Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Review of Team India for the Semi Final game Vs Pakistan

Marks for the Indian Players for the match vs Pakistan

Virender Sehwag - 5/10 – gave a fiery start to the innings, like he always does, but could not carry on.

Sachin Tendulkar – 8/10 – gave a fiery start to the innings and carried on, stopped just short of his hundred, played a brilliant innings.

Gautam Gambhir – 3/10 – couldn’t build on the start.

Virat Kohli – 1/10 – was good in the field but contributed just 9 runs...

Yuvraj Singh – 4/10 – failed with bat but worked magic with the ball.

MS Dhoni – 6/10 – Good captaincy tactics and stuck on for a while with the bat too.

Suresh Raina – 5/10 – Made some very valuable runs in the end helping India build up a formidable total.

Harbhajan Singh – 4/10 – picked up the key wickets of Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi.

Zaheer Khan – 3/10 – provided the initial breakthrough though more was expected frm him.

Ashish Nehra – 4/10 – the most economical, bowled a number of dot balls, overall bowled quite tactfully

Munaf Patel – 3/10 – got 2 wickets including the key wicket of Haffeez who was going pretty strong and bowled the only maiden for India.

Overall Points


Batting – 6/10

Bowling – 5/10

Team – 6/10

India Vs Pakistan, Semi Final - Match Review

India Vs Pakistan – 2nd Semi Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, 30th March –Mohali

India made one change from the previous game, Nehra called in for Aswin and Pakistanis walked in unchanged. The day started off perfectly for the Indians with the hosts winning the toss and electing to bat first. Sehwag and Sachin provided a perfect fierce start to the team. If there is a thing called luck, then Sachin (85 runs) had it in abundance. He was provided not one, not two but three lifelines, which proved to be very costly to the Pakistanis. The only thing he missed out on was his record of 100th international century. What further helped matters was the opposition’s sloppy work in the field, catches being dropped, and the overall poor display of fielding which helped Indian conjure a total of 260.

In view of the not so good Indian bowling performance, the total looked every bit defendable.

In spite of a promising start, the Pakistanis could never really lift their game and build the momento. It all came down to Misbah ul Haq who batted sensibly and tried to stay at the wickets. He hit some shots toward the end but alas it was too late! The Men in Green were just outclassed by the Men in Blue!

It was a day where things seemed to be destined…where everything went right in the favor of the home team - India! Moreover, they played as a team and looked ferocious. Overall, it was good game of cricket!
Now its time for the Finals…The Last match – INDIA Vs SRI LANKA, The countdown begins!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sri Lanka - The first team to March into the Finals!

Sri Lanka Vs New zealand – 1nd Semi Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, 29th March - Columbo

It came as no surprise, Sri Lanka won the game in Columbo, their home ground but not without some hiccups! After a Chasing a total of 217, Sri Lanka were off to good start, the top 3 playing their parts pretty well! It was somewhere in the middle they stuttered which made things difficult for them. But they had to do it in the end, with the entire stadium cheering for their home team, and for the man who was playing his last match on the home turf - Yes! Muttiah Murlidharan!!


So, then Sri Lanka becomes the first team to enter the finals,
who will be the second one??
India Or Pakistan

4 and a half hours to go... The countdown has already begun. There is already some news that the rain Gods are bracing themselves up to spoil the party! Lets hope for the best!!!

Till the match begins, you can get a hang of the two teams by reading the preview here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

India Vs Pakistan - 2nd Semi Final, Match Preview

India Vs Pakistan – 2nd Semi Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The mother of all battles, the war without weapons… The match that is worthy of a cult status…

Indian top order has been in good form with Sachin, Sehwag scoring the bulk of the runs along with Yuvraj Singh. But Gambhir has struggled in the middle right through and Kohli, after a scintillating start against the Bangladeshis has not done much either. But the addition of Suresh Raina has provided some much needed solidity to the lower order as Dhoni is also out of sorts. The bowling is led by Zaheer Khan who has taken the bulk of the wickets along with Yuvraj Singh. Harbhajan Singh needs to play a vital part against the Pakistan team if India is to do well in this game as the pressure will be huge.

Pakistan batting has struggled almost all through the tournament though it has had its moments. Hafeez and Asad Shafiq have added solidity to the top order while the middle order is strengthened by Younis Khan and Misbah Ul Haq. The lower order has hard hitters in Umar Akmal, Abdur Razzaq and Shahid Afridi. It is their bowling however that is very strong and Afridi is the leading wicket taker in this edition of the world cup 2011. He also has for company Hafeez and Abdur Rehman along with Ajmal to support him in the spin department. The fast bowling is also going strong with Umar Gul playing a vital role for them. There is still suspense whether Shoaib Akthar will play or not!!

The fielding may not be very important in this tie and it will be interesting to see which side that fields badly.

Key Battles to look out for in the match between India Vs Pakistan, 30th March - Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh, India

1. Pakistan top Order Vs Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh

2. M S Dhoni Vs Shahid Afridi

3. Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh Vs Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi

Likely contenders for the Man of the Series/Tournament at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

My shortlist of the players who can win the Man of the Series/Tournament at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)

Wickets - 21
Runs - 65
Catches - 4

Yuvraj Singh (India)

Wickets - 11
Runs - 341
Catches - 2

Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Wickets - 6
Runs - 394
Catches - 5

These three men are strong contenders in my opinion and one of them will surely get the Man of the Series Award in this World Cup... Any other names that I have missed here, add them in the comments section below!!!

