Wednesday, March 28, 2007


A team to beat these darned Aussies.

Say what you want about them, they are the best ODI team in cricket. They have been killing all their opponents so far. Even the fancied Saffers were trounced suitably.

They beat opponents and beat them in style. They set Federeresque records in cricket that is possibly only going to be surpassed by them alone. Ponting et al may not be the most loved cricketers, but then why does that matter when you win the way they do you ask? But it does matter. At least it does to cricket.

Respect to these amazing cricketers from Oz. But oh how sweet it feels when someone manages to top them!

It's not that I have anything against the Aussies. I really respect them a lot as a team, but, they don't give their opponents a chance to beat them. And like in business it is competition that keeps a sport thriving as well. When one team dominates all others the sport loses its charm. Somehow cricket is losing its soul. The officials of the BCCI, PCB, and ICC are fast killing the game with their shameless Corporate sponsor butt-kissing shenanigans. And then there's the Aussie team that is killing the will of any fan believing in the game. Sports needs heros to make the game big. True noone is bigger than the game, but the game needs at least a few for the fans to believe in the game.

For all their exploits on the field the Aussies are not a particularly inspiring bunch. They do evoke a lot of respect from all, but somehow the game seems so unwatchable ... even when the Aussies make one of their famous comeback victories. I'm sure that even the Aussie supporters must be sick and tired of seeing their team steamroll their opponents in this manner.

As a team they are on a different level. It seems almost futile to play against them. Not a good day at the office for your team? Count on them getting hammered, pounded, thrashed, by the Aussies. Give em a bit of a fight... they beat you. Press them hard and they come back harder at you! I just don't get it. How is it possible for a team to be so strong mentally?

It is not that the Aussies are the most talented, the fittest, the smartest, and nor do they have the most heart of the teams that are out playing cricket today. But somehow they manage to make the most of what they have and just come out fighting and most importantly win.

How much would an Indian fan or Corporate body pay to support a team like the Aussies? I'm sure a lot of people would love to support a team that despite breaking records set by themselves, never seems to lose their appetite for performing. It doesn't matter how many runs they score, how many the opponents score, they are always going out on the field believing that they are capable of beating their opponents.

Perhaps the Aussies should win this WC as well. Just because they are the only team out there that actually deserves it. And yet here I am hoping that for the good of cricket elsewhere among the others there is a team that can stand up to this juggernaut and beat them down.

Fine it would only be for a day as these guys do not take to even losing once kindly, but just for that one day I want someone else to revel in beating the best team in the World.

Friday, March 23, 2007

*Sigh* India gets booted

Boy am I glad that I made my peace with this a while back! As I write this the Indian team has shown that they deserve every brickbat that are going to be applied to their pampered asses back home. What a pathetic show!

The so called most experienced batsmen in the world need to learn how to bat again. What a pathetic show! I hope for the sake of cricket followers in India deadweights like Tendulkar, and, Ganguly are permanently shown the door!

Time to rid the team of the so called "experienced" performers who do nothing but play anchor roles and chief architects in the team's demise. Fresh legs and blood are the order of the day. Enough of this nonsense.

I felt bad for Johnnie Walker losing a million dollars thanks to Gibbs. Imagine how all the companies in India with a vested interest in this World Cup must be feeling. I'm sure there are quite a few companies that are going to be ruing their decision to back a team like India in this world cup.

More later. Time for some tennis now. Hopefully I can add another trophy to my case this weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The road to the Super 8s

I may be a week late in writing this, but then a week back everything seemed so pedestrian in the World Cup. The top teams were steamrolling the minnows and everything seemed to be set for the top 8 countries to make it through without fuss to the next round.

But what a week it's been! This is hands-down the most eventful world cup ever! It has had everything! Drama, excitement, tragedy, heroism ... everything a person would want in a movie or book of their choice.

First we had the juvenile quarrelling between two of the biggest prima-donnas in cricket Ponting and Gavaskar.

Then we had the marvelous Gibbs' etching his name in the annals of cricket with his six 6s in an over.

