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A review of the 3rd week of the World Cup 2011 : Mixed Bag and Injuries

Mixed Bag and Injuries
A review of the 3rd week of the World Cup 2011 – Mar 5 to Mar 11 – SL vs Aus to Ban vs Eng
Mar 12 2011

The 3rd week didn’t have too many interesting matches on paper but surprisingly many produced good results except for the washed out match between the last edition finalists Sri Lanka and Australia. The best thing that happened was there was equal competition between bat and ball with not many 250+ scores seen. Fans saw good improved cricket during the 3rd week and towards the fag end of the preliminary rounds, the competition is still very wide open with Australia and India remaining unbeaten in their respective groups.

The week started with a big bang – the clash of the mighty – Aussies, the world champions and Sri Lanka, indomitable in their den. Expected to be a replay or a revenge of the 2007 final did indeed started that way and in a similar fashion the weather too repeated but only this time it didn’t cease to stop enabling Ricky Ponting to remain undefeated captain for record 31 matches. To compensate this loss the next day had cracker of games – both low scoring and both brought out the bowlers effort. After losing to Ireland, the English faced the tournament’s most favourite – South Africa at a venue where the pitch has never behaved the same. England started as favorites for the game though by winning the toss but lost too many quick wickets in the first 5 overs to Robin Peterson. Jonathan Trott and Ravi Bopara’s cautious innings saw England post a modest 171 and South African openers started off well and the attention slowly shifted to the India versus Ireland match. As Zaheer Khan picked up 2 quick wickets, focus shifted completely to the India-Ireland game. But England fast bowler’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad made sure that the sparsely spread crowd at the Chepauk stadium remain glued to their seats to witness a wonderful defense. Later the day Yuvraj Singh’s all-round performance took India comfortably to victory on a cracking Bengaluru pitch. Mid day of the week produced another brilliant ODI match. Ross Taylor demolished the Pakistan bowling along with Jacob Oram in the last 5 overs and scored an unbeaten century. A century after months of draught. A century on his 27th birthday. A century for the first time in world cup. A century that marked the birth of the 178th ODI venue at Pallakele. More than the century, this match will be best remembered for Pakistan keeper Kamran Akmal’s performance behind the stumps and the PJ’s that followed the next day.

Apart from these the other matches were just a formality. Sri Lanka officially cemented their place as the first team to enter quarter finals with personal best performance from Tillekeratne Dilshan with both bat and ball against Zimbabwe. The victory by Sri Lanka was a fitting tribute to the Kandy stadium and 3 wickets by Muttiah Muralitharan was gem on a crown. Canada captain, the local boy Ashish Bagai scented his first world cup victory against Kenya at Delhi; India beat Netherlands but not before the Indians were put under pressure to defend a moderate score and West Indies comfortably up rooted Ireland in the absence of Chris Gayle. Talents worth mentioning were Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan. Ed Joyce showed why he once played for England with beautiful batting for Ireland against West Indies. Eoin Morgan just joined the England team a day or two before their game against Bangladesh and straight away proved why he was badly missed by scoring a half century.

Did I say that other matches are just a formality above? So is the England versus Bangladesh match a formality for England to make their quarter final chance bright or a formality for Bangladesh to make sure that there is still competition in the group for the quarters? The latter is what happened and did that result in throw of flowers at the Bangladesh team bus ? J

The world cup continues to be a tournament of injuries. With many match winning players from visiting teams being left out due to injuries, the list extended to include Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad. Daniel Vettori may be on the line next. Best thing was to bring back the pillar Michael Hussey into the squad.

Plays of the Week
Best Catch
Australia’s Steven Smith’s catch of Upul Tharanga of the bowling of Brett Lee
Best Personal moments
Everyone knew Sachin Tendulkar is famous for giving away his wicket as a gift to debutant bowlers. But only this time they were not debutants but were just fresh youngsters –Ireland’s George Dockrell and Netherlands Peter Seelaar
Best Records
Yuraj Singh’s 50 and 5-fer against Ireland and reaching 100 ODI wickets
Abdul Razzak’s 5000 ODI runs
Sachin Tendulkar’s 2000 World Cup runs
Century of the week
No competition here other than Ross Taylor
Best Batting Innings
Jonathan Trott’s cautious innings against South Africa
Eoin Morgan’s first innings against Bangladesh
William Porterfield’s determined play against India
Best Keeper
Once again Brendon McCullum. May have slipped few catches but watch the NZ vs Pak match to see how many fours he saved from wide deliveries
Best Bowler
Tim Southee’s 3 for 25 from 8 against Pakistan
Stuart Broad’s 4 for 16 from 6.4 against South Africa
Biggest Wicket
Younis Khan b Kyle Mills 0(3)
Disappointing Performance
Kamran Akmal and Matt Prior’s fielding behind stumps against New Zealand and Bangladesh respectively. James Anderson’s death over’s bowling against Bangladesh and 3 weeks into the WC still struggling with line

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