30 March 2011

My India v Sri Lanka Preview

~~~


No seriously.... the 500th Ind-SL ODI in the space of 12 months... who to support? Both were the two top favourites right from the start. Sri Lanka will be supported by most of the uninvolved, who like to call themselves romantics, but they've sent New Zealand home = evil. India on the other hand will have the home crowd on their side, have kicked Oz out, and will feature Harbhajan. Is that worth the support of someone who would usually go for the underdog? But are Sri Lanka actually underdogs per definitionem? And on the completely other hand, India also have Dhoni, and barring their homies nobody else is going to support them.

Hmm. I'll keep pondering this and will make up my mind in time. At the moment, and my hands are falling off as I am typing this, I'm leaning a wee bit more towards India, the only team that still a few days ago I could have sworn to never ever support in my whole life. Well, by Saturday a decision will have to be made. Or not.


Cheers,
Wes

27 March 2011

Congrats And Hurrah

~~~

The South Australian Cricket Association Player Of The Year Awards 2010/11
(For the NSW awards please scroll down)

Haaaaaallelujah! Pt. I
~~~

SA State Player of the Year: Dan frickn Christian. Yes yes yes yes! DC my good man. Or, as half-tracker puts it... "He will always be my melon" (sorry for quoting that. I had to. It was torturing me). Or, as captain Klinger put it: "Australia's most dynamic allrounder". Kingsize congrats and a mountain-high cake for DC. But I bet he will be too disciplined and too busy to eat it!

SA Ryobi Cup Player of the Year: Dan frickn Christian. ACA Most Valuable Player Of The Year: Dan frickn Christian. ACA Ryobi Cup Most Valuable Player Of The Year: Dan frickn Christian. United European Redbacks Fans (UERF) Player Of The Year: Dan frickn Christian. And so on and so on....

SA T20 Player Of The Year: Dr. Daniel Harris. The good Doc was imho close to becoming Player Of The Year as well, if you consider his Shield contributions etc. His value can impossibly be expressed in numbers. But yes, he was a freaking monster in the T20. A very polite, well-mannered and well-spoken freaking monster.

SA Most Improved Player Of The Year: Nathan bloody Lyon. Sniff. Sneuf. Sneef. What a great happy end to a beautiful fairytale. I hope he feels good in SA and will resist any satanic offers from other states.

And now Ladies & Gentlemen, the Jack In The Box Award for the most unsuspected laureate, who cops the medal for the...

First Class Player Of The Year... OMG it's Aiden Blizzard! Blizz is SA's leading runscorer in First Class cricket, take that, you villains of evil! Well I've aaarghhed about his Shield runs earlier, but did not expect him to top the table. Take a bow!

Further awards went to Aiden Blizzard and Peter George for their First Class performance with the bat / ball *coughcoughTendulWicketcoughcough*, Dan Christian and Ben Edmondson (sigh...) for their batting and bowling achievements at the Ryobi Cup, as well as Cullen Bailey and Tom Moffat -hear hear!- for their respective displays in the Futures League. Big congrats to the happy winners!

The Female State Player Of The Year trophy was awarded to the legendary Karen Rolton. Let me quote her amazing figures from the SACA homepage: "In her final season of domestic cricket, Rolton shone for the Scorpions in the Women’s Twenty20 competition, scoring 440 runs at a 48.88 average as well as taking 16 wickets at an average of 13.31. Rolton has won the trophy three times, overtaking the retired Kris Britt who has taken home the award twice." Gulp. Now that is a majestic way to bow out of a sport. I am speechless. I hope she's gonna stay active behind the scenes for many years to come.

Here's a great video in which the SACA talks to some of the awardees. Really nice, watch it:



~~~

Haaaaaallelujah! Pt. II
I've cheekily saved the best for last. The best from the hostile world beyond the state border. NSW State Player of the Year is ... the mighty mighty SOK! Steve O'Keefe grabbed the highest honours for his insanely impressive performance across all formats, as a symbolic middle finger to the national selectors, and a reward for his new, much improved hairdye. Very well done SOK, keep fighting and biting, we'll get you there! I need to quote the NSW homepage on that occasion as well:

"After a tremendous season in all forms of the game, Stephen O’Keefe was the clear winner this season with 250 votes, finishing 99 votes clear of Nathan Hauritz, with 151 votes. O’Keefe was consistent all summer picking up 22 wickets at 20.31, in the Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield. He was no less impressive in the one-day format scoring 219 runs at an average of 43.80 in the Ryobi Cup, as well as contributing heavily to the KFC Big Bash campaign."