Then the Irish played in one of the best games I have had the pleasure of watching by tying the Zimbabweans for a tie.

After that was the day when two featherweights knocked out two of the biggest names in cricket! The Bangla tigers rode some fearless performances to upset the insipid Indians while the fabulous Shamrocks created one of the greatest upsets in the history of the game by beating the Pakistanis.

As if that were not enough Bob Woolmer collapsed and died (causes yet unknown) and Inzi one of the most beloved and respected cricketers hailing from Pakistan announced his retirement from all ODI cricket.

As I write this normalcy has been resumed with the top 8 teams getting by the minnows quite convincingly, but with a week left of first round action to go, glorious uncertainties still remain about some of the teams figuring in the second phase of this tournament.

Group A

Australia & South Africa - Although they still have to play each other, they are in the Super 8s for sure. Both teams hammered their hapless opponents so far and have shown that they are probably the best bet for the finals to be held on Apr 28. The Aussies have dispelled all talk of them being in suspect form while the Saffers have done what they always do in the beginning phases of almost every World Cup they have played in - Dominated.

Their match against each other will be very important for both. Not only does the winning team take 2 valuable points through to the next round, the psychological advantage gained over the other will go a long way in deciding the winner in their next matchup in the Semi-finals or the finals.

To progress

Australia - Already in. Beating S.Africa will give them 2 points to carry into the Super 8s
S.Africa - Already in. Beating Aus will give them 2 points to carry into the Super 8s

Out - Netherlands, Scotland

Group B

Sri Lanka - They are in imposing form as well. They have hammered the Bermudans and finished off the Bangladeshis in clinical fashion. With their batsmen in blistering form and with dangerman Jayasuriya looking good, the Sri Lankans look like another potential finalist at the moment.

The thrashing they have handed the Bangladeshis today should be enough to take them through to the next round, but a desperate India awaits them on Friday. Barring a thrashing at the hands of the Indians and the Bangladeshis beating the Bermudas by a margin of ~350 runs, they are through. However the Lankans will hope to repeat their performance today and go into the Super 8 with 2 points by beating India.

Bangladesh - With the Lankans in such imposing form, the Bangladeshis will not be wrong in hoping for the second Super 8 spot on offer today. They should be able to beat the Bermudans easily, however if India beats the Sri Lankans, barring a miraculous effort with bat and ball against the Bermudans, they will not make it through.

The Bangladeshis disappointed everyone with their minnow-like performance against Sri Lanka. They have almost lost all the respect they gained by beating India on Saturday. Now instead of everyone commenting about how much they have improved they will revert back to saying that the Bangladeshis can only pull out fluke victories. They have harmed their chances greatly today. Every Bangladeshi supporter will be behind Sri Lanka when the Lankans take on the Indians in a couple of days.

India - Thanks to a good performance against Bermuda, the Indians hold their destiny in their own two hands. A simple win over Sri Lanka will be enough to propel the Indians along with 2 points into the next round. However after a pathetic performance against Bangladesh and a bad bowling performance against Bermuda, a win against the rampant Lankans looks doubtful. However the Indians have played well against Sri Lanka lately (albeit at home) and a win does not seem impossible. Hopefully the Indians will play to their potential and the bowling attack bowl within their means so that the Indians beat the Lankans

To Progress

Sri Lanka - They should be good as far as the Super 8s are concerned. However they would like to get into the Super 8s with 2 pts. To do this they have to beat India. So they will come out with their game face on as well on Friday.

Bangladesh - Their hopes rest heavily on Sri Lanka beating India. If the Indians win on Friday, the Bangladeshis will have to defeat the Bermudans by a record margin. However going by the way the Lankans are currently playing they should fancy their chances of making it to the Super 8s.

India - Considered to a pre-tournament favorite, the Indians are already facing their first do or die situation. Expected to waltz into the Super 8s the Indians face elimination unless they beat Sri Lanka. If they do they will go into the second round with a handy 2 pt lead.

