England forget the basics

Sunday, Mar 1, 2015,21:26 IST By Abhinav Iyer A A A

The team that has never won the World Cup do not seem to be lifting the eluding crown this time too. Well, they won’t be taking the title away to The Lord’s, the home of English cricket, surely not with this bowling attack. Boasting a world class attack on paper with the likes of Broad, Anderson, Woakes and Finn, they were ripped apart to the shreds by Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirumanne to crush the Englishmen and to guide the South Asian Islanders to a comprehensive 9 wicket victory. After a composed Joe Root century and a late dash by Jos Buttler, England managed to get a more than average score of 309 against their opponents. Eoin Morgan would have definitely thought that they’re heading for their first big win of the tournament before an imperious Sangakkara had other plans. Along with Thirumanne, they made a mockery of the English bowling line up by chasing the score posted in a ridiculously easy manner. The duo added 212 runs in less than 29 overs and Sangakkara outscored his partner to get back to back hundreds in the tournament. When the English brought up a total of 309, they were the favourites at Westpac Stadium, the same place where Tim Southee had destroyed them less than a fortnight ago. But, the experienced head of the 37 year old left hander from Matale, Sri Lanka showed why the English are so far behind in the shorter formats of the game than the big boys of One Day Cricket. Their bowling looked in tatters as each of their four front line seamers conceded over 6 runs an over. That’s atrocious. Anderson is considered to be in the same league as Starc, Johnson, Steyn or Southee has been nowhere close to his best and the fact that he’s picked up only two wickets over the last four World Cup games, which were against Scotland tells the world the story. This is not an England side which can lift the World Cup. They have to beat Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their next two games to finish fourth in the group and qualify for the knockouts and the match against the Bangla boys could be a real tricky one, judging by recent form and team composure. Sri Lanka have announced themselves that they are no pushovers with three back to back wins, but they have to face the big test against the mighty Aussies in SCG on Sunday. How long could the old dogs of Sri Lankan Cricket save them? We shall see.

Wahab Riaz shines as Pakistan register their first win

Pakistan were given a huge scare by the Zimbabweans in a low key encounter at the Gabba in Brisbane. Going into the game, they made a huge decision to finally drop Younis Khan at the top of the order to replace him with an extra bowler in Rahat Ali. That decision did not pay much dividends as they were struggling at 4/2 in the 4th over. Their run rate in the batting power play was 1.4 RPO. Their middle order once again collapsed and at the fall of their favourite son birthday boy, Lala or Shahid Afridi they were stuttering at 127/5 at the end of the 34th over. Wahab Riaz joined his skipper at the fall of the sixth wicket shortly after that and had the best game of his life. This guy broke into the scene four years back when he took a fifer against the mighty Indian batting line up in Mohali in the World Cup. He would have thought that it was the best cricketing day in his life, until yesterday. He not only scored a quick fire half century to get Pakistan to a fighting total of 235 but also took four crucial wickets in order to restrict the Africans to 215. The reason for this day being so big for the Pakistani quick, bigger than a five wicket haul against the Indians is that this performance was for a winning cause and they’d have definitely been crushed by the Zimbabweans and would have been almost assured of a plane back home right after the group stages. Mohammed Irfan bowled a beautiful spell with the new ball to not let the Africans get to a good start before Wahab Riaz sealed the deal for the Pakistanis. This victory at the Gabba helped the Asian side allowed them to keep them in contention for the knockout stages but have to win majority of their games, and a big one against Ireland who have beaten them in the World Cup before and are their prime contenders for the fourth qualifying spot. Anything could happen for the last two spots in Pool B, with India and South Africa favourites to go through in first and second respectively.

Do not miss the action as the action heats up in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. With a lot of pressure, there is going to be an incredible amount of drama, heated scenarios, excellent fielding, dropped catches, exquisite batting and brilliant bowling in the coming stages. Stay tuned.