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Have the big cricket bosses messed up again?

From what I can understand, 14 teams have been split in groups of two.

And each of the 7 play each other. The top 4 from each group go on to play the knock-outs in the quarters from there on.

Now I’m all for the quarters, I loved the 96 World Cup with the most superb one-day cricket in the quarters.

Don’t kill me, but I think the World Cup 2007 format combined with the World Cup 96 would be a brilliant combination.

16 teams. Groups of 4. Top two from each group into the quarters and so on. The only slip up here is that an upset can completely take a big team out of the competition. Remember 07?

But otherwise, 31 matches and we are done. One thing they could have learnt from the Champions Trophy was this.

In the present case, the teams play 42 matches before the quarters. And if the teams play to their ranks, those 42 are going to drag like crazy.

Although it’s not hard, it’s definitely better than the 07 World Cup format. No Super Eights or shit like that.

I have other crazy formats in my mind, but one of them involves crazy triangulars to decide the semi finalists. So I’ll let all that be.

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So I conveniently disappeared after wishing New Zealand into the finals of the Champions Trophy.

I know the Australians looked strapping in their uber-cool white jackets, and I know I couldn’t bother to give credit to them for defending their title. Sorry guys, if you hadn’t won so much in the first place, I wouldn’t be like this.

I know the Australians won it, but if you ask me this was Pakistan’s tournament for the taking. Over-confidence did them in. But that’s what the tournament was. Except for the finals probably, most of the results were complete reversals of the expected. England beat the Lankans and the Saffers. Are you telling me someone expected that?

That whole match-fixing fiasco in Pakistan is a disgrace. Come on, it’s one thing blaming India for everything wrong, but paying off Australian umpires is ridiculous.

So the world has moved from South Africa to India, to the Champions (again) League.

Originality is not the strong point it seems in the cricketing market-minds.

It’s so hard that writing “Champions League live streaming” gets me flooded with football links. Come on guys, it’s hard enough finding a link in any case.

Anyway in the Champions League, JP Duminy was so damn awesome yesterday. It was breathless stuff. I just saw the highlights. I can’t really bother trying hard enough to watch each of these gazzilion matches coming up. So I’m going to let the others get excited and catch the good bits on highlights.

Hope the League throws up a lot of excitement. Not like today’s Delhi and Victoria, when I was really hoping Sehwag would blast his way back.

In keeping up the pace with this magnificent tournament, an Australian collapse would have been the icing on an already very tasty looking cake.

Which is why what Hauritz and Lee did was wrong, plain wrong. They came in the way of a collapse against the world’s most collapsible team. Causing and demonstrating collapses is Pakistan’s thing. When they fall short of collapsing, the viewer feels robbed. Like we all were today. A one run victory would have made everything so spicy. Imagine the tension a little bit away if the Indians had to make that target in about 28 overs.

All the Indians would say how it’s all because India were the number 1 team in ODI’s. Everyone in Pakistan would say it’s only because we love playing India in the finals. Every Australian would hate the Poms. Don’t ask me why, why do we all dislike their cricket. West Indies would probably have caused the upset that they have so threatened to cause till then. South Africans would laugh at Australia, saying no one chokes better than us.

Ah Pakistan, I know you’re moving away to a world where you play better cricket. No collapses for us to see then?

We have the most interesting Champion’s trophy going on in years and I’m having to hop one flight from another.

The only match I caught till now properly was the India-Pak and what a match. That was one hell of a classic.

England has shocked everyone, themselves included. How were they the first team to reach the semi’s? Are we living in a parallel universe where England plays decent one-day cricket. Have they got aliens playing for them? Or just the Irish?

Pakistan seem to be winning everything while giving free hits wrapped in wrapping paper.

Australia seem to have a rather mediocre team and still are just one point from a semi’s place.

India seemed to have the match against Pakistan in the bag when they decided to give a return gift for all the free hits.

Sri Lanka blew hot and I loved them for it. And then they blew so cold I couldn’t believe they were the same team.

New Zealand thought they could make the Group B more interesting by beating the Lankans and promptly did so. And injured Jesse in the process.

The West Indies are brilliant. That’s all. Please don’t look at their batting. They probably have the most exciting pace attack next to Pakistan. And they don’t give too many free hits either. Except to Mitchell.

And South Africa.. what have you done? Did I hear it correctly? No semi-finals? Again? When it was your time. Everyone said so. And I believed it this time.

I really hope I’m able to catch the semis and the final. It’s going to be one hell of a finish as long as the weather keeps true. Come on SA, please ensure that now.

Everyone should take a minute out of their lives.

Kemar Roach just bowled what has to be the ball of the tournament.

Shane Watson just stood looking dumbfounded.

I couldn’t help but let out a scream. The joy at seeing that in-swinging yorker was unbelievable.

I wanted a picture of Shane Watson after the dismissal, but nothing’s come up as yet.

Ultimate. A fast bowler shattering the stumps first ball.

Rated R for Violence and Sheer Brutality: Sri Lanka vs England. Starting soon.

If you’re English, stay away.

Yes, Sarcasm.

What I want is humilation.

I want Stuart Broad to start crying. I want Dilshan to Dilscoop him for a six each ball in a over, the last one being a no-ball, and then another six off the free hit with another Dilscoop. Go Dilshan, go one up on Yuvraj. Anything to take the piss off Broad.

Broad

How do I stop batsmen from treating me like fodder?

Mendis has an excellent first up record against most teams. You never know with England, he might end up taking a 10 for. If only Sangakkara would open with him. But records against England don’t count. Not worthy enough. And definitely not in odi’s.

Who remembers that match in England when England made 320 odd, and Sri Lanka chased it down in 38 overs. That would do, more abject the better.

The Indians seem to be in the middle of an injury crisis.

Losing Sehwag obviously hurt, losing Yuvraj so close to the tournament hurts even more I bet.

This should completely turn over all the strategies Dhoni might have come up with till now.

Of course, Dhoni has generally been at his best when hopes have been low. So, while chances of India going too much ahead in the tournament seem to be really receding what with the terrible fielding and mediocre bowling, watch out for that magical wand of Dhoni’s. And what Tendulkar calls his bat :p

I saw Pakistan’s bowling today, and if that Centurion pitch on Saturday has something in it for the seamers, India should really not take Pakistan lightly. That kid Aamer was absolutely fantastic, it actually felt like watching Akram in his prime. Forget that it was against the West Indies, this was high quality stuff.

It seems to be that age-old theory true again : India’s batting against the Pakistan bowling.

That’s all, I got nothing to add to that. Just leave it hanging :p

Edit: They didn’t. Dammit. If only the West Indies played England.

Before the tournament began, there was a lot of talk around how it was the time for the South Africans.

AB did it.

Greame did it.

Arthur made the mickey out of it.

Shaun Pollock did it.

Ashwell Prince’s half brother’s step-son did it.

Err, it kind of fell apart today. I know it’s not good to harp when they’re down but I’ll do it anyway. So, as it’s raining down in Centurion, hopes of South Africa putting up points today seems to have been washed away.

I caught some of the match, and I just kept getting the feeling that the Saffers kept taking SL way too easily. Like it was meant to be. As if the winner of the match had been written from the start.

And what is with not even bowling even a over with their spinners during the Power Play overs? They aren’t that bad, really.

Dilshan was fabulous. No mincing words there.

If anyone can explain me the logic of winning the toss and fielding while having two spinners in the side, please send me. No wait, what will I do with it, just post it to Smith and Arthur.

What is with South Africa and these blunders in the ICC tournaments. I’m sure Shaun will shudder at the thought. Hope Smith doesn’t have to do the same.

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