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    Murali-ed, Vass-ed, Malinga-ed, Fernando-ed and Jayasuriya-ed

    Friday, March 23, 2007
    Courtesy: Cricinfo
    A banner that read "Murali-ed" probably got it just right.

    Add Vass-ed, Malinga-ed, Fernando-ed and Jayasuria-ed to that.. That really was an outstanding fielding performance.

    I spent about 5 years of my early childhood in Sri Lanka and do have a great affinity towards anything remotely connected to the Emerald Island. No prizes for guessing which team I would be rooting for from now on.

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    20-20 WC draw

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007
    The 20-20 World Cup matches will be played at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban from September 11 to September 24, 2007.

    Group A: South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh.
    Group B: Australia, England, Zimbabwe.
    Group C: New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Kenya.
    Group D: Pakistan, India, Scotland.

    Pakistan and India are grouped together - seems like the officials did not want to take any chances this time and end up again in the scenario where there would be no Indo-Pak game.

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    Bob Woolmer, Rest in Peace

    Sunday, March 18, 2007
    I really don't know how to put what I'm feeling inside in words. Bob held one of the two (Greg C being the other) most difficult, demanding and stressful coaching jobs in the whole wide world of sports. He is no more and the mere knowledge of that fact is bound to deeply hurt and sadden all those genuine lovers of the game. When the Pakistan team assembles together for its next practice session, there would be no Bob to give them catching practice and fielding drills. When Pakistan plays Zimbabwe in its final group match on Wednesday, there would be no Bob Woolmer, sitting with his laptop and peering through the LCD for a solution to the team's problems. He will not be there to be happy for them if they do well or to share their grief if they don't.

    After the Irish skipper hit that winning six yesterday, the cameras zoomed towards the Pakistan dressing room - a grim looking Bob Woolmer, stood up packed his laptop and walked away. That was the last time, most of us saw him alive. He has finished his innings and walked away to a better place - a place from which he would never return. Probably, a place where his effigy wouldn't get burnt, where his motives and intentions would never get doubted and where he would finally relax and rest in peace..

    We'll miss you, Bob. May your soul rest in peace and may your family and friends have the strength and courage to deal with this tragic loss.

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    The million dollar over

    Friday, March 16, 2007
    Courtesy: Cricinfo
    29.1 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Violence! Gibbs charged down the track and hoicked it over long on.
    29.2 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Murder! Floated on the leg and middle stump line and Gibbs sends it soaring over long-off.
    29.3 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Carnage! Flatter one this time but it makes no difference to Gibbs. He just stands there and delivers. This one also has been sucked over long off
    29.4 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Wah Wah! Low full toss and guess where this went Yep. A slap slog and it went over deep midwicket! He is going to go for 6 sixes in this over!
    29.5 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Short in length, on the off stump line and Gibbs rocks back and swat-pulls it over wide long off. SImply amazing. What a batsman. This is pure violence!
    29.6 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, He has done it! One-day record. No one has hit six sixes in a row. GIbbs stands alone in that zone. And the minnow bashing continues! Full and outside off and bludgeoned over deep midwicket

    This is the first time that anyone has ever scored 6 sixers in an over in international cricket. By doing this Gibbs has not only worked his way into the record books, but also has won the Johnnie Walker Sixes Challenge. The tournament sponsor Johnnie Walker had announced earlier this week that it would be offering $1 million to Habitat for Humanity housing projects for the first batsman to hit six sixes in one over at the World Cup.

    It was absolute carnage at Bassaterre - 198 runs were plundered in the last 13 overs with South Africa finally finishing at 353/3 in 40 overs.

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    World Cup 2007: Day 3 - Ireland vs Zimbabwe - Notes

    You would be forgiven if you thought that St. Patrick's day came a couple of days early this year. The green brigade cheered and celebrated every move that their team made and that vociferous support was largely instrumental in the Irish team pulling off a dramatic tie. Zimbabwe was cruising along quite well and at one stage required just 19 runs off 40 odd balls with 5 wickets in hand. Brendan Taylor then got runout at the non-striker's end and Zimbabwe started to lose the momentum dramatically. 9 were needed off the last over, they managed 8 off the first five but Stuart Matsikenyeri (who played really well for his 73) just could not get the ball away for a single. It was a fiting end for an entertaining game - both the teams dropped too many chances and played badly enough to lose. Ireland just did slightly better to hold their nerves when it really mattered. Jeremy Bray won the MOM award for carrying his bat earlier in the day.

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    Complete the progression

    Thursday, March 15, 2007
    Dennis Amiss (ENG), Glenn Turner (NZ), Alan Turner (AUS), Clive Lloyd (WI), Imran Khan (PAK), Kapil Dev (IND), Dave Houghton (ZIM), Gary Kirsten (SA), Aravinda De Silva (SL), John Davison (CAN), Feiko Kloppenburg (NET), ------- (IRE)

    Fill in the Blanks..