"O’Keefe also represented Australia against England in two Twenty20 International matches during the summer. O’Keefe also won the Ryobi Cup Player of the Year award in convincing fashion. He finished with 127 votes to top Brett Lee (89 votes) who took 15 wickets at an average of 25.00 in seven matches."

Now, if these numbers don't make you slump down like a puppet with cut strings and roll around in the dust with bulging eyes and screeching fits of "I'm not worthy oh god I'm not worthy" then you can't be helped. What the NSW homepage does not mention is SOK's outstanding contribution against the England "A" Team prior to the Ashes, here and here. Lest we forget!

Further medals went to the sensational newcomer Pat Cummins, who amazed me as well during the Big Bash, for his outstanding T20 bowling, and Trent Copeland for his excellence at the Shield. Ice cream, confetti and fanfares for the babyblue honeycakehorses!

We shall however note that Nathan Hauritz missed out on some of these medals by just a few votes. It has indeed not been the luckiest of years for the legend, despite his consistently good, oftentimes outstanding performances with bat and ball. We hope to see you back soon in national colours, Ritz!


You may expect another post when Cossy has won the Tassie Player Of The Year, of course.

Cheers,
Wes

25 March 2011

Dr. Tinybiff Makes Another Appearance

So the Kiwis got restricted to 221... and then won by 49 runs.

Bye-bye my poor little Miniboof, hope life's gonna treat you well :(

My emotional apparatus is a bit overchallenged with this result. It's like you are trying to stare to the left and right at the same time. Well well. Perhaps, since most of us anticipated a Saffa win (especially taking into consideration that the SAFs seemed to be the only non-Asian team capable of handling the subcontinental sides), we are now a bit clueless about what to feel.

The furry potato-shaped clumsybird in me can't bloody believe it. What a stunner! The Kiwis certainly outdid themselves today, and heck they did deserve to win this. What a desolate performance from the South Africans. MillsKills wasn't even playing!! Not as a bowler, that is. But what is going to happen in the Semis?
Now, my little sheeplets, you surely know that what you've started you also have to finish in the end? Can you beat the Pomdorians or SL? Can you defeat India... or Pak, once more? Deary me. Deary freaking me. What have you done, you stumpy poultry!

This is the one upset the cricket world has been waiting for. Now don't relapse into old patterns. Keep the pants up on the hips where they belong. Don't (don't) jump from the cliff now! Don't let your success stun you. My fingers, toes and ears are crossed for you!!!


Cheers,
Wes

24 March 2011

Ponting Shifts Gears


... from "OMG drop him already" to "poor man's North" (or,  taking into account the standpoint of the beholder, "tragic hero"). Which equals the former, according to selectorial standards, and could be defined as a ton approx. once a year -when his head is inevitably on the chopping block- , minus North's captaincy brain and wickets. In the mythical past the Ponting Car was equipped with more than two gears and, similar to the Tendul Kar, could switch to the third or even fourth gear for a more consistent accelerated run accumulation. Everybody was waiting for the glorious ancient times to return, Australia's WC chances depended  a lot on Punter's contributions, alas, Ponting Car either needs to seek a garage urgently or... we better not envision it rusting on the scrap yard waiting for the press.

There will be some opportunity to observe Ponting Car's reaction to the defeat, a handful of ODIs against Bangladesh, but I can't imagine anyone is gonna give  a real damn about them. Apart from that Australia won't play any cricket until 2023, enough time for the junk yard chairpersons to meet a decision, or not.

Best Australian player by a long way: Brett Lee (followed by Mitch), and with the bat obviously Brad Haddin, with Watto and Clarke in his wake. The K was ok.

Congratulations India, you didn't collapse like 8 for 12 today. One can certainly say you have been good hosts to Aus, and the pitches you prepared weren't all autobahns. If you win the cup we will still claim you only did it at home. Good luck in the semis.


In anticipation of India and Pakistan mauling each other,
Wes

23 March 2011

The Ponting Mushrooms

It must have rained in the blogosphere - within the space of 30 minutes half a dozen "End of Punter" posts popped up in my Google Reader alone (and I am only following a few cricket blogs there).

