Thursday, 13 September 2007

Fast and Furious

It's all been rather enjoyable so far, in great contrast to the tediously elongated World Cup in the Caribbean. Already, we have witnessed one monumental upset - Zimbabwe's incredible victory over Australia - and one minor one, in Bangladesh beating - and knocking out - the West Indies.

With three games played a day, the tournament has already acquired a forward momentum totally lacking in the West Indies. Yet again, they were a ragtag outfit totally lacking in the bowling and fielding department, with Ramnaresh Sarwan seemingly far less effective than Chris Gayle, who memorably lifted the side for the ODIs in England. With Bangladesh's upward curve (not, it must be said, in Tests), and the impish, outrageously talented and increasingly consistent Mohammad Ashraful at the helm, it may not be too long before the Windies fall below them in the limited-overs rankings.

If they lose tomorrow, Australia, who have undeniably shown a lack of respect for this form of he game to date, will also exit: which is just the way it should be if a side loses its first two games. To date, it has been a vibrant, engaging tournament, and, with so many interesting asides (not least England's Twenty20 special forces, including the rejuvinated Chris Schofield) it should remain that way.

It is cricket reducto ad infinitum, but that is not to say it is bereft of skill: on the contrary, quality under pressure prevails. As for who will win, however, it remains very hard to tell: the nature of the game is that it can change irrevocably within a couple of overs; and, Australia aside, there are a clutch of evenly-matched sides.

Who's your tip for the title?


Innocent Abroad said...

Who's gonna win? Well, if England beat Australia to-morrow, I'd go for South Africa as the team to beat.

Also interesting - who's going to be the most successful individuals with bat and ball? Glad I'm not a bookie having to price those up...

Anonymous said...

With the international teams having so little experience of the format, it's so difficult to tell who is the pick of West Indies turned out to be an apalling piece of judgement. I really do think England have a chance.

As to individuals, it's anybodies guess...I was surprised however, when looking at the records, that statistically the best 2020 player in international cricket, as of the end of 13th September (having taken more wickets than anyone else, and scored the second highest amount of runs) is Paul Collingwood (although I should include the proviso that England have played more games than any other team, and he's played in all of them). I'd already put a little bet on him being Englands highest runscorer, so I'll choose him for my Batting pick, and i think i'll take a wild guess at Shahid Afridi for best bowler.

Chrispy said...

I think England have invested too much faith in so called specialists. Darren Maddy, Luke Wright, James Kirtley and Jermey Snape are not good enough for Test cricket, and would not get in England's first choice ODI side. If they are not good enough for International cricket why are they considered good enough for this. There is no way that Maddy and Wright should be coming in ahead of the likes of KP, Flintoff and Owais Shah who must feel absolutely gutted to be outrageously placed at number 7! He opens for Middlesex or bats at 3, he is far better than number 7. And as was shown today, once the first three have given it away without scoring at pace the pressure is on KP and co, when it should be them who are exposed to the most balls and given the freedom from pressure to play their natural games. Ian Bell should also be there as a quality fielder and a batsman who far from just nurdling, can attack spin and score at over a run a ball throughout an innings of substance. The selection of Snape over a better quality spinner baffles me, especially if he isn't considered good enough to make the side.

Tim said...

Innocent - Australia won easily so I guess they'll now be the favourites. But the nature of the tournament means it's very hard to predict.

Chrispy - as in the World Cup, England's number one problem is their top three. I would like Solanki in - a brilliant fielder with the quality (though not the consistency) to do very well internationally and Shah should be above Flintoff at least. His 55* against the Windies was superb.