Friday, March 16, 2007

Records galore, but little entertainment

And once again, the presence of teams that simply don't deserve to be there, makes a mockery of the World Cup. Oh, I know the folks at CricInfo and in fact much of the rest of the media are trying hard to tell us that we were wonderfully entertained, but let's face it, there was very little on display between South Africa and The Netherlands that represented top quality cricket.

Six sixes in an over? That should be one of the greatest feats in cricketing lore, and yet I suspect that I'll only remember it a few months down the road because I won't be allowed to forget. Even Herschelle Gibbs was visibly hesitant when rating this amongst the greatest efforts of his career.

Fortunately, England and New Zealand showed us that there might yet be hope for this tournament. Neither side will be truly happy with their overall performance, but what we did see was a contest - at least for a while. Shane Bond lived up to my pre-tournament expectations in his first outing by ripping the heart out of England in one over, without ever reaching full pace. The result leaves the Kiwis expecting to top Group C, and England knowing that if they switch off, Kenya will be ready to pounce.

I'm looking forward to a couple of interesting games tomorrow. Bangladesh will, I am certain, play their hearts out in response to the death of Manjural Islam in a motorbike accident yesterday, and the Indians will have to be on guard. As for the Pakistan-Ireland game, while the result may appear a foregone conclusion, the Irish are on a high, and Pakistan are, well, Pakistan.

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