I've made my standpoint pretty clear in the last 12 months, so let's have a look at what some of the other bloggers think about the eternal drama:

Sid from the Dustbin Blog is utterly annoyed by the endless yes-no-may-maynot-perhaps-maybe-ormaybenot that she only pleads Punter to win tomorrow... and even offers him the ultimate sacrifice (oh the desperation!!!)

Will, the pinkest cricket blogger of all time, and mind behind The Short Midwicket, wrote a very well-rounded sum-up of Punter's failures throughout the last years, as a captain and as a batsman, and concludes that even if Australia win the match against India Ponting's time could still be up after the World Cup.

Sunny "Sehwagology" Mishra embeds his thoughts into a fine preview of the India-Australia quarterfinal at ClearCricket, links Ponting's continuous form dip to his outbursts of rage, and wonders if Australia can afford to go on with him.

The Old Batsman, naturally possessing an affinity to old things, utilises an ancient Roman metaphor and visualises Ponting in the role of Caesar during the Ides Of March... guess who's Brutus. Some very smart thoughts you shouldn't miss out on.


You can find most of these writers and blogs on the social networks:

@dustbincricket | Facebook page
@shortmidwicket
@clearcricket | Facebook page | Facebook account
@sehwagology

Go Oz!!!

Cheers,
Wes

21 March 2011

Cossy Wins The Shield

What a man! What a match! What a final shot of the season! Both teams made 400+++ in their first innings, and since Tassie due to leading the table were in the privileged position of only having to draw for the win, NSW were forced to make a really bold declaration on day 4, all or nothing, alas, they fluffed it; taking ten wickets would have been their only chance of victory; but Tassie had more than three sessions to chase down the moderate total, and could afford to choose the defensive path.

The NSW bowlers produced a handful of squeaky bum situations, though; for example the Tassie batsmen tried to avoid SOK most of the time, his economy rate oscillated around 1.6 during large parts of the innings, and, well, he is the DangerSOK. 

Until...

69.6 O'Keefe to Cosgrove, SIX, Boom! Stand and deliver. O'Keefe tossed up and Cosgrove without dancing down swung through the line and hit straight over the sightscreen for six! Superb.

Tea was approaching, as was triumph. So they extended the second session and majestically strode to victory within three of the four additional overs. To be honest I was in terror from the moment on Cos came to crease. First I was afraid he could get out, and then when he looked like not doing so, I was afraid he might not be on strike when the winning runs are hit.

But since he is the man...

73.6 O'Keefe to Cosgrove, FOUR, There it is! Tossed up and Cosgrove slog sweeps over midwicket for four! Tasmania win their second Sheffield Shield!

Poor SOK :( NSW came second in the T20 cup as well and third in the one dayers, very unfortunate for them. But I am so happy that Cossy won the Shield. It's a huge erect middle finger to.... just everyone.

Of course we need to be fair and not leave the contributions of his minions unmentioned, victory would not have been possible without the convincing performances of the Messieurs Eddie Cowan, Luke Who Else Butterworth, James Faulkner, Ben Hilfenhaus and Alex Doolan!


Match notes:

David Warner bowled legspin and I didn't bloody see it. Very annoying, because his figures suggest that he did a good job.

Usman Khawaja bowled a handful of overs as well and removed the X-Do. If anyone has footage of these two bobbleheads bowling, please let me know!

Phil Hughes almost made back-to-back tons and Hilditch subsequently lauded him. We must fear the worst.

Trent Copeland, NSW's very obvious pick of the bowlers, bowled the highest number of overs someone has ever bowled in a Shield final. You could draw conclusions now... there will be debates on NSW's selection I guess, they were already raging during the match. However, Pat Cummins and Steve O'Keefe knew how to excite as well.


Enough praise of the opposition, let's return to topic. Man, he so deserved it. I'm utterly happy for him. The grapevine whispers that SA are sobbing in their sleep. Good on ya! I hope Tassie are going to extend his contract. Please, guys, he deserves it.


Cheers,
Wes

PS. He also ran out Simon Katich.  
PPS. The commentary was quoted from Cricinfo.

20 March 2011

Zimbabwe made over 300



It's a null-tell really. I'm happy the boys won, but a dead rubber against the worst team of the tournament may not have resulted in too much ecstasy on the Zimbabwean end of things. Let's see what this year has in store for Zimbi cricket...