Bermuda - Believe it or not Bermuda still has a mathematical chance of making it to the next round although it is almost a negligible one. For this to happen, India has to be annihilated by Sri Lanka and they will need to thrash the Bangladeshis by an unheard of margin as well. However the Bangladeshis should ride over them, so they should be looking to play for some pride in their final game.

Group C

New Zealand - They have looked good in patches and not so good in others. However they haven't dominated any team like the South Africans and Australians have so far, so I cannot comment about how good they are. They have made it through to the next round already with 2 points, regardless of their third result.

England - Things look a little dicey for the English. On current form it seems that the Kenyans could usurp their Super 8 spot when the two meet up on Saturday the 24th. They looked a little patchy against the Canadians and just couldn't use the initial breakthroughs they made against the Kiwis in their first game to press for a win.

Still they will go in as favorites against Kenya, but given the course of this World Cup, who knows what lies in store for the English. This weekend could be another "upset" weekend with two more major cricketing nations crashing out the world cup.

Kenya - If they can raise their game they could ambush this English team that seems very low on confidence. A lot rides on the shoulders of their captain Steve Tikolo who almost single-handedly beat the Canadians in their first game. They can make it past the first round like they did in 2003 with a win over England. Given the state of affairs back home over the past few years, even doing this would be a huge achievement for this team.

Out - Canada

To Progress

New Zealand - Already in. Just needs to ensure that they rout Canada to graduate from dark horses to a favourite. A couple of their players such as Lou Vincent who hasn't fired so far could use this game as a launching pad to good form and confidence.

England - Have to beat Kenya. A simple win will do to take them through.

Kenya - Have to beat England to qualify. A simple win will do as well.

Group D

West Indies - Before the tournament started not many would have bet on the Windies topping the group. However thanks to a pathetic showing by Pakistan, they are riding high in this group. They are in the Super 8 no matter what their third result is. However they will be looking to beat Ireland on Friday to take two invaluable pts into the Super 8s.

Ireland - Surely the story of the World Cup so far. They have been the toast of the tournament and been the underdog that every cricket fan (other than Pakistani) loves to support! They are already in the Super 8s, but will look to getting a couple of pts against the Windies to see if they can extend their stay in the Caribbean.

Out - Pakistan, Zimbabwe

To Progress

Both Ireland and the West Indies will want to win on Friday. It seems very unlikely that the Irish can beat the West Indies, but then this World Cup has already seen some upsets. We could be in for another on Friday the 23rd.

My Predictions

Although I think India will beat Sri Lanka on Friday (just because the consequences of losing is too terrible to imagine for the Indian players), going by recent match form I realistically think the Lankans will beat India and Bangladesh will make it through to the Super 8s.

England should defeat Kenya and join the Kiwis in the Super 8s as the Kenyans are just lacking the oomph needed to defeat England unless a lot of things go their way. However, these English are almost South Asian in nature. They seem to throw away a lot of good positions to end up in losing ones. So who knows?

Regardless, this week is going to be a very interesting time to be a cricket fan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WC week in review

Well I was expecting India to mess up and they sure obliged me. I really am glad that I didn't subscribe to the package and waste money following the games.

However no matter how much I try to distance myself from the game, it just doesn't work. On Saturday morning I was up and about early in the morning. I had a match at 9 in the morning. I made short work of my opponent and raced to see how we were doing driving to a friend's place almost all the way across town! Both of us were frustrated seeing the Indian players bat. I was wondering what was going through the minds of these overpaid, over-hyped bunch of players who fans would give up kidneys to watch them play.

Granted the Indian public puts a lot of pressure on these guys, but then are they really asking too much? All they want them to do is to do their job well. I'm sure if the Indians lost a match occasionally, noone would feel too badly about it. However it's the way these guys lose that really pisses everyone off.

Oh well the really sad part is that the Indian fans probably feel worse about the failures of the Indian cricket team than the players themselves do.

Their performance against Bermuda although passable is probably going to be the only thing for the Indian fan to cheer this world cup. I hope all you watched that game, because we are not going to see anything of the sort for a while to come. I expect the Indian team to pull up their socks and prove all their critcis wrong, but they owe a lot to their public. Nothing less than winning the world cup can make up for this loss to the lowly Bangladeshis.