The Audience Poll Results - Who will win the Cricket World Cup 2011

Here is the result of the poll WHO WILL WIN THE ICC Cricket World Cup which I had started on my blog

India - 4 votes

Sri Lanka - 3 votes

South Africa - 2 votes

Australia - 1 vote

Pakistan - 1 vote

New Zealand - 0 votes

England - 0 votes

West Indies - 0 votes

You can also view the results on my sidebar, if you still want to add your views, add them in the comments section below!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Highest Run Getters and the Highest Wicket Takers, Till the Quarter Finals

The Highest Run Getters and the Highest Wicket takers in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 till the Quarter Final stage (including the Quarter final matches) - 

Highest RUN Getters

1. Jonathan Trott (England) - 422 in 7 innings

2. Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka) - 394 in 7 innings

3. Sachin Tendulkar (India) - 379 in 7 innings

4. Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) - 363 in 6 innings

5. Upul Tharanga (Sri Lanka)- 363 in 7 innings

Highest WICKET Takers

1. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) - 21 wickets in 7 matches

2. Zaheer Khan (India) - 17 wickets in 7 matches

3. Robin Peterson (South Africa) - 15 wickets in 7 matches

4. Tim Southee (New Zealand) - 15 wickets in 7 matches

5. Imran Tahir (South Africa) - 14 wickets in 5 matches

Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand – 1st Semi Final, Match Preview

Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand – 1st Semi Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The first semi final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is upon us. It is a repeat of the 2007 edition when Sri Lanka beat New Zealand comfortably riding on a century by the then Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene and 4 wickets from the spin master Muttiah Murlitharan.

New Zealand batting has been firing in patches and one can say that all their batsmen Brendon Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor have had decent hits in the middle. The middle order of Scot Styris, Jacob Oram and Kane Williamson played well in the last match Vs South Africa. Their bowling is led by talismanic skipper Daniel Vettori and he will be ably supported by Tim Southee, Nathan Mc Cullum, Jacob Oram and Scot Styris. But it is their fielding which is their strongest suit. Guptill in the game against South Africa was just awesome, he was everywhere… diving, flying, sliding… One of the most brilliant fielding displays of recent times!!!

The Sri Lankans on the other hand have all their top order batsmen in a pink of form with Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene all having scored hundreds at some point or the other till now in this World Cup!! Infact the opening combo has two 200 run partnerships in the current tournament, one of them unbeaten!!! The middle order though is a bit of a concern for them as they have not spent enough time in the middle till now. The bowling is led by the eccentric Lasith Malinga and he has for support the old war horse Muttiah Murlitharan. They also have Angelo Matthews, Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis who can deceive the Kiwis with their variations. But the fitness of Murli will be an issue. They also dropped a few catches in the last match Vs England.

On paper this may seem like a pretty one sided affair with everything stacked up against the New ZealandersThe pitch, the conditions, the quality of players, the weather, home crowd support…. But it is who plays better cricket for the duration of 100 overs, soaks up the pressure well and remains calm under tough circumstances will come out trumps.

Key Battles to look out for in the match between Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand, 29th March - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

1. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene Vs Daniel Vettori, Nathan Mc Cullum

2. Lasith Malinga Vs Brendon Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor

3. Muttiah Murlitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath Vs Kiwi Middle-Lower Order

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Semi Final Line Ups

The Semi Final Line Ups are as follows
 
Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand, 29th March - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

India Vs Pakistan, 30th March - Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh, India

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Black caps suffocate the Proteas... South Africa Choke yet again!

With South Africa choking yet again when it mattered, and New Zealand advancing through to the semis, we have come to the last leg of the knock outs today!

Who will be the fourth and the final team to make it to the semis?
Sri Lanka or England?

Only time will tell what unravels in the Sri Lanka Vs England clash today!

Will Sri Lanka win today and set up a clash with New Zealand in the Semi Finals at Colombo???

Will we see an all sub continental team clash in Mumbai on the 2nd of April???

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Review of Team India for the Quarter Final game Vs Australia

Marks for the Indian Players for the match VS Australia

Sachin Tendulkar – 5/10 – soaked up the pressure in a tricky run chase, came up with a steady 50.

Virender Sehwag – 2/10 – did not look fit to me, was scratchy throughout…

Gautam Gambhir – 5/10 – struggled once again, looked scratchy… but made a 50, needlessly got run out.

Virat Kohli – 2/10 – did not contribute with the bat much but was brilliant in the field…

Yuvraj Singh – 8/10 – made a lovely 50, took 2 wickets… won the team the match in the end, got another man of the match!!

MS Dhoni – 4/10 – failed with the bat again but was aggressive with the field placings today!!

Suresh Raina – 6/10 – fielded brilliantly and made a good contribution down the order…

Harbhajan Singh – 4/10 – bowled well for once, but where are the wickets??

