|Dan the happy man (c) Getty Images|
Well it's a painful process of realisation: both Zimbabwe and New Zealand probably deserved it. The scorecard is doing my head in. Actually I had expected a thriller; while NZ's batting looks a bit stronger on paper, Zimbistan have some great stranglers in their attack. But we can safely state that the contest between these two sides has turned out as a mismatch.
I am not sure whether to laugh or cry, since Brendan Taylor has finally reached mentionable figures, and Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer, who is currently in very useful fettle with the bat, added ultra-patient lower order runs trying to delay the Zimbabwean doom, but more than 162 all out were not in it. Charles Coventry still has to arrive at the tournament, and with Taibu and Ervine not firing either, and the handy Sean Williams out injured, Zim just crumbled like a sandcastle. There's an echo in my mind, a faint memory of a guy called Elton... Elton... Chu... Chi... can't remember his name. He used to play for Zimbabwe as well, but that was a long time ago.
We have to admit of course that an attack comprising of the now-turned-evil Tim Southee, the one day hulk Kyle Mills, the Messrs. Vettori, Styris, Nathan McCullum and the talented Hamish Bennett, has plenty of teeth (with hair on them), but I'd have wished for a bit more resistance from the Zimbabwean batsmen.
New Zealand did not even bother wasting any energy on walking the long way back to the dressing room, simply walled up at the start and then clobbered the total down within 33.3 overs without losing a wicket. Whoa. Well Martin Guptill has been in splendid form in the past months, but also Brendon McCullum decided that today's a good time to stay at the crease for a bit, and I'm pretty convinced that only due to the small target they had to miss out on parallel centuries.
Well Zimbabwe can actually climb on the plane homeward unless they are planning to beat either Pakistan or Sri Lanka, and it's tearing me in two, especially since Cremer, Price, Utseya and Williams could probably not have given a lot more. For the 1000th time it is back to the drawing board for the Zims, and with a year full of challenges ahead, including their first Test matches after a long time, their frail batting line-up will need to recover quickly. Ahhh man. Sucks.
The Kiwis on the other hand have banged in the door to the quarterfinals, with only Canada as a must-win match left the roundbutted wigglebirds have plenty of reason to hope for progress to the next stage. I am crossing all my fingers and toes for the New Zealanders, who seem to be picking up tournament form slowly but steadily.
.... unlike Bangladesh in their "match" against the West Indies. I don't know what to say. What an absolute shocker. The big riddle is how they actually managed to get all out within 19 overs for 58 runs. Surely the West Indian attack is better than the Dutch one, but B'desh are playing on home soil and have actually given all of their non-subcontinental opponents a scare in these conditions. I am not sure whether to watch the highlights in order to solve the mystery, or to spare myself this martyrdom. Well, that's all I can say about this chapter of cricket from hell.