On the other hand March 17th was an amazing day for cricket. The Irish and the Bangladeshis made their prescence felt this world cup and how! This win must especially be gratifying for the Bangladeshis as they have long harboured ill-will towards the BCCI and how they have been treated by them since they have become a test nation.

The Irish are the biggest story of this world cup. They have shown that they belong among the big boys. Hopefully this is the beginning of the rise of two successful cricketing nations in the world of cricket. An Irish filmmaker is planning to make a documentary of the exploits of the Irish at this World Cup.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shooting yourself in the foot!

Picture linked from BBC Sport

Yes I'm sure the Dutch are quite distraught that Gibbs decided to repay the kin of the founding fathers' of modern South Africa with his batting, but spare a thought for Johnnie Walker.

Who is Johnnie Walker you ask? Well they are apparently the Official Whisky of the Cricket World Cup 2007. On March 6 Viv Richards (their brand ambassador) announced the Six Sixes competition where any batsman who scored 6 sixes in an over could get Johnnie Walker to donate $1 million to any charity of his choice.

When I first read about this competition I thought... what a cheap way to get publicity! No batsman in the history of the game has ever done this in an international match. I'm sure the advertising company that came up with this contest must have patted themselves on their backs.

But guess what? Within 9 days Johnnie Walker is going to be $1 million poorer. I guess there are going to be a lot of people who are not going to get any bonuses this year! And all thanks to this 5 minute massacre.

Poor ol' Johnnie!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Team Talk - Pakistan

Warm up record:

Pakistan's recent cricketing news has read more about its players' off-field exploits than on. With the drama surrounding the failed Shoaib Akhtar and new sensation Mohd Asif, the Pakistani players were justified in claiming that their mind was not completely on the job. With an ailing captain and a bowling attack devastated by injuries and the stupid actions of two of their best bowlers; Pakistan arrived ahead of their WC in an unenviable position of having a second string bowling attack. To compound to their problems, their most reliable all-rounder in ODIs Abdul Razzaq was ruled out of the squad due to injuries.

Even on the batting front things looked shaky. Their one-man batting army and captain Inzamam is not going through his best years as a batsman or captain. There are big question marks about is best suited to open the batting and worst of all there is talk about in-fighting in the team.

If there is one thing to cheer about for the Pakistanis, it is that Mohd Yousuf has been having his best year as a batsman and Younis Khan could always be relied upon to be the linchpin of the batting lineup. However overall things looked sombre.

The warm up matches however did much to lift the spirits of the Pakistani cricket team and their fans. First they disposed of Canada in their first game with Mohd Hafeez turning in good performances with bat and ball and Inzi doing his bit with the bat.

The second game was even better. First they destroyed the current #1 team of ODI cricket by 7 wickets with some good performances again from Hafeez, Younis Khan, and, Mohd Yousuf. However the most encouraging thing about the entire game was that all their bowlers got to bowl and they all (except for Shoaib Malik) got some good performances in.

Pakistan will be playing a wounded West Indies team that will be raring to wrong their critics and make up for their performance against India. Pakistan appears to be very weak on paper, but you never know with the Pakistanis. They are dark horses who can definitely play spoiler to some of the more fancied teams.

Key Players:

* Mohd Yousuf & Younis Khan - Both these players make up what is arguably the best middle order of any batting lineup in this World Cup. They are solid batsmen who can win matches and have shared some amazing partnerships. They are both coming off prolific years, esp Mohd Yousuf who has had his best year as a batsman in International Cricket. Both batsmen are vital to Pakistan's success given that the opening looks very shaky.

* Mohd Hafeez - Chosen at the 12th hour as a replacement for the very potent Abdul Razzaq, Hafeez has impressed so far with both bat and ball. He seems to bring much to the table. He may be a player to watch in this World Cup.

* Umar Gul - Gul's career has been wrecked by injury. However in his brief stints in International cricket he has impressed with his incisive bowling. He may not be first choice when Asif and Akhtar are available, but, he is Pakistan's main bowling hope right now. If Sami and the other bowlers bowl within themselves, Pakistan may well surprise many with their bowling.