Issues exist not only in the batting department, where the opening spots and the batting order in general have to be discussed, but the fast bowling options have to be re-assessed, and the big sore thumb sticking out is Elton Chigumbura's role as a captain. So much work, so much pressure. All the best, Zimbies, keep up your spirit :)


Cheers,
Wes

19 March 2011

I miss Shoaib Akhtar as well

♥ ♥ ♥
He could have made the difference today... Come back Shoay, Cam and Punter need you!!!!!



Match notes:
Afridi should bat at 12.
I had to Heimlich myself from choking on everything I ever said about the K.


Cheers,
Wes

18 March 2011

I Hail Thee, Borronator

The Borronator helps ten Inches to a century   (c) AFP
This post is entirely dedicated to Peter Borren's 84 against Ireland. Quite obviously all other remarkable figures reached in the Ireland v Netherlands match were made in his honour.  Be it ten Doeschate's century, Super Cooper's two wickets, Barresi's 44, Paul Stirling's matchwinning ton topped off with two scalps (please, please, carry that form into the Middlesex season!) or Porterfield's and Niall O'Brien's fifties. 

Although the Kaaskoppen did not make it across the line they accumulated over 300 runs and lost with Ireland only having 14 balls to spare. Yes I'm in clappity mode. An upset would have been nice, but would not have done Ireland's WC performance justice. The scorecard offers a satisfying view.

Match notes:
Niall O'Brien looks like AB de Villiers.

~~~

So you think my posts are getting more and more retarded. True. It is NOT due to some World Cup fatigue. But what the heck is one supposed to write about New Zealand getting all out for 153 against Sri Lanka? Exactly. So here are a few lame excuses:

- Injuries: they were without Millskills and Vettori, and replacement Hamish Bennett got injured during the match.
- Toss: the NZ bowlers were breaking down in the heat, while the SL ones could nicely bowl in the evening chill.
- UDRS: not the UDRS is bad, but some umpires simply have a lone tumbleweed rolling where a normal human has his brain, and cognac truffles were there is supposed to be a pair of eyes (this excuse is actually not lame, but deals with a potentially match-deciding verdict).

Match notes:
Tim Southee was, is, and will always be the king. King of swing, swing your thing! So to speak. In a purely cricket-related sense. Furthermore I kinda like Jesse Ryder with the ball in hand.

~~~

Bring on Pak-Aus already, before I accidentally jump out of the window.

Cheers,
Wes

16 March 2011

The Euro Kids Are All Right

From the 21st to the 26th of March 2011 the La Manga Club in Murcia (Spain) will host the third ICC European Emerging Players Programme for eleven young cricketers from the countries of Denmark, Germany, Gibraltar, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Norway and Spain.

Household names to the readers of this blog are German middle order batsman / part-time offie Tarun Rawat from Düsseldorf (photo), and Israeli legspinner Josh Evans from Haifa.

ICC European Emerging Player Programme Manager, ICC Regional Performance Officer, Philip Hudson, says: “The players look to be an exciting group; they excel at their age-group, but can use this programme to propel themselves to the ICC Europe Men’s Academy. (...) The players will be subjected to a high level of coaching, which will mostly be centered around one to one skill development work.”

It amuses me how Hudson refers to native Danes or Italians as "indigenous" players, but technically that's what they are, the native minority, whose participation can be classified as a special success. Don't you love the irony... exquisite! ^^

I wish all participants good luck, heaps of fun and a bag full of rich memories, and hope that Tarun returns in best possible fettle; the WCL Division 7 is just around the corner... *panics*


Cheers,
Wes

Thanks @ Josh Evans for sharing the news.

14 March 2011

Elton made runs

At least a few. And Babyslug Craig Ervine got a half-century. Also, Zimbabwe didn't get bowled out.

(c) Getty Images
That's about all you can say about the Zimbabwean innings, sadly. Defending a smallish total, Duckworth Lewis or not, at a seriously moderate asking rate could only have been achieved with airtight bowling aka Prosper Utseya. Alas, Shingi (in for Mpofu) and The Lamb fluffed it. I also hear moans about Elton cocking up at the toss and setting debatable fields, to the point of "at least he plays for country". Country Shmountry! All of them do, for sure. But it's just not enough. The busy 2011 schedule should give them plenty of opportunity to gather more experience and enhance their skills and tricks.

