ICC World Cup 2011

Both One-Sided!

The two World Cup matches of March 4, 2011 played Ahmedabad and Mirpur, Bangladesh were only one-sided matches throughout. Probably, both New Zealand and West Indies might have enjoyed the easiest and least strenuous victory they can expect in a World Cup tournament. However, both the teams can celebrate the victory as the matches were crucial for them.

The New Zealand players strictly followed the advice from their bowling coach Allan Donald and really presented a clinical performance. They stunningly defeated Zimbabwe by 10 wickets and made themselves nearer to a quarter final berth – just one more win required.

The 50s scored by the Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Brenden McCullum really scattered the Zimbabwe team.

Irrespective of a track which is very friendly to batsmen, the Zimbabwe put up a miserable performance. Their total of 162 was too little for the Kiwis. The Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura seemed to be still in poor form.

At Mirpur, West Indies advanced their stride towards the World Cup Quarter finals with their easy win over Bangladesh by nine wickets. Bangladesh was dismissed after 18.5 overs with a meager 58 runs. Just 12.2 overs was enough for the West Indies to meet the smallest target in the World Cup and thus the day-night match ended in the day itself. The opening batsman of Bangladesh Tamim Iqbal was out with the third ball without taking any run to his credit. Another batsman Mushfiqur Rahim also was out for no runs due to the catch by Ramnaresh Sarwan of New Zealand at short-mid-wicket.  The cricket fans of Bangladesh had to witness the falling of Bangladesh wickets in an unprecedented quick succession. The three West Indian Bowlers captain Darren Sammy, Suleiman Benn and Kemar Roach were able to send all the Bangladesh batsmen back. Only two of them – Junaid Siddique and Mohammed Ashraful could score in double digits.

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Match-Fixing Syndrome

The players of a favorite team are having another risk in these days – when their team fails in a match they have to face allegations of match-fixing. Players of Sri Lanka and Australia are already in the trap due to the unexpected defeats the teams had in the  World Cup.

Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan by 11 runs and the defeat was devastating for the defending champion and that too at the hands of Pakistan which was believed as a weak team this time. The former captain of Sri Lanka Mahela Jayawardene lost for just two runs and Thilan Samaraveera also was dismissed very easily.

A state run TV channel of Sri Lanka reported that a local businessman placed a bet for Sri Lanka loosing the game for $ 18000. The TV Channel argued that had Jayawardene and Samaraveera pair scored more runs, the out come of the match would have been different.

Mahela Jayawardene is considering suing the TV network for the false allegations. It may be recalled that many Sri Lankan players had been grilled in the past by the ICC over match-fixing.

The match played between Australia and Zimbabwe on Feb. 21 also has become controversial. Australia batted first in the match and the opening batsmen Shane Watson and Brad Haddin could score just 28 runs in the first 11 overs. The two batsmen are considered as the most aggressive openers in ODI. Basit Ali, a former Pakistani cricketer told a Pakistan TV channel it was a clear case of spot-fixing.

The ICC has decided to conduct a probe into the performance of the Australian batsmen in the match against Zimbabwe. The Australian openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin are suspected of helping to bet irregularities.

The Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of ICC is keeping close vigil on all matches in the World Cup and as a result the slow start by the Australian batsmen have come under investigation.

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The Caribbeans look forward

The West Indies in the past was considered as the most dreaded one. The West Indies players possessed exceptional skills and for years together their performance was having consistency. All the other cricket teams were wary of the WI team who were able to beat all other teams. Watching a match played by West Indies in the TV used to be a different experience as the games used to be exciting as well as entertaining.

However, their performance during the last couple of years had not been impressive. The results suggest that West Indies have to prove that hey are a big team.

Even now, there is no shortage of high performing cricketers in the team. Players such as Chander Paul, Gayle and Sarwan are all match winners as well as top scorers.

West Indies had won two world cups, and they had been in the finals or semi-finals twice. Thus they have history with them that will speak about the achievements of the team in the past. Many a cricket lovers still would like to see the West Indies lifting the World Cup.