* Shoaib Malik & Afridi & Danish Kaneria - The pitches on display at the Carribean so far have made everyone predict that teams with slow bowlers will prosper. If this is so then this trio could be potential match winners. However all three are very inconsistent bowling very well in one game and terribly in another. Much will depend on the all-round skills of Afridi and Shoaib Malik. If they play to their potential then Pakistan will be close to unbeatable. However they have been huge disappointments so far. Pakistani fans will be hoping that they will prove everyone wrong and lift their games for the World Cup.

My prediction:

Although Pakistan has played well so far, I find it difficult to believe that they will be able to display the kind of consistency required to make it to the semi-finals. However they will be a very dangerous team and will play spoiler to other teams' semi-final chances.

Much depends on the performances of the under-performing all rounders and middle order veterans. But I doubt it will be enough to get them through.

Team Talk - Australia
Team Talk - India
Team Talk - West Indies

Team Talk - West Indies

Warm up record:

Match #1 - 19 run win against Kenya
Match #2 - 9 wicket loss against India

The West Indies has been very disappointing so far. They have let down all their supporters with some insipid performances in the two warm up matches. They nearly lost to Kenya and were thrashed by India thanks to a pathetic batting performance that would have shamed any of the minnows of this tournament.

Almost every cricket fan is hoping that the Windies find their groove and perform well in this cup so that cricket sees a resurgance in this region again. As Mark mentioned in an earlier thread, cricket needs a strong Windies back in its fold. It just seems to make the game more interesting and watchable to watch them play.

However for this to happen they need to play to their strengths and use the home advantage to put up some good performances. A lot is riding on the backs of these players and one hopes that they can live up to these expectations and not falter as they have so far.

Key Players:

* Lara - He has to lead from the front and inspire his team to win ala Ponting. He is going to have a tough time getting everyone in his team to play to their potential. However he has had decent run as captain so far and the Windies will be praying that he can transform his team of under-performers into bona-fide winners.

* Gayle - Possibly the most under-rated all-rounder today in world cricket. His exploits as a batsman are well known. After Lara he is the most dangerous batsman in the team. He can get the Windies off to wonderful starts and is a very dangerous bowler. The others need to do their job and use his starts to build a good score and not give the match away as they often seem to do when he gets out.

* Chanderpaul - He is the lynchpin of the Windies batting lineup. The windies desperately need him to support Lara and Gayle to help build a good score. He has often been guilty of not scoring quickly enough or faltering when the pressure is on.

* M Samuels - He has had some good scores of late. The Windies will be hoping that he can continue to score big and help set up/chase down some big scores.

My prediction:

The Windies are on very shaky ground. They should make it to the next round, but the Irish on current form look like they could ambush this team and prevent them from making it to the Super 8.

I will go out on a limb and say that they will not make it into the Super 8 round if they lose to the Pakistanis. So much is riding on this match against the Pakistanis on the 13th.

Team Talk - Australia
Team Talk - India
Team Talk - Pakistan

Team Talk - Australia

Warm Up Matches:

Match #1 - 182 run win against Zimbabwe
Match #2 - 5 wicket win against England

Australia is back to their old ruthless selves. Like it or not they are the team to beat in this WC. The return of the talismanic captain Ponting seems to have re-energized the team and suddenly they seem unbeatable once again. It doesn't hurt either that by the time they play the Saffers on the the squad will be bolstered by the return of King Roy (Symonds), Gilchrist, and, possibly Matthew Hayden. The only chink in their armour could be their bowling which seems to have halved in effectiveness without Brett Lee, but it will take a special batting performance from the opposition to overcome the Aussies. To beat this "never say die" team will be an achievement in itself. I have ranked the Aussies below the Indians as they were unable to bowl the Zimbabweans in the first match.

Key Players:

* Ponting - He is currently the best batsman in the world. He has single handedly won games for the aussies by blowing the opposition out of contention with his batting. The aussies seem to become inspired when he leads from the front. If any team can think of beating the Aussies they have to get him out early. He is a very good captain as well. He manages his bowling resources very well and somehow always seems to get the best of his players.

