to make it a clean sweep. Vanuatu tested us today and credit must got to Farooq Ahmed who stood up to the strong bowling attack to make 79. While I must also mention another fine performance by Kashif Haider who made sure we dismissed Vanuatu for 93 and claimed victory."

Andrew Mansale and Asif Khan exchanged gifts at the toss (c) ICC


Semifinal Kuwait v Zambia:
(Gallery not up yet)
Well perhaps I didn't expect the Zambians to win, but 63 all out after 29 ov is disappointing, but it highlights what bulldozers the Kuwaitis are. I have to say, though, I don't really get how Kuwait managed to lose seven (seven!) wickets in their chase and thereby almost threw the match. They eventually finished with 143 balls to spare.

Vanuatu and Zambia will now fight for rank 3 in order to retain their spot in the next WCL 8.


Crossover matches:

Bhutan v Gibraltar:
Gibraltar have won their first match of the tournament and it's their first victory in a long time. Admittedly I had expected a more comfortable win, since Bhutan got skittled by Kuwait for 31, while Gibraltar let Bhutan come quite close to their total of 279. Alright 233 isn't *that* close but I had expected them to win by a larger margin. It seemed like the bowling couldn't really penetrate again, however, in the end they took all ten Bhutanese wickets. Mark Bacarese top-scored with 62, followed by Kieron Ferrary with 56 and Ross Harkins with 51, this is how a scorecard should look. Mark was also in the wickets again with three scalps, he and Ferrary are imho definitely two guys Gibraltar will build on in the future. I will spare you any extended whimpering today, there comes a point when you accept the truth, and hopefully the Gibraltarians can quickly forget about this year and are looking forward, because this is where their future lies.

Bahamas v Suriname:
Our group mates the Bahamas got defeated by Suriname, how wrong I was after the first match, but it's better to pay too much respect than too little. Bahamas skipper Gregory Taylor impressed again, but his top-score of 78 wasn't enough to lead his team to victory. Narendra Ekanayake shone for them with the ball.

~~~

Final preview:
It is high time for us to look at the strengths in the Kuwaiti line-up. The drubbings they inflicted on their opponents do not allow for a real in-depth look, as most of the matches were over quickly. However, there is one guy that belts the goodness out of every batsman, his name is Mohammad Murad. His bowling style is defined as "left-arm fast". Not medium fast or slow fast but fast. Ouch. At only 20 years of age he has been Kuwait's main weapon throughout the whole tournament and we will have to survive his ten overs somehow to have a chance. The second dangerman in the Kuwaiti attack is Murad's partner Saad Khalid, a right arm pacer. He has taken clumps of wickets as well. On the batting front the two openers protrude from the rest of the line-up, Irfan Bhatti, whose name rings a bell for some reason, and skipper Hisham Mirza. Perhaps if we can remove them early that would increase our chances significantly, especially in the light of Kuwait's implosion today.

I think the main strength of the German team lies in the well-balanced attack. Cricinfo praised the batting and I agree that in every matches someone turns up and makes runs, but I think the bowlers have bailed us out on numerous occasions and provide the highest degree of consistency. We have a left-arm/right-arm pace combination and very efficient and effective offspin and legspin bowlers, this balance enables us to react to different kinds of challenges. We lack an express pacer like Mohammad Murad, but so far it hasn't harmed us. Our allrounders are all able to come on at any given time and take a wicket.

So the main challenge will be to somehow make it through the opening overs and fend their pacers off. I can't say how experienced our openers are concerning fast-fast bowling, but at the European level we play I don't think there are a lot of bowlers that reach 140, 145 kph or more. We'll just have to see what happens. Hopefully we can keep our heads over water and won't get drubbed, and even if they keep us down to a low total perhaps our bowlers can work some of their magic. We shall see. The only certain thing is that I will die, this or that way.


Go the Germs!!!!!


Cheers,
Wes

9 November 2010

The German Legsaw Massacre: ICC WCL 8 - Day 3

ICC World Cricket League Div. 8


Day 3

Germany v Bahamas:
Kashif Haider.
Extreme lack of Kashif Haider photos, so here's Ehsan
bowling with a German headband on. (c) ICC
I am speechless. And so are the Bahamas. They dealt well with all other bowlers but were totally (i.e. completely and entirely) done in by the legspin. Kashif shone with utmost tidy figures in the first match as well, and now he reaps the fruit of his work with a huge and I mean huge bucket of wickets. Germany had been struggling to make inroads before he came on, the Bahamas negotiated the pace well and when they were already past 80 Rishi Pillai was the only one who could take a wicket, but then the legmaster from Lahore came on.

