Making up for the past couple of days in one single post.
There were no untoward incidents in the preliminary round (viz. upsets by minnows) though the 65/6 by Australia and the pedestrian batting of South Africa were more disappointing than the lack of any major impact by the bottom four of world cricket.
More importantly, the world cup moved to the third venue – the classic Kensington Oval, Barbados. More than Lord’s or Eden Gardens, the stands of the newly renovated (renovated for the 2007 World Cup) collectively have the power to overwhelm the players. Bowlers have to choose between the Joel Garner End or the Malcolm Marshall End. When the batsmen look up they cannot avoid looking straight at the Sir Garfield Sobers Pavilion, the Greenidge and Haynes Stand, the 3 W’s Stand, the Hewitt and Innis Stand or avoid being missed by the hawks sitting in the Tony Cozier Media Centre.
Contrary to the warm ups which were played on slow pitches, the pitches on offer for the three days so far (India playing Australia right now with WI v Sri Lanka to follow) have been bouncy, fast and true. Even bowlers like Mashrafe Mortaza had Shane Watson playing late and mistiming his pull to be out.
Bounce helps spinners as well and left spinners specially seemed to be having fun – Shakib ul Hasan v Australia and Micheal Yardy v Pakistan. However Ravindra Jadeja was pathetic today bowling half tracks to Warner and Watson.
The two groups in the Super 8s provide an interesting split. Group E has the unpredictable Pakistan along with old pros South Africa, England and New Zealand. Group F on the other hand has four teams with four different styles of play – India, Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies. Expect to see standard county cricket style strategies and plays in Group E. Expect to see street smartness, flair, passion and a lot of ingenuity in Group F.
Right India 17-3 in 4 overs chasing 183. And Rohit Sharma playing his first match, gets a big chase to pilot. (update @ 21:50 – 69 runs to win from 26 balls. At one time it looked as if India would be all out for 69)
Yesterday, before the Super 8s began, my picks for the semis were India, Australia, Pakistan and South Africa. Australia and South Africa seem to be going fine so far.