* Shaun Tait & McGrath - This is expectedly going to be the opening attack for the aussies throughout the tournament. Without Brett Lee the Aussie bowling attack seems feeble in comparison. However the performance of this opening pair can well decide the fate of the Aussies against the stronger batting attacks.

If Shaun Tait can find some accuracy to go along with his tearaway speeds, the Aussies may not miss Brett Lee as much.

* Micheal Hussey - A case of better late than never, Hussey has arrived on the international scene only recently. However he has arrived in style and has given the Aussie batting line-up unprecedented strength thanks to his being able to bat almost anywhere in the batting lineup. He is currently the best finisher in the game. No score seems to be too big to chase or set when he is in.

He has not made a big splash at this tournament as yet, but then he started out his International career with a duck, and we all know how he has played since then!

* Shane Watson - He is what Irfan Pathan is to the Indians. He has disappointed with his bowling, but has been very handy with the bat. If he can get his bowling in order, he could be a match winner for the Aussies.

NOTE: Due to Symonds returning from a serious injury, I am discounting him from the Key Player list.

My prediction:
I repeat - the Aussies are the team to beat this tournament as well. However they seem far more falliable this time. Thanks to the other teams in this tournament they should get to the Super 8 with ease and reach the semis very easily. However their bowling will have to be on top form to ensure that they progress any further.

Team Talk - India
Team Talk - Pakistan
Team Talk - West Indies

Team Talk - India

Warm up record:

Match #1 - 182 run win vs The Netherlands
Match #2 - 9 wicket win vs The West Indies

Much to my disbelief India (and relief) has played really well in the warm up games so far. In fact other than Pathan's wayward bowling and the pointlessness of having Sehwag in the team I can't really complain about much as a fan. They were great with the bat (was good to see Tendulkar hitting some runs in the first match) and devastating with the ball in the second. However I hope that this team does not become complacent as they play the mercurial Bangladeshis on the 17th.

Although I on current form I do not expect them to falter against the Bangladeshis, one has to consider that the only constant about the Indian team is their inconsitency (especially the batting). I hope the Indians take this form with them throughout the cup. If they play this way they could well be the team to dethrone the Aussies for the title.

Based on the performances in the warm up matches and the recent past here are the players I consider to be the Key players for India:

* Rahul Dravid - When he plays well, India almost always wins. He provides a solidity to the Indian batting that seems to rub off on players such as Yuvraj. When he fails India often falters. His captaincy has been very patchy as well. Here is a golden opportunity for him to prove his critics wrong.

* Yuvraj Singh & Mahendra Singh Dhoni - The performances of these two could well mean whether India win/lose their games. Be it on the field or with the bat, when they fire India can blow away their opposition.

Yuvraj is the future of the Indian batting line up. Hopefully he will show some temperment and play to his potential. If he does then no score is too large for India to set up or chase down. His bowling and fielding can prove to be invaluble as well.

Having seen the pitches so far, I am not sure if Dhoni will be able to play as he does in India, however he can clear the fence and can chip in with some vital cameos to help India set up a huge total/ win when chasing totals.

* Irfan Pathan - I am sure he will be selected in the batting line-up despite his indifferent form with the ball. However the pitches here will suit his bowling and he may surprise many with his bowling ala Brian Lara. If he can get his bowling sorted out India will have a bowling attack to be proud of.

My prediction:
Based on the performances in the Warm up matches I think a semi-final place is assured for the Indians. After that if they can continue in the same vein as they have in the last few games, fans such as myself could become believers again.

Team Talk - Australia
Team Talk - Pakistan
Team Talk - West Indies

Post WC warm up match summary

I don't think I've ever followed warm-up games as closely as I've followed the games this time around.

But then to be fair I suppose that would be because sites that gave updates and tracked the scores did not exist. Nor did I actually ever worry too much about the progress of the other teams unless the match really counted.

