Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I am back in London

The latest couple of games have been quite predictable. New Zealand beat Ireland by 129 runs. Ireland perhaps did well to restrict New Zealand to 263, but the Irish batting was unimpressive and New Zealand won easily. New Zealand continue to look very impressive. They perhaps lack the batting firepower of Australia or South Africa, but they have better and cleverer bowling and Fleming is the best captain in the tournament. (If anyone who is reading this is not a regular cricket fan, let me emphasise that the quality of the captain in cricket matters perhaps more than in any other sport. It matters a lot).

Today, South Africa were way too good for the West Indies. Many of us would have loved an upset, as a West Indian victory would have meant that the struggle was really on for the fourth semi-final place. However, the South African victory must be a relief for them after thair lost to Bangladesh, and they are once again on target to make the semi-finals. South Africa scored 4/356 thanks to 146 to de Villiers (who is having a fine tournament) and plenty of runs to Kallis, Gibbs, and Boucher. The West Indian batting did not collapse, but nor was it good enough either. Sarwan managed to score 92 and Powell got 48 not out at the end. If the West Indies had batted first I would have said that 9/289 off 50 overs was a good score, but chasing 357 it just meant that they lost. West Indies are now fall all practical purposes out of the tournament. I think that from here only England can challenge South Africa for that fourth place. (Table here. More thoughts from me on the state of the tournament and how this compares to previous World Cups tomorrow.

Plus of course I will be talking about tomorrow's game between England and Bangladesh. Bangladesh will be looking to follow up their victory over South Africa with another win or at least another good performance. England need to win to effectively remain in the tournament. There is no chance that England will underestimate their opposition, and in truth I thought England played okay against Australia despite being outplayed. I expect England will win and keep a chance of making the semi-finals. If Bangladesh win, England are effectively eliminated. Bangladesh's poor run rate means that making the semi finals is a tall order for them, even if they beat the West Indies as well.

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