Match notes:

Afridi, panicking over the prospect that the run chase might take place without him and the audience could be waiting in vain for the sight of Boom Boom getting out stupidly for zilch, promoted himself to No. 3 unselfishly and consequently went out for 3 runs. Thank you Shahid for making me grin on a gloomy day.

Ray Price's retirement will be the end of Zimbabwean cricket.

Happy Birthday Elton... hope you're still enjoying your cake!


Cheers,
Wes

13 March 2011

Karma 1 Ponting 0

Hope he is choking on his arrogance.

Cheers,
an enraged minnow representative

PS. Good to see Kenya emancipating from Steve Tikolo. About time.

12 March 2011

Manou makes way for the Vicbacks

Graham Manou donning the
Redbacks colours (c) SACA
The rumour of Vic keeper Adam Crosthwaite following the now full-time coach Darren Berry over from Vic set my alarm bells ringing, especially as Graham Manou felt urged to state that "The way I'm going at the moment, I'd like to play forever. I'm still feeling like I'm playing really well."

Just two days later Graham Manou said that after a long discussion with SACA high performance director Jamie Cox he decided it was the best for him to retire from First Class cricket. Everybody is entitled to think what they want, I will not speculate any further.

Thanks Choc for your loyal services, your patient batting, your safe hands, your thoughtfulness, your calm leadership and pleasant interviews. The Redbacks are losing a stalwart behind the stumps and whoever gets appointed successor has to fill some large boots.

Alongside Manou also Ben Edmondson has announced his retirement. I'm very sad about that, he had only just come over from WA at the beginning of the season and I really liked what I've seen of him, up to the point of granting him a bandwagon. Bye Edo, you're gonna be missed :(

Cricinfo oracles about further departures, I am sure at the end of this long road of renewal we are gonna find out that for the new T20 season the Adelaide team is named "Little Melbourne". Can't wait.


Cheers,
Wes

Edit, Graham Manou suffered from severe heart complaints, caused by a congenital  heart condition, in the Shield match during which he announced his retirement. Get well soon Graham, health always comes first!

10 March 2011

Ain't no sunshine when he's gone


(c) Associated Press
First of all, Brendan my son, apology accepted. Although we learnt today that Taylor =/= Taylor, as the Zimbian one could not carry the team home with his knock, it felt wonderful to see him occupy the crease and deal his blows to the bowlers, especially Malinga, Kulasekara, Perera. Regis Chakabva played his supporting role well, but when he departed Zimbabwe committed collective suicide. The innings ended with Graeme Cremer on 13 not out, just another of his heartwarming batting efforts of the recent past. In between there gaped a big vaccuum.

Sri Lanka nearly broke the record for the highest opening partnership in ODIs, and the Zimbabwean wickets you see in the scorecard all fell in the last overs, when it was too late to restrict the hosts to a gettable total. Dilshan defeated Zimbabwe on his own, with a ton and 4 wickets for 4 runs, which makes him only the second player in the ODI history to achieve such a double.

Well I am disappointed by the bowling. Very fresh is the memory of New Zealand mowing through the Pakistan batting order on the very same ground only a few days ago. Sorry for just another comparison to the NZ match. I know you can't compare the Pak batting to the Sri Lankan concrete walls, and the Kiwi attack has a few more teeth than the Zim one, but still. Ah well. Zim are facing stiff challenges now, ok they expected a defeat against SL but need to regroup and respirit themselves for the encounters with Kenya and Pakistan. Concerning the batting woes I am not sure if there is ever gonna be an end to it, so they need to try and bail themselves out with good bowling.

Go the Zimbs!!!

Cheers,
Wes

PS. Speaking of the NZ-Pak match, the good Zeeshan has written a very quirky odd post about it, and of course the Kamran antics, check it out on his blog *[ I Am Zeeshan ]*: Wake Up Call, yours sincerely, New Zealand.

9 March 2011

Slaarter At The Feroz Shah Kotla

Yes India won blablablubb chhhrrrzzz.
BUT! Bow down before the Slaar, the slaying Dutchman, the left-arm sting! He got them all: Sehwag, Tendulkar, Pathan!