However years later, after much disillusionment from the team that I follow, I have grown to appreciate the other teams as well. Probably more so than the team that I wish would always perform to their potential.

The warm-up games were very interesting indeed. Although most of them were one-sided, I for one was fascinated by the implications of these games. Here are my rankings based on the teams' performance in the warm up games thus far.

The Performers so far

India (W2 - L0)
Australia (W2 - L0)
Pakistan (W2 - L0)
Bangladesh (W2 - L0)

For the Aussies it was business as usual as they killed their opponents. However they did not bowl out an under-strength Zimbabwe team so they could have worries with their bowling.

India had a very strong showing in both matches and a ruthlessness that every Indian fan will be hoping will continue into the World Cup when it actually counts.

Pakistani fans had some very pleasant news as their team won both their games in style. This team is severely depleted in the bowling dept but to their credit they out-bowled the fancied Saffers in Trinidad and coasted to a 7 wicket win!

Bangladesh has been the surprise of the tournament so far. They ambushed a surprised Kiwi team in their first game and were clinical in their second performance against the Scots. They look good to cause a major upset in the World cup by potentially looking to topple India and/or Sri Lanka and reach the Super 8.

The underperformers

England (W1 - L1)
New Zealand (W1 - L1)
Sri Lanka (W1 - L1)
South Africa (W1 - L1)
Ireland (W1 - L1)

All the teams above flattered to deceive in the warm up games. They won one game convincingly (generally against the minnows) and yet faltered against others.

New Zealand was shocked by an ebulient and confident Bangladesh in their first match. However they recovered well and bowled out a pre-tournament favorite for a semi-final spot to win their match against Sri Lanka. Lots of issues for the Kiwis to work out - especially with their bowling. The batting seems a little fragile as well as their match against the Bangladeshis showed.

South Africa was very disappointing in the warm up matches. They went in as the #1 team in the ICC rankings but did little to prove this. They were very shaky in their win against the Irish winning on their superior experience and crumbled against the Pakistanis. Their batting has been inadequate as their batsmen seem to be struggling to adapt to the pitches of the Carribean. They will need a much better showing to live up to their name. A super 8 spot looks guaranteed given the other teams in the group, but a semi-final spot looks very unlikely if they continue to play as they have so far.

Ireland could spring a surprise as well! They had a fabulous showing against the Saffers losing due to inexperience despite being on top almost throughout the game. They could a surprise Super 8 team as well!

Sri Lanka was ruthless against Scotland but disappointed against the Kiwis. Muralitharan has not hit the ground running yet and their batting collapsed against the Kiwis despite being in a good position to win the game.


Kenya (W1 - L1)
West Indies (W1 - L1)
Zimbabwe (W1 - L1)

None of the teams above were convincing in their victories and got thrashed in another game. West Indies is a surprising member of this group. Their fans hope that their capitulation against India was a bad day and that there will be no further repeats of such a performance.

Zimbabwe and Kenya can only hope that they do something special to beat their more fancied opponents. Both teams look unlikely to progress to the next round, but with some luck and the opponents having a bad day could play spoiler to a major team.

Just plain bad

Canada (W0 - L2)
Netherlands (W0 - L2)
Scotland (W0 - L2)
Bermuda (W0 - L2)

All the teams lived up to their names. They got beaten by the other teams quite badly and need a lot of luck to make a mark on this tournament.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The World Cup is here!!!!

A couple of weeks back cricket was the last thing on my mind. In fact thanks to India's inept performances on the cricket field and all the pathetic drama that had nothing to do with cricket and yet seems to be ingrained in Indian cricket I had pretty much given up on the whole sport.

But now I seem to be catching World Cup fever as well! I am really looking forward to this WC! However there is one huge difference in me. I have no expectations of India doing well. In fact I won't be surprised if they get knocked out in the first round by Bangladesh, especially after they upset the Kiwis today.

Here's the trophy that everyone is vying for

I am following all the warm up games with my buddies at Cricforum. As always it's tons of fun following all the cricketing action with everyone there. In fact the main reason that I seem to be catching the fever is thanks all the members of the forum.