The WI team is to play against the Netherlands on Fed.28. According to the coach of the team Ottis Gibson, the players are confident that they will perform and prove to the world that still they are more than capable. Gibson said that cricket is still very much alive in the Caribbean.

Regarding the chances of his team the coach said that they are well aware of the history of the team as well as there position in the game at the moment. He stressed that they believe in their ability and they want to be positive. Instead of dwelling on the recent set backs the wants to look forward.

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South Africa – a probable semifinalist, but…

South Africa is indeed a strong team. Captain Graeme Smith has proved his might in ODI several times. They have also Jacques Kallis in the team who is one of the best ODI players in the world. He can withstand any amount of pressure and perform. But, his team mates are easily susceptible to pressure. It is very difficult for a team to perform by depending upon just one player. Only Kallis can be considered as a match winner.

The team is lacking spin bowlers. Botha, though a spin bowler is not so powerful.

Batting is also not up to the mark. The middle and lower order batting lacks in depth. When a high-performing team fails to absorb pressure, the unexpected will happen.

South Africa is already strong in fielding. In this aspect, the point-fielder JP Duminy’s role is much significant.

The South African Captain Graeme Smith feels that though they could win over Zimbabwe in the warm up match played in Chennai, the pitch was not up to the mark. In his opinion the low scoring by Zimbabwe was more due to the condition of the pitch than his bowlers. He felt that the pitch was not well prepared.

South Africa will be playing against England on March 6 on the same pitch and that also may be reason for the worry of the SA captain.

During the year 2010, South Africa won 9 out of 11 ODIs played. Though it is a very good record, but for one, all the matches were played against either West Indies or Zimbabwe and not against any of the strong teams.

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About the teams, About the players

The great event has been kicked off. After arduous practicing as well as fresh-ups the teams are now put on the job. There had been lot of predictions, apprehensions, optimisms, criticisms etc. Now every captain, every player and every coach will be having his own opinion about the home team, the other teams and also about the top rank players. Veterans such as former captains and formal players will have a few interesting commends about the players.

Now all the eyes are on the maestro Sachin Tendulkar. While his presence in the team itself is a great inspiration for the young players, Sachin wants to make his last World Cup innings a grand success.

The ‘Captain Cool’ of India M S Dhoni is capable of changing the game according to the situation. Dhoni himself has said prior to the first match with Bangladesh that his team has already picked up the intensity. Veteran Sunil Gavaskar stated that captain Dhoni as well as the coach Gary Kristen never acts violently when subjected to pressure.

The Sri Lankan Skipper Kumar Sangakkara said that every one wants a great world cup and for them every game is vital.

Duncan Fletcher, batting consultant for South Africa considers India and Sri Lanka as the winning sides. He said that the South African team led by Graeme Smith may win at the early stages but to emerge as victorious from the final stage, they desperately need luck on their side. Sunil Gavaskar also has said that South African team had been so near yet so far most of the times and with a bit of luck things would have been quite different for them.

The Australian off-spinner Jason Krejza described Harbhajan Singh as the best spinner in the world. He said that by watching the games played by Harbhajan, he himself could improve a lot.

Former captain of England team, Mike Gatting has praised Kevin Pietersen as an equivalent to Ian Botham.

The West Indies team had a set back when the team management has decided to keep wicket keeper Carlton Baugh and opener Adrian Barath out of the World Cup team.

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Pakistan’s displeasure

The ICC World Cup – 2011 is the 10th world cup and India is hosting world cup for the third time. It is co-hosted by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Fourteen national teams will be participating in the series. The first match will be at Mirpur, Bangladesh and final will be at Mumbai, India.

Pakistan was also included as a host but following the attack on Sri Lankan national team at Lahore in 2009, the ICC disqualified Pakistan to host the match.  Out of the 14 matches that were to be hosted by Pakistan, India was awarded with 8, Sri Lanka 4 and Bangladesh 2.

