Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bowlers take control of Champions Trophy 2006

The "Corridor of Uncertainty" and a surprisingly missing dew factor ended favourites Sri Lanka's party at the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 at the floodlit Motera. Jayasurya & Co. found the un-wet cricket ball too tough to handle and caved in pretty tamely in their do-or-die match against South Africa. With just one victory to their credit and their net run rate in the negative (-0.195), the Lankans have no chance of making it to the final four now. On current form, Pakistan and SA look like making it to the semifinals from Group B. My guess is India and West Indies will make it too. But therein lies the mistake, the same one which had led to Lanka being touted as the favourites.

The subcontinent's pitches are expected to be "eden gardens" for the batsmen. The only bowlers who succeed are the slow spinners. With the wickets offering little or no assistance to the bowlers, the batsmen can hit through the line without fears of dismissals. These factors make India and Lanka favourites - however with the Indian team being in awful one-day form, Lanka became the exclusive favourites. When the wickets failed to live upto their reputation, things changed. When Lanka lost to Pak, it was termed a surprising victory. You can't give that excuse now, after having watched their batsmen struggling against the accurate Protea seamers. India too made heavy weather of their modest target of 126 against England. Again, it was not the spinners who troubled India.

So it's the subcontinent alright, but the pacers seem to have taken control of the cricket....and Pollock, Ntini and Nel seem to be hitting the right line at the right time. My money is on SA now, with Bret Lee's Australia a close second. What's your say?


The India-Australia match is going to be one hell of an important match.
Click here to know why

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Catch some exciting cricket action in the coming days, with the main phase of the Champions Trophy starting on 15th October ( Live on SET Max, so be ready to bear with Mandira Bedi and Co. Of course, if you are the type who has a fetish for noodle straps and saris, then you will have double the viewing pleasure!!)

Oct 15 India v England Jaipur
Oct 16 New Zealand v South Africa Mumbai
Oct 17 Pakistan v Qualifier 1 Jaipur
Oct 18 Australia v Qualifier 2 Mumbai
Oct 20 New Zealand v Q1 Mumbai
Oct 21 Australia v England Jaipur
Oct 24 South Africa v Q1 Ahmedabad
Oct 25 New Zealand v Pakistan Mohali
Oct 26 India v Q2 Ahmedabad
Oct 27 Pakistan v South Africa Mohali
Oct 28 England v Q2 Ahmedabad
Oct 29 India v Australia Mohali
Nov 1 1st semi-final Mohali
Nov 2 2nd semi-final Jaipur
Nov 5 Final Mumbai

All matches are day/night and will start at 1415 IST

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Zimbabwe's cricket in tatters: Thrashed by Lanka now

Tharanga came to the party again, scoring his second consecutive century of the Champions Trophy Cricket 2007. Jayasurya failed again, but with Sangakara showing why he is today counted amongst the best wicket-keeper batsmen in the world with a fine 80, Sri Lanka compiled a good 286, not a very huge score by today's standards but more than enough for today's Zimbabwe. Lanka won the match by a mammoth 144 runs, and Zimbawe were never really in the hunt.

More than worrying about spreading cricket in the rest of the world, ICC now needs to seriously look at the state of the game in the countries already involved. Zimbabwe have now been playing cricket for more than 20 years, and they are only getting worse. Something needs to be done urgently to save the game in the country.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Champions Trophy: Zimabwe (?) vs West Indies

Why is Zimbabwe playing the ICC Cricket Champions Trophy 2007? Yeah, we know that the heqdquarters of the ICC have been shifted from an English speaking London to a not-so-English Dubai. But even then... I am sure the mandarins at ICC know what the meaning of the word Champions is !!

Anyways, Zimbabwe began their Champions Trophy campaign ( ok, qualifying campaign) and were annihilated by the West Indies. Out of a maximum of 100 overs, just about 45 overs were needed to complete the rout. The African team batted first and were bundled out for 85 in about 30 overs. WI surpassed the target for the loss of just Gayle's wicket. The opener was the highest scorer with 41 runs, and he was also the most succesful bowler for the WI, scalping 3 wickets.