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    What can I do for you Mr.Jayawardene?

    Courtesy: The Hindu
    Sachin Tendulkar might not recognise Lionel Cann. Should he wish to hit in the air in the league game against Bermuda on April 19 at Port of Spain, he'll be well served if he acquaints himself with Cann's clock.

    "I can honestly say that we have a player called Lionel Cann," says Bermuda skipper Irving Romaine. "He loves India. He has named his child India. His biggest player is actually Tendulkar. Right now I'm hoping Tendulkar does not hit a catch to him because he will probably drop it to watch him bat."

    This piece was in The Hindu a few days back. What Irving Romaine hasn't said here is that big Leverock has the same soft corner for Mahela Jayawardene that Cann has for Sachin. He has dropped Jayawardene twice already (Mahela was on nought the first time) today. Mahela is currently batting on 84 and there are about 9 more overs to go. A hundred is there for his taking - whether he reaches there or not, Mahela is right back in form (thanks to Leverock). Mahela hadn't scored a 50 in the last 19 games and this knock should do his confidence a world of good.

    Update: Mahela just got out for 85 - caught brilliantly in the deep by Kevin Hurdle; if only Leverock was stationed there..

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    World Cup 2007: Day 2 - Kenya vs Canada - Notes

    Kenya showed yet again why they are considered by many to be the best non-test playing team in the competition. They had lots of luck last time to reach the semi-finals and would not have any free points to take this time. But they do have the combination to compete well on these Carribbean pitches. The spin trio - Tikolo, Varaiya and Kamande picked up 5 wickets for 78 in 29 overs between them. (Kamande started his international career as a seamer - got reported for chucking and now plies his trade as a spinner. Maybe Shabbir should consider doing this - thay way even his injury problems would go away) And then Ouma, Tikolo and the young Mumbai born Mishra put on a good solid batting performance to complete an easy victory.

    This was Canada's best chance to add a victory in the competition, but they just had a very very ordinary day in the field.

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    World Cup 2007: Day 2 - Australia vs Scotland - Notes

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007
    Ricky Ponting scored yet another hundred. It was his 56th international hundred, his 23rd in the shorter variety and his 4th in the World Cup. He smashed 5 sixers in the process and now holds the record for the highest number (24) of 6s in World Cup history. He now has one 6 more than Sourav Ganguly. Sourav holds every record (even the kiddy ones that he made in Kindergarten) of his very dearly and would be keen on regaining this particular one before the end of the tournament.

    Gilchrist and Hayden would rue missing an opportunity to add a hundred each to their respective stat-sheets. Clarke and Hussey missed out. Hodge made a run-a-ball 29 while Watson made an unbeaten 1.5-runs-a-ball eighteen. But the man who really hogged the limelight towards the end of the innings was Brad Hogg - 40 runs off 13 scoring shots. 53 runs came off the last 3 overs.

    Except for Tait, all the Aussie bowlers on display were pretty economical. Even Brad Hodge had a decent bowl with his off-spinners and picked up his maiden international wicket. When Symonds comes back into the side, Hodge or Watson has to make way for him. Glenn McGrath showed some good rhythm and added 3 scalps to his credit. Tait bowled at a great pace, but was taken for some runs by Haq and Smith. Bracken was his usual steady self (wish someone would tell him how funny he looks in that girlish headband of his).

    Scotland would be disappointed that they couldn't last 100 overs against the best team in the business. Colin Smith's half-century, the 2 wickets that Haq took and their supporters in kilts were their lone bright spots of the day.

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    Diversity

    More trivia from the world of the minnows..

    Of the eleven that Canada fielded today, 2 were born in India, 2 in Pakistan, 2 in Guyana, 1 in Barbados and 1 in Uganda. And of the 4 warming the benches, 1 was born in Jamaica, 1 in St.Kitts and 1 in Barbados.

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    Scottish Trivia

    Question: This qualified physical education teacher made his ODI debut for England at Sharjah in 1997 and disappeared from the international scene after representing England just 9 times (all of those appearances came in the 1997-98 season). He was the coach of the Namibia team during the 2003 World Cup. At the age of 37, he is making his world cup debut as a player today.
    Answer: Dougie Brown

    Question: This current team-mate of Dougie Brown also has the experience of representing England at the international level, but not in the limited overs variety. He is currently playing in his second world cup.
    Answer: Gavin Hamilton

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    World Cup 2007: Day 1 Notes

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007
    Pakistan lost. They had a couple of good warm-up games and they were expected to come trumps over the home team, who had a dreadful warm-up outing against India. But the 2 most unpredictable teams in the competition did not fail to disappoint - never ever trust the current form of these 2 teams coz there is no bigger lie than that.