Zaheer Khan – 5/10 – brilliant bowling in the middle overs once again from him, took two important wickets…

R Ashwin – 4/10 – took two wickets, was energetic in the field... looks more dangerous than Harbhajan at the moment…

Munaf Patel – 2/10 – looked out of sorts, the Aussies targeted him and got away with it.

Overall Points

Batting – 6.5/10

Bowling – 7/10

Team – 7/10

India Vs Australia, Quarter Final – Match Review

India Vs Australia – 2nd Quarter Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, 24th March - Ahmedabad

India made one change from the previous game, Virender Sehwag came in for the Yousuf Pathan and Suresh Raina kept his place from the previous match against West Indies. For the Australians David Hussey came in place of Steven Smith.

Australia won the toss and as expected Ricky Ponting elected to bat first. The pitch showed signs of wear and tear and the Aussies were very cautious in their approach at the start. They reached 40 for the loss of in form Shane Watson at the end of 10 overs. Haddin started to open up and hit an important 50 but fell soon after. Michael Clarke and mike Hussey fell without any significant contribution to the score but Ponting marched on. In the company of David Hussey he flourished even further and hit a magnificent century. The Aussies finished with 260 at the end of their 50 overs, Ricky showed that “Form is temporary but class is permanent”.

260 seemed a very good score with the pitch assisting spin, the ball keeping low and the ball also holding up a little on the batsmen…

Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag took advantage of some pretty wayward stuff from Shaun Tait but Brett Lee bowled very well at the start. It was Shane Watson who got the first wicket when Sehwag could not keep a short pitched bowl down and top edged it to Mike Hussey. But Gautam Gambhir steadied the innings and the nerves with Sachin Tendulkar, both hit patient 50’s. Gambhir was senselessly run out while MS Dhoni followed him soon after to the pavilion, the match seemed in the balance with India requiring 73 runs at about run a ball. Suresh Raina joined Yuvraj Singh, both played and missed a few and hit a few of the middle and finally won it in the end with 2.2 overs to spare.

It was a good game, lived up to its billing of a high profile clash of the titans… the pressure on the players was immense and the Aussies fought till the very end… A great game, Pakistan awaits India next!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Will India play Pakistan in the Semi Finals???

With Pakistan securing an easy win over the West Indies yesterday and booking a place in the Semi Finals, they against the winners of the India Vs Australia clash today...

Will India win today and set up a dream clash with Pakistan in the Semi Finals at Mohali???

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sri Lanka Vs England – 4th Quarter Final, Match Preview

Sri Lanka Vs England – 4th Quarter Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Another game involving England, yes they have made it through to the quarter finals after all the ups and downs and gut wrenching moments that they gave us till now!! Do they have enough in their tanks to topple the mighty Sri Lankans in their own backyard, their fortress – The R Premadasa at Colombo.

England have a battle hardened captain in Andrew Strauss to open the batting along with a struggling Matt Prior. Jonathan Trott and Ian bell have been in fine nick and the addition of Eoin Morgan has strengthened the English middle order immensely Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann have all been contributing with the bat in their own little ways. The bowling is led by off spinner Graeme Swann but he was ably supported by James Tredwell in the last match Vs West Indies. Tim Bresnan has bowled his heart out but James Anderson has been pretty ordinary thus far!!

The Sri Lankans on the other hand have all their top order batsmen in ominous form with Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene all having scored hundreds at some point or the other till now in this World Cup!! The middle order though is a bit of a concern for them as they have not spent enough time in the middle till now. The bowling is led by the unconventional Lasith Malinga and he has for support the old war horse Muttiah Murlitharan. They also have Angelo Matthews and Ajantha Mendis who can bamboozle the English with his variations.

Expect a thriller, a noisy stadium and a party crowd come this Saturday, this will be one of the best Quarter Final matches…

Key Battles to look out for in the match between Sri Lanka Vs England, 26th March - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

1. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene Vs Graeme Swann

2. Lasith Malinga Vs Andrew Strauss

3. Muttiah Murlitharan, Ajantha Mendis Vs Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell,Eoin Morgan

South Africa Vs New Zealand – 3rd Quarter Final, Match Preview

South Africa Vs New Zealand – 3rd Quarter Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

South Africa look well balanced and well rounded with all their bases covered superbly. They have excellent spin options with leg spinner Imran Tahir, off spinner Johan Botha and a left arm spinner in Robin Peterson. Their fast bowling attack is the most feared and awkward to face in world cricket at the moment with both Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel breathing fire down the opposition batsmen. The batting seems to be in a pink of health too with Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB De Villiers and JP Duminy all amongst the runs. Only Greame Smith has not fired till now and he will be keen to play a captains knock in the knock out stages of the tournament!!!

New Zealand have their own match winners in Brendon Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor. They have all had a good run in this tournament and will be hoping to continue the trend. The middle order for the black caps though has been extremely shaky and inconsistent till now with Scot Styris, James Franklin and kane Williamson failing in almost all the matches. Their bowling though will be bolstered by the return of their talismanic skipper Daniel Vettori and he will be ably supported by Tim Southee, Nathan Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder and Scot Styris.

On paper this may seem a mis-match but South Africa are known to crumble in the knock out stages of a big tournament like the World Cup where as the Kiwis are known to punch well above their weight in the same!!!

