Tuesday, April 10, 2007

British Isles lose

England lose to Australia, and New Zealand beat Ireland.

Seeing as Scotland, Holland and the mighty Canada have all lost their place in the World Cup, it seems as though this is a bad day for the Northern Hemisphere. A Southern Hemisphere domination of world cricket? Crickers is unnervingly becoming more like ruggers everyday It's not all bad, though: at least Australia will lose.

So! The England match! We didn’t lose as badly as everyone thought we would. Oz squeaked home with only three overs and a mere seven wickets to spare. Lucky sods. Kevin Pieterson scored a century, and that made his World Cup. Ian Bell hit an impressive 77, driving Glen McGrath out of the attack. However, spineless England decided to play this rest of the innings, and only Ravi Bopara contributed meaningfully.

A lot has been made of this “collapse”, but Bell and KP built a sufficient foundation to launch an aggressive attack. Risky shots were played, and batsman got out. All the same, we still emerged with a defendable total. A little below par, but a reasonable score nonetheless. The real problem was with the bowling.

Sajid Mahmood conceded for 61 wayward runs off his 9.2 overs, Anderson was ok (going for 4.9 per over) but lacked penetration. Yes, a few umpire decisions went against us, but the truth was that we never looked like getting a wicket. Only Andrew Flintoff held some kind of control over the batsman, even Hero Monty didn’t look dangerous.

Again, one has to ask the question: why is Bopara in the side? He’s an all-rounder; he’s batting at seven. For God’s sake! Make use of him! Chuck in with the openers! Bowl him! Anything!*sigh*

Now, my last point is this: I’m not sure the captaincy was that great in this match. Shock! Horror! Ayalac questions the Great Michael Vaughan?! Well look, only five bowlers were used, all of whom (including nine overs of Colly-wobblers) more or less bowled their maximum allocation. It was obvious that this bowling attack wasn’t firing. Why not experiment with Bopara, KP, Vaughan or even Bell? It can’t harm things.

Anyway, the Kiwis also put in a decent-enough performance against the Irish. The Black Caps posted 263 (three less than the “uninspiring” England total against the same opposition) and they easily finished off Ireland. The batting wasn’t great, but the quicks, spinners and all-rounders did a good job of dispatching the Irish batsman. New Zealand look good. But they still lack that special something, that venom that Australia and South Africa posses. They are not so much a Gary Sobers, more of a Chris Harris on speed.

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