What a week! We saw teams trying hard to lose, it seems but failing to do so, we saw a humdinger of a match between the hosts.
First let’s the world cup record out of the way. Yes , Chris Gayle got 215. Yes, he got it against Zimbabwe in the death overs. Yes, Zimbabwe have shown they don’t know what to do once they get to that point. Maybe they get tired, who knows. I don’t think it’s quite as wonderful news for the West Indies as is being made out to be. They say that Gayle should take his time to settle in. They say it’s ok to have all those dot balls early in the innings. They say it’s ok for him not to rotate the strike. I say that there is no guarantee that he will be able to capitalize on his very slow start, not against opposition about 3 times more powerful and experienced than Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. In say that not rotating the strike cna put his batting partner under pressure. Gayle to me looks like man unfit, mentally and physically. I read a description of his warm up routine that about summed it up. “Gayle is there warming up, which means standing there leaning on his bat”.
Meanwhile Afghanistan tried everything in their power to make their game against Scotland more exciting than it needed to be. There were some inexplicable shots but they somehow managed not to lose. Scot land had previously managed not to win against England, giving their southern brethren a much needed entry into the points table.
We saw Pakistan scrape to a win against Zimbabwe, after losing abjectly against West Indies. Now here is an example of an inexperienced and scared captain. Jason Holder, at 23, a surprising choice for captain of West Indies, has pakistan down 4 wickets for a run, spreads the field because that’s what is normally done at that point in the game. Contrast that with B McCullum, who had 3 slips in the 30th over against England becuase he had them on the ropes. Holder allowed Pakistan to post a much more of total than they should have. I hope that net run rate doesn’t bite him in the ass. Even against Zimbabwe, Pakistan lost early wickets and then ground out a sub par score, because Zimbabwe lost steam again. The Pakistan bowlers have looked much better organized than the batsmen. I shall not mention the poor fielding and the shocking wicket keeping.
We saw England lose. Badly. Boringly. Normally. This time to Sri Lanka. Oh there were smiles as Bell and Ali started well, then Root got to a hundred. He is the only England batsman I have any faith in. Taylor, inexplicably, forced to give up his place to a hopelessly out of it Ballance is just not getting enough opportunity to make a difference. Meanwhile, Bopara sits and looks on. For god’s sake, England, give taylor Ballances’s #3 spot, and bring in Bopara at #6! The less said about the bowling the better. James Anderson is about 30% of the bowler he used to be. I’m now told his figures in ODIs outside England suck and in World Cups they suck even more. Finn was tall and fast and different from the Woakes, Stokes and the other blokes. So England went to work on him and he now looks tall and bowls at about Broad’s pace, who bowls about the same pace as Woakes. Good job! We now have an attack that can hammer away at the same speed, length, line and attack all day. Consistency gained! Matches lost! But, consistency, discipline and team effort gained!
Sangakarra and Thirimanne showed England how to bat. I must admit that Thirimanne looks like a wicket waiting to fall for a proper (non-English) attack. I was also frustrated by Sri Lanka’s lackadaisical approach in the field against England. Catches were dropped, fielders did not chase with any vigour and overall they looked tired and resigned in the field, with no sense of purpose or energy.
What? I missed talking about The Aus vs NZ game? I did not, my dears! It deserves a post all it’s own!