The Slaar (c) AFP
I bloody knew it right from the start, the guy has this special aura about him, and if any sane Jamie Cox has watched the match (probably not, South Australia is asleep at this time) he will effing try and grab him somehow and draft him into the most glorious twist 'n' turn attack Oz has ever seen, post-Warne that is. OK OK. But you're getting my point. Just listen to the sound of this ultimate Symphony Of Spin:

Nathan Lyon, Aaron O'Brien, Pieter Seelaar.

Yes we know bugger all about the foreseeable mess which is the coming Australian home season, but one may dream, no? Open the Shield, and/or whatever weird mutation the Ryobi-Cup will have morphed into by then, for an Associate player each. Come on guys. Don't be evil!

Okayyyyy I am stopping the BS now... although the ICC could sponsor scholarships for Associate cricketers to play club cricket in Oz during the offseason... is this the idea of the century? Hey? Or what else is the point of the Development Programme?

But we need to acknowledge that the three elephant wickets slowed down India's chase significantly, and after skipper Peter Borren had also removed Virat Kohli (Mudassar Bukhari accounted for Gautam Gambhir), it took the cautious Indian lower order till the 36.3rd over to chase down the moderate Dutch total, which could have been 50 runs better had it not been for two completely pointless runouts.

No, an upset it was not, but India showed their heart for the minnows once more and allowed them to bow out respectably, just like they handled the match v Ireland earlier.


The Borronator (c) AFP
And before I forget to mention it, my second favourite Dutchie is skipper Peter Borren, he oozes trustworthiness from all pores, and with his Kiwi accent, repeated lower order stabiliser heroics and the Kohli wicket he sealed the deal with Wessington Vehicles, a free Borronator Bandwagon for the rest of his career as a Dutch player.


Hup Hollaarnd Hup!

Cheers,
Wes

8 March 2011

#WELLOFCOURSE

Well of course Ross Taylor would bounce back. Ross The Boss has this aura of undeniability about him, whatever this means, but it applies. Plenty of people were calling for his head, but weirdly I've had more faith in him than in Martin Guptill, who's been by far the more consistent batsman of the two in the past months, and consequently added another 50 to his impressive current string of good performances.

Not sure why LRPL is such a stalwart in my affection for the Kiwis, waiting for him to jump into his "The Real Boom Boom" boots and  play one of his completely headforked brain removers is as frustrating as getting chained to the heating with an empty stomach and being forced to watch baking videos all day.

But your patience is ultimately rewarded so richly, the hysterical laughter and maniacal screeches over each big shot, the failure to comprehend WTH is going on at LRPL's end of the wicket, and the itching anticipation of a very happy, humble post-match Ross equals the satisfaction of sinking your teeth into a monstrously large strawberry jelly cake...

... [elegant transition]...

Happy Birthday Ross!

(c) AFP

Match notes:

Tim Southee is the only bowler who I can will to a wicket. His COWW (chance of a willed wicket) is about 60-65%, today it was 100%. He struck in the first over and later on right with that delivery before which I had been pleading him to take out Misbah. Crazy stuff.

Afridi and Gul should swap batting positions.

Abdul Razzaq was the lone oak in the jungle-green botany, tried to achieve the impossible, alas, with no batters at the other end he was sooner or later doomed to fail. Congrats old man on your 5000 ODI runs and 250 wickets :)

Vettori in hospital = NZ in deep trouble. We can only wait and see.

Yes, make Umar Akmal the keeper in both short formats and replace Kakmal with a batsman*. Yeah I'm gonna miss the ear rape from behind the stumps, but currently there is more reason for concern about the intactness of Kamran's throat.

*I smell a Fawad Kodu lurking behind the corner... ^^


That's it from me,

Cheers,
Wes

6 March 2011

What a huge pile of Biffdirt

Losing my respect for the Saffas not just yet, but I'm close, VERY close. What an unbelievably giant pile of buffalo shit.

Robin bloody Peterson of all people takes three wickets in his first three overs, that monster of a left arm legend, brought on by the Buffalo since the latter learnt from the Redbacks and the Pakistanis that opening with the most unlikely of bowlers will cause shock, fear and terror (an idea immediately picked up by Strauss, who opened with Yardy, since, as I wrote earlier, there are certain parallels between the cow and the ostrich).

And England recovered just a bit, all out for 171 in the 46th over... Imran Tahir making short work after the seamers got middle overs breakthroughs. All good, just the way it should be!

And the stupid cattle have nothing better to do than to implode and miss the target by 7 effing runs!! I am laughing in complete disbelief. Yes the pitch was a beast, but SEVEN runs short, seven! And on top of that they crowned Barbie the inofficial hero of the day. Fork that!