    I'm sure Inzi would like to draw a parallel between today's game and Pakistan's first game in the '92 world cup (Inzi's debut world cup game). Pakistan lost to the West Indies by 10 wkts on that occasion. They managed just 1 win in the next 4 games, but somehow rallied together after that to register one of the greatest comeback victories in the championship history. But the difference here is that Pakistan must now win the next 2 games to make it to the next round - one bad game against the minnows and they would all be going home to join Shoaib and share his "in the hell" feeling.

    For the Windies and all their fans in the Carribbean this is a great start. All the batsmen, except for Gayle and the birthday boy Ramdin, got starts. Sarwan looked busy, Samuels looked in imperious touch and then Smith played a typical flamboyant Carribbean cameo to boost the total past 240. The bowlers followed it up with a very disciplined performance - conceding just 2 wides. All of them picked wickets - with Smith and Bravo picking up 3 wickets each.

    For Pakistan, it wasn't really that bad a day at the office. There were definitely a couple positives in the bowling department - Gul and Rao Iftikhar made the fans forget that Shoaib and Asif were missing. Hopefully Gul would last the tournament without getting injured and Iftikhar would stick to the line and discipline that he showed today in the remaining games.

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    Blogger's Cricket Blog Contest

    Monday, March 12, 2007
    Google India is hosting a cricket-blog contest for all India based blogger users. Click here to participate. Winner gets to be on TV with Krish Srikkanth.

    I don't live in India, so don't really qualify..

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    Beware of the minnows

    There has been quite a bit of talk about the presence of lowly ranked teams in the World Cup. Some say it makes the world cup boring while some say that the best way of making these teams better is by making them compete against the very best. But the fact of the matter is that in each of the last 4 world cups, there has been atleast one big upset during the initial stages of the tournament.

    2003: Kenya beat SriLanka (and thanks to forfeits, made its way all the way to the semis)
    1999: Bangladesh beat Pakistan, Zimbabwe beat India and South Africa
    1995-96: Kenya beat West Indies
    1991-92: Zimbabwe beat England

    The 2007 edition has been structured in such a way that a lowly ranked team needs to stage just one upset in the initial group games to advance to the Super-8s stage. On current form, Bangladesh is probably the team with the best chance of causing an upset. I just hope it is not on the 17th of this month.

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    des rangila rangila des mera rangila

    Courtesy: Malaysia Sun
    The calypso and the beats gave way to a surprise... a dance sequence on a popular Hindi number, done to Bollywood's synchronised perfection, which culminated the day's work. But the organisers are promising more.

    The popular Hindi number that was performed was des mera rangila from the movie Fanaa. I must add that the dancers did pretty well (not all of them were of Indian origin). I'm sure that the next time a Bollywood producer lands in Jamaica for a song shoot, he wouldn't hesitate roping these girls in as back-ground dancers.

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    Tucking it in..

    Sunday, March 11, 2007
    Pix Credit: AFP

    Meet Dean Minors, the Bermuda wicket-keeper. Notice how he neatly he has tucked his keeping pads under his trousers. You do need fairly loose flannels to do that (not something that you would see the likes of Dhoni wearing). Not sure what advantage this gives to the Keeper, but it sort of does take out the chance of the ball getting stuck in the crevice (not sure, if that is the word that I should use) between the pad and the knee. hmm, or may be not..

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    X and Y

    Thursday, March 08, 2007
    11th Jan 1992 was the day this stylish left-hander made his first international appearance. Let us call him X. X was just 19 then. He walked in with the score at 35/4 to join another prodigious 18 year old at the crease. After facing 13 unconvincing deliveries, X was given out LBW with just 3 runs against his name. Let us call the bowler who got him out Y. It was Y's eighth ODI game and he ended up with figures of 5/31 and the Man of the Match award. Poor X had to wait more than 4 years before he could appear again in an ODI. By that time Y had appeared in 63 ODIs for the West Indies and was done playing for them.

    Who is X? and Who is Y? No bonus points for naming the prodigious 18 year old.

    Hint: X and Y would be running into each other this Sunday during the opening ceremony of the ICC cricket world cup.

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    21 yards in Netherlands?

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007
    Young Mark Jonkman started off the proceedings in the warm-up game between India and Netherlands by bowling a fairly longish no-balls-filled first over. He was so way off the mark on a couple of occasions that Steve Bucknor called him up and showed him where the crease was and where the youngster's front foot was landing. It does make you wonder if the pitches in the Dutch-land are a yard shorter in length.. (reminds me of the street games, where the pitch lengths were altered to suit the bowler's run-up)

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