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Cricket World Cup 2011 : Dwindling Fortunes of India & England

England became the first team of Group-B to finish with all 6 of their matches and now they have to wait and watch the results of India’s encounter with West Indies and Bangladesh’s play-off with South Africa. England would be hoping that India beat WI and SA beat B’desh; so that would assure their chances in QF.

But as we have seen before, nothing can be said with surety. England have lived dangerously and survived the worst scares with calm & composure. They were on the verge of losing to SA and WI, but they pulled off victories in both the matches and shocked the opposition. On the other hand, they squandered away their chances of beating minnow teams. They lost to B’desh and Ireland, which was so unexpected. They beat the tough teams and were in turn beaten by smaller teams.

England managed to draw the match against India, and this is where the fate of both team hangs. At the end of the group matches, both teams will sit and reflect upon this tied match. Had the match resulted in a win, we would have had a clear QF qualifier. But cricket is a funny game.

While England has survived living on the edge, India has done just the opposite due to complacency. India has been laid back in their approach, they have not won any match convincingly. They were not able to defend a huge total of 297 against SA, while England defended lesser totals like 171 against SA & 243 against WI.

India has 3 wins, and all 3 against smaller teams. They haven’t kept their nerves in the big matches. They lost to SA and could not win against England. And both matches went down to the last ball of the game. Two good overs could have won us both the games, but we just weren’t upto the task. That’s where captaincy comes in, and Dhoni has looked out of control. He hasn’t been able to inspire the bowlers and while batting he has not been able to motivate himself, let alone inspiring fellow batsmen. Sachin, Gambhir, Sehwag and Zaheer have been the only consistent performers. Rest of the players haven’t done anything of consequence yet.

England can cool their heels and watch the remaining group matches, but India have to be on their toes against WI and win to stay in the tournament. Now that WI has lost a close match to England, they will probably comeback hard on us. This match will be more like an elimination for WI. If they lose the match, they would be out of the tournament. If India loses then they will have to hope that SA beat B’desh, which seems quite probable. But again, there is no surety in this game. Only if India wins against WI and SA beats B’desh, can India breathe easy.

On the other side of the fence, B’desh would be hoping that India beat WI. But apart from pinning their hopes on India, B’desh would also have to beat SA to keep their chances alive. If this happens then WI would be eliminated and B’desh would be in top 4 of Group-B table.

All in all, we have an exciting weekend ahead in which fortunes of all 4 teams, India, England, WI & B’desh, will be decided. But India and England will be most worried, thanks to the tied match. Lets see whose fortune dwindles.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in cricket, sports

 

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Cricket World Cup 2011 : The Imbalance Of The Two Groups

If we see Group-A and Group-B on paper, it seems like a balanced grouping. Both groups have been created, keeping in mind, that the majors qualify to the next round and the minors stay at the bottom of the table. But in actuality, Group-B has seen more action, more ups and downs, more thrills and chills than Group-A.

Having said the above, its not like Group-A have performed predictably. In fact, yesterday NZ beat Pak which was not supposed to happen as per the cricket gurus. No one gave NZ a chance while Pak looked unstoppable. But the belting that Pak bowlers received in the past 8 overs was enough to prove that Pak is not as strong as they have made themselves out to be. Their bowling was superb till the 41st over where NZ scored only 175 runs. But the last 8-9 overs changed the complexion of the game. The birthday boy Ross Taylor took it as a 20-20 match from then on and thrashed the bowlers around to score a fabulous century. NZ scored 125 runs in last 8 overs, coming back from behind. Pak has a vulnerable batting line-up; if you get first 2-3 wickets quickly then you stand a chance to win. And thats exactly what happened. Even Canada almost beat Pak, but for Afridi’s magical spell that saved the day.

The only other interesting match of Group-A, between Australia and Sri Lanka, was washed out; giving both teams a point each. Other than these two interesting duels, all other matches have gone down a predictable path.

Now, coming to Group-B: Ireland beat England, England beat South Africa, South Africa beat West Indies, West Indies beat Bangaladesh and B’desh beat Ireland. Its been a superb competition where no team has been able to breathe easy; whenever they have done so, they have lost. England took it easy against Ireland and paid for it. SA thought they had England figured out when total staring at them was mere 171; but they had to bite the dust. At one stage they were 120 for 3 and then suddenly they were 124 for 6 and finally the chokers tag came back to haunt them. They pulled defeat from the jaws of victory.

Ireland and England have provided wholesome entertainment and made it a point to take every match down the wire. In such atmosphere, only India have been able to hold onto their reputation; albeit they did look like losing to England. But the true test for India will be against SA and WI. Only if India’s bowling had been good, we could have confidently said that they are the team to beat. But for the moment, its still a 50-50 chance. Ireland have the attitude to pip WI and get a QF berth, but the other 3 teams are pretty much decided.

Group-A has no interesting matches ahead. Zimbabwe and Kenya look out of sorts while Canada’s cricketing skill is still in nascent stages. In all probability, the top four right now will remain so till end of the league matches. We can safely say that the Group-B matches will be more watchable and much more interesting with nail biting finish than Group-A matches.

Although ICC had noble intentions, but the two groups that have been formed, have a definite imbalance. At the end of the day, may the best team win.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in cricket, sports

 

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