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Tag: Cricket

Will Anyone Beat Australia?

Matthew Hayden

That might just be a taster of the final to come. And if it is, what a treat that will be! Australia met South Africa for dominance of Group A, both teams already through to the Super 8s round, with the points from this game carrying through to that stage of the competition.

Australia opened the batting and immediately made it clear they meant business, clearing 50 inside 5 overs. Matthew Hayden looked to be on stellar form as he scored the fastest century in World Cup Cricket, off just 66 balls, a dangerous omen for the other Super 8 sides. Despite immediately thereafter succumbing, for a total of 101, Hayden’s tally was bolstered by near centuries from Michael Clarke (92) and Ricky Ponting (91) as well as a sound 42 from opening partner Adam Gilchrist, for a total of 377 for 6.

An impressive total no doubt, but Australia have had a reputation of late for being unable to defend their targets. South Africa looked to be up for the challenge, with an impressive opening partnership between AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith for 160, stopped only by an extraordinary run out, thrown directly from the outfield. The run rate slowed visibly after de Villiers’ dismissal, and Smith eventually retired with cramp (albeit with a brief return to the field, only to be almost immediately caught behind in the later stages). Tait pulled an important haul for Australia to wrap some of the danger men, and put an end to any South African hopes of victory. But does anyone else wish he’d stop grunting?

If Hayden and co. can stay in the form they’re in, the latter stages of this competition can only go one way. South Africa are not out of it yet, of course, and both they and Australia will join the West Indies, Ireland, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and presumably Bangladesh for the Super 8s. A handy 2 points from this meeting will leave them in confident mood to face the hosts in Antigua next Tuesday.

Super 8s Stage Approaching

Cricket World Cup 2007With only a few more games to play in each of the four qualifying groups, the Super 8 stage of the Cricket World Cup is almost here. In some cases, positions are already decided, and New Zealand for example can already guarantee taking 2 points through to the next stage.

Having seen most of the teams of the tournament in action, it would appear to me that there is as yet no clear favourite. The Super 8s stage of the tournament requires each team to play all of the other qualifying teams, apart from the qualifier from their group (the result of this match is carried forward into the Super 8s stage). This means some of the important matches have already been played. Tomorrow South Africa and Australia will face each other in their final group games, having both been eased into the competition with perfunctory matches against the Netherlands and Scotland, a big game which might even be a preview of the final.

Nevertheless, even without this result I would wager that both of them will be in the top four of the Super 8s, probably to be joined by Sri Lanka, who have looked mighty in their opening games (the result against India pending), New Zealand, who qualified from their group with a clean sweep, or hosts the West Indies who currently face Ireland in their first Super 8 scoring game.

Latest from the West Indies

Herschelle Gibbs

In typical fashion, England underwhelmed in their first game of the tournament losing to a solid New Zealand performance. A major hiccough during their innings in which England lost 4 wickets for 5 runs left the Kiwis with an mediocre target of 210 to reach. Despite the new ball putting New Zealand in a precarious position on 19 for 3, an excellent partnership by Scott Styris and Jacob Oram saw them through to what was ultimately a tidy victory. The result puts New Zealand in a strong position to progress through the group, and leaves England needing results against both Canada and Kenya in their last two games.

In the second Group A game, the Netherlands were soundly crushed by a mighty South African performance, epitomised by Herschelle Gibbs’ record setting six 6s in an over, a feat never before achieved in international cricket. Despite rain forcing the match to be reduced to 40 overs apiece, South Africa posted an impressive 353 for 3, including the fastest half century, on top of Gibbs’ unique achievement. South Africa have to face Scotland before their big game in Group A against Australia, though by then both teams may have already qualified.

And in the second game from Group D, Ireland managed to ease past Zimbabwe, leaving them in a stronger position to take on group favourites Pakistan tomorrow, who will be looking for a victory following their first defeat at the hands of hosts, the West Indies.

Cricket World Cup 2007 Gets Underway

Glenn McGrath

The World Cup is truly underway now in the West Indies, with the hosts hopefully recovered from their opening win against Pakistan. Yesterday the defending champions Australia took on minnows Scotland in a one-sided game which showed a return to form for Ricky Ponting’s side, whilst later the 2003 semi-finalists Kenya took on Canada.

The Scots played admirably against their determined opponents, although a few fielding errors cost them the initiative in the opening stages, and they were unable to do anything against Australia’s last gasp efforts in the dying overs to bring their tally to 334 for 6. Australia then proceeded to show how it’s done, punishing a jittery Scotland in the early stages of their innings, Glenn McGrath showing why he’s the best in the business at World Cup level, taking 3 for 14. The Scots can certainly feel proud about their performance, and Majid Haq looks to be a promising all-rounder for the side, despite his unnecessary run out in the early stages.

Whether Australia are back to form after their recent spate of losses is hard to tell, and it won’t be until they play South Africa on the 24th of March that we’ll see them really tested. Kenya put in a solid performance to push past Canada by 7 wickets, with several overs spare after Canada set the modest target of 199. One wonders whether the West Indies should feel too confident having only set a target of 241 in their opener against Pakistan.

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