Key Battles to look out for in the match between South Africa Vs New Zealand, 25th March - Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh

1. Hashim Amla, De Villiers Vs Daniel Vettori

2. Kiwi fielding Vs Proteas fielding

3. Imran Tahir, Johan Botha, Robin Peterson Vs Brendon Mc Cullum, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

India Vs Australia - 2nd Quarter Final, Match Preview

India Vs Australia – 2nd Quarter Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

This is the big that everyone in India is eagerly waiting for!! The teams have had some great games in the last few years and both will be confident of their chances in this one…

India look very good on paper but have a plethora of problems… their bowling has not been clicking (Yuvraj is picking wickets), batting has been collapsing in the last 3-4 games and the fielding has only just been okSachin has scored two tons but India could win neither of those games!! India has a lot to do and think before the big match and hopefully Dhoni will be proactive come Thursday! Zaheer and Harbhajan will be the main men for India in the bowling department and will have to shoulder the bulk responsibility.

Australia on the other hand has lost their first world cup game in years and will be keen to bounce back. They will never go down without a fight and will present India with one of their toughest challenges. Watson and Clarke have been in great form though Hussey and big-match-player Ponting cannot be overlooked. The pace trio of Lee, Tait and Johnson will be looking to intimidate the Indian batsmen but can go for plenty of runs if they stray form the lines and lengths!!

Can’t wait for the match to start, give me your views till then!!!

Key Battles to look out for in the match between India Vs Australia, 24th March - Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad, India

1. Shane Watson, Michael Clarke Vs Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh

2. M S Dhoni Vs Ricky Ponting

3. Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh Vs Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson

Pakistan Vs West Indies - 1st Quarter Final, Match Preview

Pakistan Vs West Indies - 1st Quarter Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The two most unpredictable teams go head to head in the 1st Quarter Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur in Bangladesh.

Though on form one will have to say that Pakistan are clear favorites having beaten both Sri Lanka and Australia in group stages but they were also pummeled by weaker New Zealand… So you do not know which Pakistan turns up on the day!! The form Afridi showed with the ball in the first three games has been missing lately though they have Umar Gul who has been bowling brilliantly. The top order has been inconsistent though young Asad Shafiq has added solidity. The middle order has been in decent form though with Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq and Umer Akmal scoring most of the runs for them till now…

For the West Indies, Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach will be back and that will definitely be a big boost for them. Gayle and Devon Smith at the top of the order have been good for the West Indies. Sarwan and Pollard have scored on and off… the finger injury to Pollard will be a concern for the West Indies at the moment. They also have good spinners in Benn and Bishoo.

Just sit back and relax and enjoy the game between two of the most fascinating teams in this World Cup.

Key Battles to look out for in the match between Pakistan Vs West Indies, 23rd March - Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh

1. Chris Gayle Vs Umar Gul

2. Shahid Afridi Vs Kieron Pollard

3. Devendra Bishoo, Suleiman Benn Vs Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq, Umer Akmal

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Quarter Final Line Ups

The Quarter Final Line Ups are as follows


Pakistan Vs West Indies, 23rd March - Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh

India Vs Australia, 24th March - Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad, India

South Africa Vs New Zealand, 25th March - Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh

Sri Lanka Vs England, 26th March - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

My review of Team India for the game Vs West Indies

Marks for the Indian Players for the match VS West Indies

Sachin Tendulkar – 2/10 – got out for just 2 but he received an absolutely unplayable delivery in the first over.

Gautam Gambhir – 1/10 – struggled once again, looked scratchy… made just 22.

Virat Kohli – 4/10 – made a vital 50 and part of a good partnership with Yuvraj…

Yuvraj Singh – 8/10 – made a lovely ton, took 2 wickets… he seems to be doing everything in the team right now along with Sachin!!

MS Dhoni – 3/10 – Failed with the bat for the nth time and did not inspire the team in the middle overs when they looked flat!!

Suresh Raina – 3/10 – his first game, got out cheaply but took an important wicket and was superb in the field

Yusuf Pathan – 1/10 – swung the bat wildly to make quick runs but got out for a cheaply, once again.

Harbhajan Singh – 4/10 – started badly but came back well in the latter overs.

Zaheer Khan – 5/10 – broke the crucial partnership that led to the Windies collapse…

R Ashwin – 4/10 – was Ok with the ball, nothing special that could make the batsmen lose sleep!!

Munaf Patel – 3/10 – didn’t do much; Dhoni did not give him many overs.

Overall Points

Batting – 5/10

Bowling – 5/10

Team – 5/10

India Vs West Indies – Match Review

India Vs West Indies – 20 March 2011, ICC Cricket World Cup, Chennai

India made two changes from the previous game, Suresh Raina came in for the injured Sehwag and R Ashwin finally made way in place of Ashish Nehra. For the West Indies both Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach were not playing.

India lost Sachin Tendulkar in the first over to a beauty, he made just 2 runs. Gambhir struggled against the pace attack and fell soon after with India at 51/2. Then came Indias best phase in batting with both Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli looking in good form and hitting the ball well. Kohli completed his 50 but fell soon after. Yuvraj completed his 13th ODI hundred but looked drained of energy upon reaching there. From 218/3 they were 268 all out losing their last 7 wickets for just 50 runs!!