Unlike other forums like Banglacricket where the sole aim of the majority of the members seem to be bashing India and other countries that are not Bangladesh, Cricforum has some awesome members from around the world who like to get along and have fun.

Anyways the warm up matches have given the Saffers, Kiwis, and the Pakistanis some food for thought about what they should change for the real games. Am happy for the Bangladeshis and the Irish. I wish the Irish had won though. Was good to see India start their campaign well.

I always love it when a David slays a Goliath (except when India plays).

Well anyways the World Cup theme song composed by Shaggy and Rupee is pretty decent. Quite peppy and as with all reggae music incomprehensible (except for the odd line here and there).

I hope India does really, really well but am really not expecting much from them. I'm sure I will be posting more as the action heats up. This post wasn't meant to be a critical analysis... Just a blurb about how I have got caught up in the excitement of the World Cup.

Now I am seriously considering buying one of the online video streaming packages.

1 year and counting

Wow how time flies!

This blog is now a year old. This is my 101st post on here. I hope that you readers have enjoyed reading blogs from me and my sis Ramya. We have been very busy over the past few months and so have not been very prolific.

Looking back, last time this year I was looking for something to do when I started this blog. A bachelor well on his way to finishing up his GMAT and pursuing his MBA.

I was pretty much sure about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. This year I have no clue about what I want to do by the end of the year, other than make sure that Swathy joins me of course.

Now my future looks a little murkier, a little scarier, and yet I wouldn't trade it in for all the security in the world cause of the people I have met and have been fortunate to fall in love with.

Here's to another year of blogging. Hopefully this year I will keep up with my resolutions and concentrate more on my career. Here's to another year of blogging and having my friends visit this site and leave more comments ;).

Friday, March 02, 2007

The things you have done to impress someone you've liked

Swathy had started this thread in her cousins group asking ppl to state the things that they had done to impress the opposite sex in their headier more foolish days. Kind of brought back memories of all the stupid things I had done in my life.

I have umm...

* In college I had taken a girl and a whole crowd her annoying friends to a movie hall 2 hrs away while they kept screeching and shouting in the back seat of my car over one stupid thing after another. Me being the only guy in the car was seriously wondering if she was worth this effort.

* Then after the 2 hr drive had to put up with them for dinner and ended up paying the dam bill coz i was the only working guy... then decided she was not worth the effort.

* Looked after a girl's bratty brother while the girl went to the shops with her annoying friends. I figured that was easier to do than end up taking them shopping and paying for stuff I didn't want to pay. Actually had lots of fun with the kid... I taught him how to play cricket and he was quite good at it! He taught me how to hate his nursery rhymes tapes. After this ran for my life anytime I saw the girl.

* In school and another time in college played tennis in front of a girl's house ... but she only seemed to come out when I was losing Sad
Same with cricket, badminton and other sports i'm good at... only seemd to be around when i was playing badly. Wondered where they went when I was playing well... but then found out that they were there even otherwise... and that I distracted myself and played badly when I shouldn't have

* Pretended to be a really good palm reader Mr. Green. This was quite a good one actually... although I'm sure everyone has done and most girls have had this done to them.

* In school sung and danced on stage even though i had major stage fright. Then found the girl I wanted to impress hadn't turned up at all! Still at least ppl talked well about it so the girl found out abt it from other ppl.

* In college I took a girl's friend to the hospital and stayed there all night (although the girl who i took to the hospital was also a very good friend - may not have stayed the night though if it wasnt for the girl)

* In office donated blood (although maybe this doesn't count coz I wanted to anyway) and this was a very good way to impress them! Most successful attempt ... coz I apparently impressed many ppl that I didn't intend to impress either! I think I wrote about this sometime ...

* Before meeting swathy I used to volunteer at a bunch of places to pass my weekends... One time there was this girl in the office who i used to like who asked if I wanted to volunteer at one place where I would be put in charge of overseeing some birthday party.

Found out when i got there that I was the only person there to babysit the kids.. Sad Apparently she had told them that I was very good with kids, and they decided to use other volunteers elsewhere. God I had such a migrane after that!!!