Worried about the state of Zimbabwe cricket, or cricket worldwide. Click here for more...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lanka begin Champions Trophy campaign in style

A green turf led the Bangladeshi captain into choosing to field after the winning the toss in their Champions Trophy match against Lanka. But as the Sri Lankan batsmen sizzled, the Bangladeshi bowlers failed to extract much out of the greenery. Opener Tharanga scored a fine century and with everyone else also chipping in, Lanka piled up a mammoth 302. Though Bangladesh scored 265 in return, they never really were in the match after their top order failed to click yet again. Only when the Ashraful magic works does Bangladesh ever look like making an impression, but this was not be and Lanka carved out an easy victory. Much like their batsmen, all the Lankan bowlers chipped in and overall it was a good team-effort which led to the victory. As the first match of the tournament, this was the best that Lanka could have hoped for. Australia and Pakistan are being rated as the favourites, but Lanka might just be the dark horse that may add the dash of excitement to the tournament. Looking forward to some exciting knocks from Jayasuria in the coming matches...

Click here for the cricinfo.com scorecard link

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Defending Champions Warm up to Champions 2006

Immediately after the West Indies won the ICC Champions Trophy 2004, a victorious Brian Lara remarked that the team had been inspired by the hurricane which had lashed the Caribbean days before the tournament started, to play to their potential. The 2006 edition is yet to begin, but a Caribbean hurricane was seen in action at the dusty Motera grounds yesterday. In their first warm-up match towards ICC Champions 2006, the Caribbean batsmen, led by Chris Gayle tore apart the Gujrat President XI's attack. Batting first, W.I. compiled a mammoth 344 off their alloted 50 overs. Gayle struck 101 off just 76 balls, Morton 91 and Hinds 61. The home team lost the match by over 170 runs.

In another warm-up match at Chandigarh, Bangladesh comfortably beat PCA (Punjab Cricket Association) XI by 7 wickets. Aftab Ahmad and Saqibul Hasan compiled half-centuries & Syed Rasel and Farhad Reza took 3 wickets each for the winning team.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

ICC Champions Trophy 2006: Cricket Schedule

Qualifying Matches:
Q1 Sri Lanka v Bangladesh Mohali Oct 7 14:15(IST)
Q2 West Indies v Zimbabwe Ahmedabad Oct 8 14:15(IST)
Q3 Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe Ahmedabad Oct 10 14:15(IST)
Q4 West Indies v Bangladesh Jaipur Oct 11 14:15(IST)
Q5 Bangladesh v Zimbabwe Jaipur Oct 13 14:15(IST)
Q6 Sri Lanka v West Indies Mumbai Oct 14 14:15(IST)


1 India v England Jaipur Oct 15 14:15(IST)
2 New Zealand v South Africa Mumbai Oct 16 14:15(IST)
3 Pakistan v Q1 Jaipur Oct 17 14:15(IST)
4 Australia v Q2 Mumbai Oct 18 14:15(IST)
5 New Zealand v Q1 Mumbai Oct 20 14:15(IST)
6 Australia v England Jaipur Oct 21 14:15(IST)
7 South Africa v Q1 Ahmedabad Oct 24 14:15(IST)
8 New Zealand v Pakistan Mohali Oct 25 14:15(IST)
9 India v Q2 Ahmedabad Oct 26 14:15(IST)
10 Pakistan v South Africa Mohali Oct 27 14:15(IST)
11 England v Q2 Ahmedabad Oct 28 14:15(IST)
12 India v Australia Mohali Oct 29 14:15(IST)
13 Semi-Final 1, A1 v B2 Mohali Nov 01 14:15(IST)
14 Semi-Final 2, B1 v A2 Jaipur Nov 02 14:15(IST)
15 Final Mumbai Nov 05 14:15(IST)