West Indies started well and Devon Smith and Ramnaresh Sarwan took them to 154/2 in the 31st over but then Zaheer Khna broke the partnership and with it broke the resilience and will power of the Windies batsmen. They too collapsed getting all out for a paltry score of just 188 and India won the game comfortably by 80 runs. They now play against Australia on the 24th March in Ahmedabad in the Quarter Finals… What a game that will be!!

Though India won the game there were too many weaknesses that one could clearly see – 

1. Poor handling of the short ball

2. Batting collapse once again (read Vs England and Vs South Africa)

3. Looking dispirited, deflated and disinterested in the field for a long long time!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

India Vs West Indies - Match Preview

India v West Indies, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The last match of the group stages will provide the fans another chance to catch a glimpse of their superstars.

Now, if this is a must win game for India or not will be known by the result of the South Africa Vs Bangladesh game to be played on Saturday (if Bangladesh win then India must win to avoid getting into a net run rate situation with England).

The Indian batting has looked good on occasions (Vs England and Vs Bangladesh) but pretty ordinary on others (Vs Ireland, Vs Netherland and Vs South Africa). they will have to pull up their socks if India are to stand any chance of winning the cup.

The West Indies team has also looked very unpredictable but they can beat any side on its day. The Chepauk pitch will also provide an interesting battle as batsmen will not find it easy to score runs on it and a score of about 260-275 will be considered a par score.

India should look to win the game and anything less will not go down well with the fans!!
Key Battles to look out for in the match between India v West Indies on this Sunday, the 20th of March 2011 at Chennai
1. Chris Gayle Vs Zaheer Khan
2. Kieron Pollard Vs Harbhajan Singh
3. Sulieman Benn, Devendra Bishoo Vs Indian Middle Order
Update - Bangladesh are 25/4 right now chasing 285 for victory Vs South Africa

Friday, March 18, 2011

England keep their Hopes Alive

England lived up to its reputation of being completely unpredictable in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as they completed another close, nail biting finish with the West Indies and came out victorious by 18 runs.

They thus kept their hopes alive of progressing to the Quarter Finals and gave their fans and indeed the fans who love the game of cricket another game to relish and cherish!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

England VS West Indies - The Crunch Game

The first Knock out game in this World Cup 2011, The game England VS West Indies

It is a must win game for England, if they lose this one then they are definitely out of the competition but even a win is not enough to secure them a place in the Quarter finals. Their fate will depend on the game Bangladesh Vs South Africa, if Bangladesh win that one then England will be on the way back home.

England have given the most memorable moments in this World Cup till now, this may well be their last game!!

Hoping to see another close game, I am still to decide which team I am supporting... Just want a great game, a close game, a tough game, a game going down to the wire... Hope England give us another game to remember!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Highest Run Getters and the Highest Wicket Takers

The Highest Run Getters and the Highest Wicket takers in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 till now - 

Highest RUN Getters

1. Virender Sehwag (India)- 327 in 5 innings

2. Sachin Tendulkar (India) - 324 in 5 innings

3. AB De Villiers (South Africa) - 318 in 4 innings

4. Andrew Strauss (England) - 298 in 5 innings

5. Jonathan Trott (England) - 289 in 5 innings

Highest WICKET Takers

1. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) - 16 wickets in 5 matches

2. Sulieman Benn (West Indies) - 12 wickets in 4 matches

3. Zaheer Khan (India) - 12 wickets in 5 matches

4. Harvir Baidwan (Canada) - 12 wickets in 5 matches

5. Imran Tahir (South Africa) - 11 wickets in 3 matches

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Difference Between todays Team India and the Australian team of the 2000's

When Australia were the leading team in world cricket (in the 2000’s) they did not only win their matches… They annihilated the opposition completely leaving them shell shocked and completely dispirited and deflated. It would take those teams, days to recover from the mental scars that the Aussies inflicted upon them!!

They could hold the favorites tag with a smile on their faces… they enjoyed it and all the attention. They played like real favorites… never got under any pressure (they had players who always gave their best under pressure). The teams played 200 percent of their abilities, gave everything that they had but still found themselves well short of the Aussies!!

On the other hand, India touted as overwhelming favorites due to various reasons (strong batting line-up, home conditions, spinners, etc, etc) have not even remotely played like that.

They have succumbed to the pressure, not beaten any major team (read games Vs England and Vs South Africa) 25 days into the tournament, struggled to win against minnows like Ireland and Netherlands, their spinners have been effective, pace bowlers have been hammered, fielding has been dodgy like always and the skipper who takes odd decisions and even justifies them in the post match conferences.

Just to add something more, Australia even with the so called weak team have not lost a single match till now. They may not be the same force as they used to be once but they still know how to win.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My review of Team India for the game Vs South Africa

Marks for the Indian Players for the match Vs South Africa

Virender Sehwag – 6/10 – gave a fiery start to the innings, like he always does, came off this time.

Sachin Tendulkar – 8/10 – got a magnificent hundred, his 99th ton overall, couldn’t ask for more from the little master.