Cheers,
Wes

4 March 2011

Total Destruction

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.

Puzzling.

Cheers,
Wes

3 March 2011

Taking a breather

Well I've almost calmed down again from yesterday's England v Ireland madness (my ability to speak has returned), and after enjoying the highlights some non-KOB-related match notes are overdue.

So here's a look at the battles inside the battle:


Middlesex v Middlesex:
Strauss' 34, so I thought, had beaten Paul Stirling's 32 in the battle of the Middlesex batters. But!!! Strauss dropped a catch, while Stirling took a ripper... and a wicket! So I have to revise my decision and declare Paul Stirling the winner! However, had Eoin Morgan been playing, things would have got a tad complicated.

Middlesex v Surrey:
Paul Stirling v Gary Wilson. Needless to say that Middlesex wins by a mile!

Ravi Bopara v England:
Ravi wins. Obviously.

George Dockrell v reality:
Reality wins! England's next überspinner is Danny Briggs from the county of brain. Yes!


Some interesting media related to the match:

Audio:
(right-click and save target as)

BBC: Test Match Special post-match podcast, with interviews of William Porterfield, Andrew Strauss and Kevin O'Brien (will only be available for a few days)

The Short Midwicket podcast. Or should I say The Shocked Midwicket? Half-Irish Will is still frozen in amazement. Here you can find the other SMW podcasts. You can also check out Will's cricket blog, and his twitter blabbings.

Switch Hit - the Cricinfo Pomcast on Eng-Ire and more

Video:

Alec Stewart and Mark Church of Surrey discuss the Eng v Ire match in episode 3 of Churchy's World Cup Chat. Insightful! 

Kevin O'Brien press conference

Andrew Strauss press conference

KOB's parents are delighted ^^


What else happened in the last hours?

The poor Netherlanders got horribly hammered by South Africa. Well not that I had the Saffas expected to lose, but nevertheless it hurts.

Canada, who managed to restrict Pakistan to 184 and had a serious chance of winning during most of their innings, lost eventually when Shahid Afridi came back for his second spell to show his fellow slow bowlers how you take wickets, and to underline his unplayability in the Subcontinent. So, pitifully no other major upsets on the Associate front. BTW. I've received the a tip from a secret source oracleing that we may expect a Pak-Ind final. Well well! *Sways head in thoughtfulness*


Cheers,
Wes

2 March 2011

Gorefest

Well the Ireland v England match is in its 36th over and right at this stage one cannot tell how it's going to end, however, we are currently witnessing an absolute gorefest. Kevin O'Brien, formerly known as the fingerwiggle man, is smashing it left, right and through the middle.

I've just checked the score, he's on 80 off 39 balls. After Ireland had slumped to 111-5, he and Queensland-born Alex Cusack have brutally forced the Greens to 230, with less than a hundred runs to go to chase down the English total. Followers from all over the world are delightfully bathing in crazy ideas like "how long till KOB plays for England", "fat IPL contract", and so on.

Guys, it's just one brutal innings. However, if he manages to blitz Ireland home I'm sure the offers will come flying in, IPL is on the cards for sure... next year, if the responsibles have not forgotten about him by then. A county contract should at least be in it, since he also has a knack of taking wickets.

Hell, he just completed the fasted World Cup century ever, 100 from 50 balls, which also equals the 6th fasted ODI century of all time. Ireland need 56 off 54! I am trying to contain my today's beverages. No matter what happens now, Associate cricket, well ok Irish cricket, is alive and kicking!

Cusack just got run out for a fine helpful 47. Nooo nooo it mustn't end like this!!! John Mooney replaces Cusack in a more than worthy manner, plays exactly at the same pace, and then steps on the throttle. Arghhhh O'Brien run out when 11 from 11 are needed! FFS! The tail must finish this for the big KOB now!

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESS YES YES FUCK YES!

Mooney and Trent Johnston racing away, completing the highest ever run chase in World Cup history. Madness! England punished for shitty bowling and fielding, insane! This is a huge middle finger going out to all the crows that were croaking about the pointlessness of this run chase, when Ireland were wobbling at the start. Go eat your words!

Hoorayyyy for Associate cricket!!! Hoorayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! The World Cup has begun!!!




Cheers,
Wes