Here is the fall of his first seven wickets, which came all consecutively:
3-111 (21.1 ov), 4-117 (23.1 ov), 5-117 (23.4 ov), 6-123 (25.2 ov), 7-128 (27.2 ov), 8-134 (27.5 ov), then the 17-year old Bahamas kid Jermaine Adderley had a go at him and got a few boundaries in, which "messed" Haider's figures up as he couldn't go at below 3 anymore. But the skipper brought offie Shakeel back on (my second choice... I would have switched to left arm pace at first but I'm biased) and Adderley went back to the dressing room. The last man was then taken out by Kashif again, who finished with 8-25 at 3.00. Sensational stuff from the Punjabi, who plays for the Bochum CC in Germany. Bahamas all out for 152 after 31.2 overs.

The Bahamas had won the toss and decided to field, on the batting front Rishi Pillai grabbed the laurel once again with 51, skipper Asif and Milan Fernando made 40 odd each, the others contributed enough to give us a defendable total of 258. I would say these three are our keys in the batting line-up. Dilshan Rajudeen had been dropped for the experienced André Leslie, hmm I think that was inevitable. It's a real pity; he would perhaps have taken a bit more time to settle in but it's hard to find your feet when you are chucked into such a pressure cooker right away.

Very well fought, boys! I had thought we would maybe have a chance against the smaller teams but leaving the group stage with 3/3 is pretty amazing. I really like how our top order has fared so far and on the bowling front there is always something fantastic happening. I think the spot in the semis is well-deserved and hopefully we won't do a "Redbacks" now and choke one step before the final, after racing through the group stage with burning wheels. Thursday will show!

Additional material:
I've only just discovered that someone writes in-depth match reports directly from the German camp, they are not signed but perhaps it's the coach or some other staff member, so if you want to re-live the matches here are the reports for match 1 v Zambia, match 2 v Gibraltar and match 3 the Kashi story. Edit, I think the reports are written by Dr. Brian Fell, the chairman of Cricket Germany.

And here is André Leslie's first blog about the tournament, published at "Beyond The Test World", the Cricinfo section for blogs about the minor teams. André describes his feelings and the atmosphere in the camp after the first two victories. Edit, he has now released his second blog, it's about the Kashif match of course, must read, I found it really funny :D

They've updated the photos with the most important pic of the day! Kashif Haider with his MOTM trophy :)  (c) ICC


Gibraltar v Zambia...
...well what shall I say. Last chance saloon. GIB chose to field at Hubara Ground, that was the pitch on which we successfully but narrowly defended 128 batting first against the same opponent. So Gibraltar might have thought fielding would give them a chance, but they couldn't prevent Zambia from racing to 286, which, I think, again exposed their weakness in the bowling department. So there was no way they would inflict such a drubbing on Zambia that they still would have a chance to make the semis. Their batsmen batted cautiously but lost too many wickets right away, the target moved into unreachable distance.

Just like in the previous match, when skipper Christian Rocca played a lone hand, it was Kieron Ferrary this time with a century, but no aid from the others. Offie Mark Bacarese was the best Gibraltarian bowler while on the Zambian side right-arm quick Gladson Kandela continued his good form from the previous match. So Gibraltar are winless after the group stage and finish bottom of the table. 

In English: they lose their spot in WCL Div 8, and as they have also finished last in the Euro Div 2 this year they will first have to play a decider against the winner of Div 3, which will take place in October next year, to retain their spot in Div 2 in 2012, and then from there they must try to be the best Div 2 team out of those that are not playing in WCL 8 or higher already, in order to qualify for WCL 8 again (no guarantee for this info but I think this is how it works, we qualified in the same way this year). A very hard and rocky road lies ahead of the Gibraltarians and I hope they can resume their change of generations with some success and we can see them back in two years, but if they lose the play-off against the Euro Div 3 winner then, ah well, I don't know :(

Zimbabwe, Germany, Redbacks, Highveld Lions, Gibraltar: the good boys wear red.  (c) ICC


Group A:
As expected Vanuatu beat Suriname comfortably [ICC gallery] and are thus finishing second after Kuwait, who inflicted an absolute shock defeat upon the poor pitiful Bhutanese [ICC gallery]. I don't know how to say it. You have to look at the scorecard and see it with your own eyes.