Gautam Gambhir – 6/10 – got a 50, played well with Sachin after Sehwag was dismissed.

Yuvraj Singh – 2/10 – failed with bat and ball but he cannot win matches everytime.

MS Dhoni – 0/10 – idiotic captaincy, the team changes he makes are weird and the reasons he gives are wierder!! He has lost the magic that he had, once…

Yusuf Pathan – 0/10 – swung the bat wildly to make quick runs but got out for a duck, did not bowl well.

Virat Kohli – 1/10 – was good in the field and contributed 1 run...

Harbhajan Singh – 5/10 – picked up wickets this time but needed to be more accurate.

Zaheer Khan – 3/10 – did not get pasted by the batsmen, but where are the wickets???

Ashish Nehra – 0/10 – the new Chawla of our bowling, bowled a pathetic last over as in the whole match.

Munaf Patel – 1/10 – got 2 wickets but the economy rate was alarmingly high.

Overall Points

Batting – 3/10

Bowling – 3/10

Team – 2/10

India Vs South Africa – Match Review

India Vs South Africa – 12 March 2011, ICC Cricket World Cup, Jamtha, Nagpur

Piyush Chawla was finally dropped but it was not R Ashwin who made way for him but Munaf Patel was the man who MS Dhoni turned to!! So India, this time, against a team that they perceived to be weak players of spin at the beginning of the cup (remember Kris Srikkanth and Dhoni telling the world that they picked three spinners in the squad for teams like England and South Africa), decided to go in with just a lone spinner and 3 pacemen.

Sehwag and Sachin provided a blistering start, just the start that they would have hoped for at the beginning of the match. 87 runs came off the first 10 overs and SA appeared to be deflated… Steyn and Morkel were not spared either and both went for plenty!! Sehwag fell when the score was 142 but Gambhir started where his Delhi team mate had left it… At 267 for 2 India were looking at least 350… But then this is India, they had to do something that was out of the ordinary… They lost the last nine wickets for just 29 runs, did not bat the whole 50 overs, could not even touch 300 and were bowled out for just 296!!! Steyn ended up with a 5 wicket haul…

South Africa started the chase cautiously and though they lost Smith early but Amla and Kallis never looked in any danger. But they both got out (both scored 50’s) and De Villiers also made a 50 but could not carry on till the end. 13 were required off the last over and Dhoni handed the ball to Nehra who generously handed 16 runs off the first balls itself to seal the contest… It was again cameos from tailenders like Botha and Peterson that sealed the game for them…

Sachins 99th overall (ODI+Tests) hundred was left like a side note, Alas!!

India have a lot to ponder upon and I do not think that they will win the World Cup with this bowling lineup even if they have 7 Sachin Tendulkars in the batting line up!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Tigers Roar —The Bangaldeshi’s keep their hopes alive in the 2011 World Cup

What happens when two unpredictable teams walk out in the middle? Well, we get an exciting match of England vs Bangladesh going!

March 11 - England vs Bangladesh

The home team, Bangladesh walked out, with pressure-jaded shoulders carrying the burden of a horrific loss against WI, to prove their fans that they have it in them. England on the other hand has seen it all – drama, excitement, thrill - what next now? was the only question playing on everyone’s mind.

The minnows of the clash, Bangladesh started out pretty well clipping the key wickets of Strauss and Prior quite early. Trott and Morgan managed to hold their ends and built a good partnership. But the early setbacks led these two to tread very carefully and were ably restricted by the Bangladeshi spin trio of Shakib, Razzak and Naeem who bowled beautifully and managed to take 7 wickets amongst them. After this partnership fell apart, it didn’t take for Bangladesh to wrap the opposition up and had a challenge of chasing 225 runs ahead of them.

225 runs - Was it a safe total to defend? Couldn’t be said as it was England who was defending it!

In reply, Bangladesh started out pretty well losing out their prolific batsman Tamim Iqbal who made a good 52 run stand along with Kayes. Kayes carried on the inflow of runs making an important 60 runs before getting run out by Shahzad. The middle order couldn’t quite build up on the start except Shakib who provided some consolidation there with his contribution of 32.

Bangladeshi fans lost all hopes after the dismissal of their captain but little did they know that the real battle was about to begin… It all began with Mahmuddulah hitting a boundary off Swann in the 42nd over followed up by a six and a four by Shafiul. They bought a dead match to life from thereon - ticking the scoreboard, complementing each other well and above all playing with a steady head! A wicket at this point could have helped England’s cause but the 46th over from a very lost Anderson failing to find his length further slipped the game out of England’s hand to the dangerous point of no return.

In the end, Mahmuddulah hit a four, won the game for their team in style and the stadium burst in thunderous roars of joy and ecstacy! 

The tigers had let out a ROAR – loud enough for the world to sit up and take notice!

Friday, March 11, 2011

India Vs South Africa - Match Preview

India v South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

After squandering the golden opportunity to experiment with the bowling against The Irish and the Dutch, India now face South Africa next.

Considering that India struggled to win their last two matches chasing against modest teams, the batsmen would be eager to put up a good show in this match. The bowlers too will be under pressure as the Proteas will surely look to attack the weak Indian bowling line-up. India has had their share of problems both in batting and in bowling (their fielding is also nothing to write home about) and this match will give them a stern test.