The Pakistan Cricket Board warned that they will quit the World Cup if they are asked to play in India. The estimated loss for the board by way of match fees will be $10.5 millions. The overall loss will be much more. The Pakistani proposal that Australia/New Zealand will co-host this series and South Asia will host the World Cup 2015 was also turned down.

According to PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, a legal notice has been served against the ICC decision. The monetary loss to PCB and Pakistan Government is really huge.

Including one semi-final and final, India will be hosting 29 matches in eight venues.

Pakistan attempted to shift the venues to the cities of UAE. But, that also was not acceptable to ICC.

The prize money for the winning team and runner up will be $ 3 million and $ i.5 million respectively. The total prize money for the teams in the 1st to 8th position is US$ 7.8 million.

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Indians Dazzled, Kiwis Crushed

The warm up match between India and New Zealand played at Chennai on Feb.16 once again demonstrated the strength of MS Dhoni and his team as well as the poor form of the New Zealand team.

In spite of being a team of potential players, the Kiwis again failed to make an impact on the field.

Tendulkar and Sehwag, though made a promising start, were out with few runs. The powerful partnership between skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina brought the landslide victory with a much impressive total of 360 runs at the loss of five wickets. Dhoni with spectacular 11 fours and stunning 4 sixes heaped 108 runs and was not out through out. Suresh Raina’s half century out of just 26 balls was also a great contribution. When Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli also added 89 and 59 runs respectively, it was up to the Black Caps to chase a winning score of 361. When all the Kiwis were out in their 44th over, they were nowhere near to the 360 mark.

The impressive score of 58 runs out of 54 balls by Brendon McCullum could not save the New Zealand team since the batsman could not withstand the attack from the Indian spin bowlers. Yuvraj singh, Piyush Chawla, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh claimed 2 wickets each.

However, the New Zealand bowlers were not at all aggressive in their bowling. Two of the bowlers – Jacob Oram and Tim Southee managed to take a couple of wickets each.

Unless Captain Daniel Vettori and his team mates start playing positively and with determination, even the survival up to semi-finals will be too difficult for them.

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Pakistan Vs Scandal and Zimbabwe Vs Turmoil

Pakistan and Zimbabwe, the hitherto prominent teams of World Cup serials are this time reeling under problems of their own. While the Pakistani team is under the shadow of the much spoken match-fixing scandal, the Zimbabwe team has been much affected due to the recent political turmoil in their country.

Poor performance led Pakistan to a series of defeats during the year. They were eliminated by India and Sri Lanka from Asia Cup and during the England tour also they met with more defeats which caused Afridi to relinquish his captaincy. The new captain, Salman Butt also could not succeed in improving the performance of the team. Adding insult to injury, the British newspaper ‘News of the World’ revealed a spot fixing scandal by three Pakistani players – Skipper Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. When the three players were banned for five years Pakistan team suffered an unprecedented blow.

The Pak team also lost the ODI series against South Africa. There also the team had another severe blow due to the disappearance of Wicket Keeper Zulqamain Hyder who later revealed at England that he decided to retire from cricket due to severe threats from bookies. Hyder is now trying for asylum in England and revealed that apart from the three banned players more names are involved in the scandal and also that the World Cup – 2011 is also not free of scandals.

In the absence of a captain, the Pakistani pacer Sohaib Akhtar has mentioned that in spite of all the calamities the team is well motivated and they have to win the World Cup at any cost and bring cricket back to Pakistan.

The political instability of Zimbabwe totally ruined the cricket. The former captain Heath Streak was removed from captaincy by an arrogant Cricket Board. However, Zimbabwe cricket is already under re-building. With the only aim of regaining the lost glory of Zimbabwe cricket. Heath Streak and two former cricketers -  Campbell and Grant Flower are working hard to train Zimbabwe team to perform well in the World Cup. Heath Streak is confidant that their team can reach up to quarter finals in spite of all the drawbacks.

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Last Playing World Cup Players

Gallery of last playing world cup players.

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