The talkative Vanuatu keeper Trevor Langa writes a blog at "Beyond The Test World" as well, check out his first three posts: after winning over Bhutan, after the loss against Kuwait, and today's blog after the victory over Suriname.


Semifinals:
We did everything right. The third win secured us the "easier" semi against Vanuatu. It will be a damn tough job but I think we are fortunate not to have to face Kuwait right away. I think this might be a pretty even contest and hopefully, hopefully we can win this match. The Zambians finish second in our group with two victories and will have to march straight to the lions. I am really not envying them. But they have battled hard and are tough fighters, I wouldn't put it past them to nip the Kuwaitis in the butt.

So our next goal is now to get a spot in the final and thereby ascend to Div 7. That would be unbelievable. If we lose we must at least win the small final to finish third and retain our place in Div 8. So these are the next steps now for the German team. The Cricinfo match report linked at the top says that Germany look like the only team capable of tackling the Kuwaitis, I am honestly pushing this thought away and only looking to the game against Vanuatu next. If we beat them and get promoted we can play freely against Kuwait, but that is still a long way to go, and Kuwait will have to beat Zambia first, who will fight nail and tooth I hope.


That's all for today; as usual euphoria and sadness were walking hand in hand, can't wait for Thursday,

Cheers,
Wes

7 November 2010

Germans birch Gibraltar: ICC WCL 8 - Day 2

ICC World Cricket League Div. 8

Related posts: Introduction and Media | Day 1

Day 2

Germany and Gibraltar:
Can't believe it. 363. I gazed at the score and simply refused to believe it. Last night in the blog I said we need to improve the batting and today, in the second ODI within two days, Germany put 363 on the board.

Well we must also look at the following: Gibraltar seem to lack penetration in the bowling department. They couldn't take wickets against the Bahamas, and obviously they also couldn't take wickets against us. The pitch seems a very good one for batting, but I think the Gibraltarian bowling weakness played a role as well.

I will not keep harping madly on this, just pointing our matchwinners out quickly: Milan Fernando with a massive 151 from 140 balls. Wow. Skipper Asif Khan with a ton as well, 109 from 104. Shakeel Hassan contributed 48 and was also badly in the wickets again with 4-43, what a beautiful bowler. Milan struck with the ball, too; in his first over he removed Mark Bacarese and in his second Iain Latin. MOTM, baby!

Click to watch Christian Rocca talk about cricket in Gibraltar
(Windows Media Player)
Horrible tragedy for the Gibs as their vastly experienced skipper Christian Rocca, who has been leading the side for 24 years now and stood firm when his comrades were falling one by one, was bowled by Shakeel on 99. I have no words for the Gibraltarian drama. Please refer to the intro post linked at the top to hear Chris talk about his hopes ahead of the tournament. Gibraltar are in a very desperate situation, finishing last in the Euro Div 2 (I guess that means relegation to Div 3) and now they are perhaps even facing exit from WCL 8.

In the second match in Group B Zambia beat the Bahamas convincingly [ICC gallery]; that puts the Bahamas' victory over Gibraltar into perspective and gives us hope for the third game. It means that Germany are leading the table now with two wins, while the Bahamas and Zambia have one win each and the Gibraltarians are still waiting for first points. But we must not feel too safe, because if we lose against the Bahamas on Tuesday and Zambia beat Gibraltar three teams will have two victories and advancement will depend on the NRR. If we win, Gibraltar can still go through with a landslide victory over Zambia. According to my measly calculations Gib's and Zam's net run rate differs by 2.325 points. It is freezing my heart really. I feel absolutely terrible for the Gibs and wish we didn't have so much blood on our hands but they are in a difficult transition phase and once their young players have gained experience I am confident they will be back with a bang and make us beg for mercy. They might have to walk the path of sorrow, though, before that happens. Click on the pic to learn more about the well-developed grassroots structures in Gibraltar.

Group A:
In Group A we have seen interesting results today. In the "clash of the mauled" Bhutan beat Suriname by 11 runs [ICC gallery]. But also the two bullies of the opening day, Kuwait and Vanuatu, encountered [ICC gallery]. And here we are seeing Kuwait inflicting a brutal defeat upon Vanuatu. Although Kuwait were all out by the penultimate ball both their openers posted centuries and some handy 20, 30 odd scores in the middle order took them to a massive 401. Not chaseabale for the Vanuatuans, they managed 240 in their 50 overs. However, they should be able to beat Suriname and thus reach the semis in the slipstream of Kuwait. Kuwait have definitely underlined their claim of the crown and so far have performed as expected.