The South Africans, on the other hand, after losing to England (or was it choking???) will be looking to make amends and put in a solid performance against one of the pre tournament favorites. Their bowling has been exceptional in all the three games but they will miss the services of the talented mystery spinner Imran Tahir. The batting too looks in good form with all Amla, Duminy and De Villiers in run scoring mode.

All in all this promises to be a keen contest between bat and ball between the two pre-tournament favorites which everyone is awaiting…

Key Battles to look out for in the match between India v South Africa on this Saturday, the 12th of March 2011 at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur

1. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel Vs Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag

2. Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla VS Hashim Amla, Kallis, De Villiers

3. Indian fielding Vs South African fielding

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My review of Team India for the game Vs Netherland

Marks for the Indian Players for the match Vs Netherland

Virender Sehwag – 4/10 – gave a fiery start to the innings but played a rash shot to get out.

Sachin Tendulkar – 4/10 – got out just when he was starting to look good, needed to carry on.

Gautam Gambhir – 3/10 – got a start again like in the previous three matches, looks too fidgety at the moment.

Yuvraj Singh – 7/10 – took 2 wickets and was sharp in the field, made a 50 and took India home in crunch situation just like in the previous match.

MS Dhoni – 5/10 – made some runs and finished the game off in the company of Yuvraj Singh.

Yusuf Pathan – 4/10 – swung the bat wildly to make quick runs but got out cheaply, bowled well.

Virat Kohli – 4/10 – was good in the field and contributed some runs.

Harbhajan Singh – 2/10 –as a senior spinner in the side failed to take even a single wicket, though was very stingy in giving away runs.

Zaheer Khan – 6/10 – started excellently, picked up 3 wickets… looked sharp, looks in good shape.

Ashish Nehra – 4/10 – bowled ok, picked up a solitary wicket, was his first match in this World Cup.

Piyush Chawla – 2/10 – bowled short balls and long hops... though he got wickets today but he was very lucky to get them!

Overall Points

Batting – 5/10

Bowling – 7/10

Team – 6/10

India Vs Netherland – Match Review

India Vs Netherland – 09 March 2011, ICC Cricket World Cup, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

India made just one change from the previous match (Ashish Nehra came in for Munaf Patel). The Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat first on the Kotla pitch.

The Indian bowling was tight but once again they did not look threatening, the first wicket fell after the Dutch had crossed 50 runs. Though Piyush Chawla took 2 wickets but there was nothing new that he dished out, the same long hops and short balls, just like he had against England and against Ireland. They managed 189 in the end with a few lusty hits to the boundary in the slog overs.

India came out blazing, trying to finish off the match in probably 20 overs, raced to 69 without loss in the 8th over but then were in a spot of bother again at 99/4 just like they were Vs Ireland. Yuvraj Singh once again hit a steady 50 and MS Dhoni gave him company till the end this time around. India won the match by 5 wickets in the 37th over, but not without a hiccup.

Indian batting has not looked comfortable at all in chasing down even small totals. They need to quickly iron out the flaws as now only big games are left and they seem to have one too many crease to iron at the moment!!!

And a word on Netherland – they showed glimpses of brilliance just like the Irish had a few days against India, they had their moments in the match, even though they ended up on the losing side.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Best till now, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The best batting and bowling performances till date in this World Cup

Batting

1. Virender Sehwag - 175 Vs Bangladesh

2. Kevin O'Brien - 113 Vs England

3. Andrew Strauss - 158 Vs India

4. Ross Taylor - 131 Vs Pakistan

Bowling

1. Shahid Afridi - 34/4 in 10 overs Vs Sri Lanka

2. Kemar Roach - 27/6 in 8.4 overs Vs Netherland

3. Lasith Malinga - 38/6 in 8.4 overs Vs Kenya

4. Stuart Broad - 15/4 in 6.4 overs Vs South Africa

I have thoroughly enjoyed these performances, tell me your favorite ones...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

India Vs Netherland - Match Preview

This is India’s last match against the so called minnows or a weak team. This is the last game where they can experiment a bit with their team combination. I would love to see them go into the match with 5 genuine bowlers as this is their weak point at the moment.

This would provide more flexibility to this side and as it is you cannot expect Yuvraj Singh to pick up 5 wickets against stronger opponents. My five bowlers would be Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and R Ashwin. I would drop either Yousuf Pathan (more likely) or Gautam Gambhir to accommodate the extra bowler.

India should be able to win this comfortably but as Ireland showed against England as also to a certain extent against India, no team in this World Cup can be taken lightly.

Key Battles to look out for in the match between India and Netherland on this Wednesday, the 9th of March 2011 at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

1. Indian Fast Bowlers VS Ryan Ten Doeschate

2. Harbhajan Singh VS the Netherland middle order

Monday, March 7, 2011

My review of Team India for the game Vs Ireland

Marks for the Indian Players for the match Vs Ireland

Virender Sehwag – 1/10 – didn’t do anything in this game, got out cheaply.

Sachin Tendulkar – 3/10 – Got out just when he was starting to look good, needed to carry on.

Gautam Gambhir – 0/10 – failed again, looks too fidgety at the moment.

