Just take a look at this....
He is the chosen one
Monday, 19 March 2007
Where do you begin? First The Netherlands take an all mighty spanking, as expected against both South Africa and Australia - the highlight of course being Gibbs' 6 sixes off a van Bunge over, raising the obvious question of whether or not associate nations have any place being at the World Cup, only to have the Irish team convincing beat Pakistan!!
The Paki's can rig a loss with the best of them, but it is so unbelievable that the Irish could possibly beat Pakistan that it has to be true. What's more, if you take a look at the Group D point table, Ireland sit at the top!
Of course the loss came at an enormous cost. Inzamam quitting, and Bob Woolmer dying. It's been an absolutely crazy shocking weekend.
And that's without even mentioning the Bangers beating India.
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
So it's all just begun! The World Cup is officially on after an apparently very long opening ceremony.
Now is the time to predict who is actually going to win.
The pool stages look to be fairly straight-forward to predict. Australia and South Africa will comfortably top Group A. Sri Lanka and India should top Group B, but perhaps Bangladesh can cause some discomfort to their Asian neighbours. Bermuda wont do much, but we'll be watching our hero Dwayne quite closely. New Zealand and England will top Group C, but can Kenya cause an upset? They were semi-finalists last time around (albeit a few forfeits helped them out...) Pakistan and the West Indies will lead Group D, and although they have a proud World Cup history, Zimbabwe are not the team they used to be.
This takes us to the Super 8's, where the minnows start to drop out and the real quality should rise to the top. With the top 2 teams of each group qualifying, and then every team playing each other (except the other team from their group - the previous result carried forward), we should be in for some quality cricket. You may be able to drop a game or two here, but I would expect this to be a terrific part of the tournament with the real top teams rising to the top. Anyone could make it through.
I predict Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka will finish in the top 3. Australia and South Africa are quality teams and would succeed anywhere, and I suspect the small grounds and slow wickets will favour a quietly confident and under-rated Sri Lanka. As for the 4th team through, it really could be anyone. The Windies at home are a chance, and I have a soft spot for the Kiwis (I know, I'm an Aussie and this is not a good thing to say...) England will really need to play well, Pakistan could beat anyone but I'm not sure they can string enough games together against the other Super 8 teams to make it through, and India need to learn to play well away from home but have such a quality batting line-up that they could cause some problems.
But to round out the semi-finalists, I'm going for New Zealand on the back of Vettori and Oram.
So to the final, and I think it will be contested by Australia and Sri Lanka, with the Aussies to win. The South Africans have found a way to loose the last few World Cups, so perhaps it is their year, but I think the class of the Aussies and Lankans will carry them through.
As for the final, heart says Australia, head doesn't know!
Vote in our poll, which is in the sidebar. Who do you think will win? Hey Nick, who do you think is gonna get up?
If you can not see the poll, go here to vote.
Thursday, 8 March 2007
I'm all for the associate nations having a go at the World Cup, but let's face it there really are only 9 teams that can play competitive cricket, and I update that from 8 because the Bangers have beaten Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka now so I'm convinced. The Zimbabweans are minnows once more, not that they really were much more than "super minnows" at best, and the Kenyans try hard but they just don't play enough cricket to really be a chance.
Each World Cup I like to see the associate nations play because I'm curious as to how badly they have their arse handed to them, or because I'm hoping that they might topple one of the giants. The Bangers did it against the Pakis two World Cups ago, and Kenya did it against Sri Lanka at the last World Cup.
My pick for the team that is going to have their arse pounded in the most cruel and unusual way is Bermuda. In the World Cricket League where it was just associates, they got smashed there too - what chance do they have against the big boys? Admittedly the Netherlands seem to enjoy a good shellacking, as evidenced by their world record performance against the Lankans last year where they conceeded 443, but my pick are the boys from Bermuda getting annihilated by the Lankans in Game 4. 443 wasn't enough for Sir Lanka, they want to crack the 450.
Last World Cup, Andrew Symonds was a bit of a dodgy selection - we've always had a place for an all rounder in our World Cup squad, no matter how dodgy they actually were as all rounders (like Tom Moody and Brendan Julian), and Symonds seemed like another one of them. He was only really put into the team because Shane Watson who looked like a potential genuine all rounder got injured just before the 2003 World Cup. Symonds of course went on to completely dominate the game and firmly establish himself as an invaluable member of the Australian team. Now however the situation is reversed, Symonds is injured and Watto is going to have to step up. Can he do it? I was a knocker at first, but I think he has potential. He genuinely can bat and can bowl, it's just a matter of him putting it all together. He takes wickets with the ball, he's decently economical, and when he opens he's put up the runs. He's not a big striker like Symonds, despite his size, he's more of a run accumulator, and to be honest he's definitely more of a bowling allrounder versus Symonds being a batting allrounder. My opinion, it would be great if lightning struck twice and we suddenly find ourselves with a world class allrounder all over again, but even if we don't, he's good enough.
Well, of course the answer is no, but when you consider the fact that in the past decade of dominance from the Australian cricket team, the records that are likely to stand the test of time will be the highest individual test score and one day score which happen to both be held by Matthew Hayden. It was fitting at one point that the Don held the highest test score, but now Haydos has that, albeit against Zimbabwe, so it hardly counts but it's there in the record books now, and may be some time before that gets beaten. Now he holds the highest one day score. Does it make him the best Australian all round batsman? No. But it does show that he is a big innings player.
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
So the preliminary games have started. Australia has stumbled loosing 5 games in a row (I'm sure we'll blog on this soon....).
But the most important news is of course that all-time crowd pleasers Bermuda are playing, and playing well (well, not that well, Ireland and the Bangers did much better in their warm up games.)
But the do boast this man, Dwayne Leverock - the sentimental, heavy-set hero of the cup.
At 19-stone, he'd have to be one of the heaviest men to play international cricket - and he's not a bad bowler actually, having taken 2 for 30 something off his 10 overs against England, including Kevin Pietersen's wicket.
The funny thing is he stripped off 14 kilo for the tournament! Go Dwayne!