Well that was quite a bloodshed in the desert today. I am happy, though, that we have won 2/2. Let's make it 3/3, shall we?

Cheers,
Wes

6 November 2010

Germans clinch nailbiter: ICC WCL 8 - Day 1

ICC World Cricket League Div. 8

Day 1
Low-scorer of epic proportions on what must have been an absolute bitch of a pitch. We made 128 runs after Zambia had put us in to bat. Germany all out after 41.2 ov. The good Rishi Pillai delivered the highscore of 39. It would have looked even worse without the 21 Zambian extras!

Ehsan Latif meets Imran Khan in Berlin  (c) E. Latif
BUT!!!!!!!!!! Zambia had similar problems to score, for instance they lost the 5th, 6th and 7th wicket for no runs when they still needed 38 and I thought at this time we were back in the game, especially when also the 8th wicket, probably the last recognised Zambian batsman, fell after a little while. But their tail could have clawed itself into the ground since the 9th wicket partnership went at 6/ov and they could even have continued at just 1.odd and would still have won. There was no need to take any risks.

But our bowlers had put their cold hands around the Zambians' necks and got the job finished. Rawalpindi (spin-) express Shakeel Hassan stuck out with 3-25 and kept it tight at 2.77. Dilshan, who was brought on by skipper Asif at the end, struck right in his maiden international over. Lahore-born leggie Kashif Haider supported him excellently with an economy of 2.10. It's been a while since I've seen a legspinner with such tidy figures *g*

And theeeeeeeen! Ehsan Latif returned to clean up the tail, mercilessly, the walking blade that he is! 4-43 for the leftarmer from Capital City. I do admittedly not know a lot about our team but Ehsan is someone you can bring on whenever you need a wicket; at the start he will make inroads and at the death you can safely entrust him the ball again. He was a tad leaky today but that's a price you won't mind paying for the clumps of wickets he returns. At the Euro Div 2 he got better and better during the course of the tourney, I hope he can repeat the trick in Kuwait now.

Match notes:
Rana-Javed Iqbal seems to have injured himself, as he stopped bowling after 4.1 ov. Bad news, very bad news. But I would like to mention that one can see much improvement in terms of conceding extras, compared to the Euro Div 2. A bit of trivia: Andre Leslie wasn't picked for the opener, while the Zambians picked all four of their Patels.

In the second Euro match Gibraltar put a total of 213 on the board, on a pitch completely opposite to the German one. They only lost 5 wickets. Kieron Ferrari topscored for them with 52, Ian Farrell followed with 45 and two others got 35 each.

Nice, alas, not nice enough. Because the problem herein was that the Bahamas replied in the very same fashion. The first wicket fell when they were already on 62. The Cricinfo scorecard got stuck on 169/2 but eventually revealed that the Bahamas won by 7 wickets with skipper Gregory Taylor highscoring with 74.

Not good. I won't speculate about the coming matches... but here we go: should the Bahamas continue to mow through the opposition and beat Zambia tomorrow we will have to have won against the Gibs. We beat them in the Euro Div 2 a few months ago and now we must beat them again to make sure we aren't dependent on a win against the Bahamas or Zam beating Gib and NRR. So tomorrow will be a black day for one of us. Germany must defeat the Gibs to keep control of their fate. However, it will break my heart. If we lose against them the cards will be reshuffled and all teams will still have a chance to make it, but it will be a lot tougher for us then. But if the Bahamas lose as well there will be an equilibrium in the table! It's gonna be a hell of a day tomorrow, as two 50-over games on the trot in the unfamiliar climate will demand everything from our non-professional players.

Group A:
Both of the defeated teams received unimaginable thrashings. The local heroes Kuwait completely annihilated Suriname with 257 balls to spare, and Vanuatu made short work of Bhutan, gave them a target of 338 and had them all out for 55. Well. Minnow cricket haha. It will become more interesting when the two Goliaths actually have to face each other.

So that's it for today. I think it was important that we started off with a victory and just like last time it completely killed me. For some reason this little amateur team means a lot more to me than our football side for instance. Every victory is a reason to celebrate. I am happy we could take the first hurdle. Now we must continue in this fearless fashion, I hope we can carry the German flag and the star-studded blue Euro manner into the semis.

MOTM!  (c) ICC

However, we must improve the batting. The team being Pakistan-dominated is no excuse.


Cheers and thanks for reading,
Wes