Yuvraj Singh – 9/10 – took 5 wickets and was sharp in the field, made a 50 and took India home in crunch situation.

MS Dhoni – 4/10 – made some runs but got out at the wrong time, needed to finish the game off.

Yusuf Pathan – 3/10 – dropped a catch in the first over, looked good with the bat.

Virat Kohli – 4/10 – was good in the field and contributed some runs.

Harbhajan Singh – 0/10 – as a senior spinner in the side failed to apply any pressure on the batsmen, failed to take even a single wicket.

Zaheer Khan – 6/10 – started excellently, picked up 3 wickets… looked sharp.

Munaf Patel – 4/10 – bowled ok, could have been better.

Piyush Chawla – 0/10 –bowled short balls all through, bowled wides, no balls and long hops...

Overall Points

Batting – 6/10

Bowling – 6/10

Team – 6/10

India Vs Ireland – Match Review

India Vs Ireland – 06 March 2011, ICC Cricket World Cup

India stuck to the same side that tied the match with England – I thought that they would experiment a bit by playing 5 bowlers, but that was not to be!!

India started off well by reducing Ireland to 10 for 2 but then failed to pick up wickets for a long time. Piyush Chawla again dished out rubbish and Harbhajan Singh was again not able to either pick up wickets or look threatening. It was the part time spin of Yuvraj Singh that came to the rescue of India as he ended up with a 5 wicket haul and Ireland folded up for 207. All eyes were on Kevin O’Brien but for once he failed with the bat!

Sehwag started in his own style hitting the first ball that he faced for a boundary but then a leading edge saw the back of him. Gambhir followed him soon after to the pavilion. And at 100 for 4, team India looked in some trouble and a tad nervous. But it was a day that belonged to Yuvraj Singh as he scored a patient 50 and steered India over the line with 24 balls to spare.

Not a very clinical performance by India but a win is a win nonetheless!!

And a word on Ireland – they showed a lot of heart even though they lost but they are a joy to watch as they show a lot of promise and competitiveness.

Friday, March 4, 2011

India VS Ireland

First things firstIndian bowlers have been rubbish so far and they look the worst amongst all the major teams participating in this World Cup 2011. They have a very good chance to hit their straps in this game and show that they are not as bad as they have been so far!!

I don’t think hat the Indian batsmen will be tested so much but then taking teams like Ireland lightly can cost any team big time and who this better than this Indian team.

But Ireland is no mug and will definitely provide some resistance to the Indians. After all they defeated both Pakistan and Bangladesh in the previous edition of the world cup in the Caribbean.

Many of the Irish players take part in the competitive English County Cricket and some of their players like Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien and George Dockrell are very good players.

Key Battles to look out for in the match between India and Ireland on this Sunday, the 6th of March 2011 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore :

1. Indian Fast Bowlers VS Ed Joyce/ Paul Stirling

2. Harbhajan Singh VS the O’Brien Brothers

3. George Dockrell VS the Indian Middle Order


UPDATE

Ireland have defeated England and the Indians now, must be very worried... Especially their bowlers... If India doesn't bat first and get about 400 runs then I think it will be mighty close game!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My review of Team India for the game Vs England

Virender Sehwag – 5/10 – got off to a flying start, needed to carry on.

Sachin Tendulkar – 8/10 – a brilliant hundred… paced his innings very well.

Gautam Gambhir – 5/10 – got a start again just like the previous game… again failed to make a bigger score.

Yuvraj Singh – 4/10 – made a 50 but slowed down in the batting powerplay… bowled poorly, fielded ok.

MS Dhoni – 2/10 – made some runs but a poor display of captaincy… never put any pressure on England till he was forced to do so when they took the batting powerplay.

Yusuf Pathan – 2/10 – got out cheaply… bowled poorly.

Virat Kohli – 2/10 – got out cheaply… dropped a catch.

Harbhajan Singh – 0/10 – got out for a duck… then as a senior spinner in the side failed to apply any pressure on the batsmen… dropped a catch too early on of Strauss.

Zaheer Khan – 3/10 – started poorly… came back strongly in the 3rd spell.

Munaf Patel – 2/10 – bowled poorly... gave width early on and could not defend 14 runs in the last over.

Piyush Chawla – 1/10 – looked extremely nervous… bowled short balls all through… gave two sixes in the 49th over.

Overall Points

Batting – 7/10

Bowling – 3.5/10

Team – 5/10

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who would be more happy… India or England?

After making 338 runs, batting first any team would be confident of defending it.

But at the stage when England needed about 70 odd runs from 60 balls, the match had almost slipped out of India’s grasp.

Panic and pressure caused England to lose quick wickets and they needed 29 runs from 2 overs with 3 wickets remaining.

From here on, India should have won the game! No question about that! You call yourself the biggest favorites of the tournament and do not have the bowlers who can defend 29 runs from 2 overs with only tailenders batting.

I think India should be more disappointed that they didn’t win this one… Really… After all the fluctuations of fortunes… after 98 overs of play, India was in a very strong position … But the match was tied… Well, it’s almost a loss for me!
 
So, I think that England would be happy with a tie in the end…
What are your views?

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