4 weeks, 42 matches, 8 teams left standing | Pakistan Today

4 weeks, 42 matches, 8 teams left standing

NEW DELHI – After four gruelling weeks, thousands of air miles clocked up and 42 matches played, the World Cup quarter-finals will still feature the world’s eight top-ranked teams. The first round, as expected, saw Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya fall by the wayside with some hitting the ground more painfully than others. But, in general, it was business as usual for the sport’s elite sides and fuel for the International Cricket Council who will slash the 2015 World Cup to 10 teams from the 14 who started out on the sub-continent.
Ireland were the only associate nation to defy the odds when they pulled off a huge upset against England in Bangalore on the back of Kevin O’Brien’s fastest ever World Cup century. It didn’t matter that England went on to lose to lowly Bangladesh or India were beaten by South Africa who in turn lost to England, the big beasts of cricket still made the quarter-finals their own.
Most of the action centred around Group B thanks mainly to England who unwittingly did the organisers a favour by infusing life into the tournament through their see-saw performances. England were staring down the barrel after India whipped up a formidable 338 batting first but skipper Andrew Strauss struck a fine 158 as his team tied the game. Ashes winners England then did the unthinkable by going down to Ireland despite making a huge 328.
“We are very concerned with the process to sell the remaining tickets to the public. With the significant demand and little availability there is potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open. For this reason we strongly recommend that this sale of tickets be cancelled” – ICC legal head David Becker in a letter to the governing body’s president Sharad Pawar after the official online ticket website crashed due to 10 million people chasing just 1,000 tickets to the final.
“We have received numerous complaints from our commercial partners, who have paid millions of dollars to receive rights and benefits which include the timely provision of tickets and hospitality. This is placing our sound relationships at breaking point” – Becker emphasises his concern.
“It is not a new thing…it’s difficult for the people who have lived in Europe and in America to understand” – Bangalore’s police commissioner Shankar Bidari defending the baton attacks on cricket fans angry that they could not buy tickets for England against India.
“We need to find better ways to distribute tickets but the reality is that if tomorrow’s match was at a 100,000 seater (stadium) we’d still not have enough tickets to go and satisfy the public demands” – ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat after fans clashed with police outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
“Looking forward to the game between India and England today…should be a cracker. My prediction a tie!” – Australia bowling great Shane Warne tweets before the England v India match started in Bangalore. The match ended in a tie.
“What a game! Halfway point – happy with tie, 10 overs to go — disappointed with tie, 3 overs to go, delighted with tie. Overall v happy” – Ailing fast bowler Stuart Broad tweets after he watched the England v India match from his hotel room.
“In some ways we’re happy and in some ways we’re distraught. A great game of cricket” – England skipper Andrew Strauss after both teams had scored 338.
“The adulteration of the technology with human observation was the reason why we didn’t get that wicket. So I hope next time it will be either technology or human intention” – India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the not out decision given to England’s Ian Bell even though the review system suggested he was lbw for 17 against India. He went on to score 69.
“I wouldn’t mind taking that wicket around with me, it’s fun to bowl on. You never complain when you come to India as a spinner ” – Zimbabwe spinner Ray Price.
“When you are 111-5, I said… we could just potter around and get 220 off 50 overs… and the game would have been pretty boring to watch on TV. I just chanced my arm and said I’m going to be as positive as I can and I got a few away and didn’t look back really” – Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien after hitting the fastest World Cup century off 50 balls.
“It was shaping up to be a helluva match but here we are watching it monsoon down” – Umpire Ian Gould on washout in the Australia v Sri Lanka match.
“We have been involved in three very tight games of cricket so far in this World Cup. I think we are definitely doing our bit to advertise the 50-overs format” – Strauss on beating South Africa by six runs.
“Kamran Akmal thinks being a wicketkeeper means letting the batsmen keep his wicket” – A fan tweets after the Pakistani dropped Ross Taylor when the New Zealand batsman was on nought and eight. He went on to score 131 not out.
“If his batting was as good as Don Bradman’s he (Akmal) couldn’t score enough runs to make up for what he costs them with his keeping,” – Former Australia captain Ian Chappell.
“Singles are the lifeblood of the game but the problem with India is a lot of batsmen are going for the glamour shots” – Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar sums up why India lost nine wickets for 29 runs in their defeat by South Africa.
“There was no doubts about the nick. I knew I hit it but as always I wait for the umpires to give me out. That’s the way I always played the game,”- Australia captain Ricky Ponting on why he refused to walk even though it was clear he had edged the ball while playing Pakistan.
“Bangladesh can still qualify…if India makes 781 in 50 overs and dismiss West Indies for 10 runs” – Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar works out the maths to see if co-hosts Bangladesh had any way of reaching the last eight.
The moments that made headlines in the first round
– Lasith Malinga’s hat-trick: Sri Lanka’s king of sling claimed a second World Cup hat-trick in a six-wicket haul against hapless Kenya in Colombo. Malinga sent back Tanmay Mishra, Peter Ongondo and Shem Ngoche in successive balls. In 2007, he had taken four in four balls against South Africa.
– Kevin O’Brien’s record century: Irish whirlwind Kevin O’Brien scored the fastest-ever World Cup century, off just 50 balls, as Ireland completed a stunning three-wicket win over England.
– Shoulder to shoulder after quake tragedy: Australia and New Zealand players stood shoulder to shoulder and observed a minute’s silence in Nagpur on February 25 in honour of the Christchurch earthquake victims. “We are neighbours and brothers,” said Australia skipper Ricky Ponting.
– Tait v Tillakaratne: Aussie speedster Shaun Tait and Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan squared up in Colombo and Tait won hands down. Dilshan edged through the slips to enrage the fiery Tait. The Sri Lankan then pulled away from the crease just as Tait went into his next delivery stride, before the speedster had his man next ball, courtesy of a slip catch.
– Brother bother: Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal’s calamitous performance behind the stumps against New Zealand unleashed a stream of criticism and paved the way for younger brother Umar to take over. That was until Umar hurt his finger and ankle in two training accidents and was accused by sections of the Pakistan media of feigning injury to save his brother’s job.

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