At CT13, Australians yet to show intent, intensity and hunger

CT13 Ian BellIt was supposed to be a ‘Super Saturday‘, but didn’t turn out one.

England and Australia were playing their first Group A round-robin league match against each other and given their rivalry (Ashes and otherwise) it promised to be one cracker of a game. But for some reason, the Aussie side that turned up for this clash was far from what we are accustomed to see for last so many years. They simply lacked fire.

England sporting their new red jerseys, looking fresh in new colors batted first and posted 269/6 with Ian Bell playing a superb innings of 91. This was a decent score on that track but nothing of the size that can seemingly intimidate the Australians. But it did.

When the Aussies came out to chase, there was no intent to go about it. Batting included, during the whole match, one just didn’t find the glimpse of aggression that is so native to Australian. They went about their business in a manner that is so unlike them. The zeal, the hunger to win was somewhat missing. Yes, the Haydens, the Gilchrists, the McGrawths and the Warnes don’t play the game anymore but the Australian body language has to have successors who can keep the attitude of these champion cricketers alive.

More than the loss, it was disappointing to see the manner in which they lost. They sure can fight better than this.

Australia play New Zealand next in Edgbaston on Wednesday and this is a good opportunity for them to come in their own. More so because these are two sides who have always been fighting it out against each other and thus aggression naturally makes its way into the contest. This may well be the catalyst that Australia need to get going.

They are a strong side, with multiple match winners. It’s only the famous Aussie attitude that they need to rediscover and there on they’ll be a side to watch out for.

Photo Credit: Nick Boalch


Champions Trophy 2013 Tickets – Selling like ‘Hot Cakes’

Champions Trophy TicketsIt’s 3 more days to go before the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 commences in England & Wales and the stage looks set just right for a super exciting tournament. The warm-up games plus the ongoing NatWest Series between England and New Zealand are those little teasers that make one sigh and think – ah! what an atmosphere for good three weeks of ODI cricket. It suddenly brings back memories of those nail biting finishes that we all have witnessed sometime, from the greatest matches played on the world stage.

Yes, now we have all these fast paced T20 games, both domestic and international, that bring so much in terms of thrill, but we all know how beautiful is a nicely poised, well fought 50 over game. Such delight!

TV networks are also doing a great job reviving ODI cricket and are pre-selling the tournament splendidly. In case you have seen the new ‘Champions Trophy on HD’ promo on ESPN-Star, you know what I mean. Take a bow creative team for this promo, and particularly for that last shot which shows the cricket ball with dust particles around it…in HD. You guys have taken the visual experience of sports telecast on television to an entirely new level and I must tell you, its just great for the game.

And if this gets you thinking that all the cricket lovers are glued to their television sets and stadiums aren’t attracting as many spectators. Well, think again. Its crazy out there and tickets for ICC Champions Trophy 2013 are selling like hot cakes.

Champions Trophy is being played in England for the second time, and the interest it is drawing is more than ever. The Oval, Edgbaston and The Cardiff Wales Stadium, three venues for this tournament are expecting full-house for most of the matches. For records, as it would happen anywhere in the world, the June 15 India vs. Pakistan encounter at Edgbaston is already ‘SOLD OUT’.

Multiple vendors and various ticketing partners like TicketMaster, LiveNation Entertainment and others are offering tickets both online and over the counter. Ticket prices are ranging from £20 for group games (family stand) to £60 (Gold) for the big final at Edgbaston. Whatever row, whichever stand you get, go grab your tickets and don’t miss out upon a chance to cheer your favorite team right from the buzzing stadium. Some tournaments are special, and being the last Champions trophy edition this one is special for sure.

I have my ticket for the finals. And if you happen to get yours, then see you in Edgbaston. I’ll be there with my face painted in my team’s color, dancing and jumping in hope that some cameraman notices me and I show up on the big screen 🙂 !

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Super Eights – Everything is super about them!

ICC World twenty20 Super Eights

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 1 of the Super Eights at ICC World Twenty20, and all of a sudden one feels how beautifully and fittingly written are these lines from Urdu poetry – “Aghaz aisa hai to Anjaam kaisa hoga” (if such is the inception, well, what to expect in the end). ICC World Twenty20 2012 has started to come into its own; super eights on day 1 itself has announced a cricket bonanza, which is ready to unwrap in the next two weeks – big time.

Game 1 of the Super eights between Sri Lanka and New Zealand went to super over after the scores ended in a tie. At one stage when Sri Lanka was chasing, around the 17th over, they were looking like chasing the target easily but some really good seam bowling by the Kiwis lead by Tim Southee made a match of it. Eventually however, a brilliant catch from Dilshan turned the fortunes in Sri Lanka’s favour and made sure they got the first two points.

In game 2, the West Indies showed why they are a big contender to win this edition. All through the 40 overs, what stood out was the West Indian spirit. There was no pressure on them whatsoever. They are one side who truly enjoy their game; the dance moves and the run out warnings from the very special Chris Gayle were titillating enough to make you dance along as well.

England looked a bit out of sorts. Though a late burst from Eoin Morgan who went at a strike rate of almost 200 did bring some hope to the Englishmen but his lone effort wasn’t enough. The surprising thing about the English chase was that they only lost four wickets, which means that they had set batsmen at the crease during their chase, and this to an extent raises some doubts on Alex Hales’s ability to pace his innings. Hales scored 68 from 51 balls and that, for an opener, as per the modern standards is somewhat on the slower side, given the fact that he stayed at the crease for almost the whole course of English innings and that too on the Pallekele batting paradise.

Overall, day 1 was full of excitement with two sides who did their basics better than the other two ending up on the winning side. Day 2 brings us two other very big and important group 2 games from Premadasa, Colombo. South Africa takes on Pakistan in the first of these, so be ready for the all greens battle and the battle of South African pace and Pakistan’s spin. Then late evening, India plays Australia which is a big-big game; the war of words have already begun and the sides are raring to go. The coming week promises a lot and it can only get better from here.

Duckworth-Lewis, What a relief !

Taken by myself, this morning, at the Sydney C...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ICC World Cup 1992, 2nd Semi-final – England vs. South Africa, Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). SCG was buzzing with capacity crowd. It was March 22 and when rain stopped play for the last time during this match, 22 (off 13 balls) were precisely the runs required for South Africa to make it to the World Cup final. South Africans didn’t know then, that, when play resumes they would be faced with their worst moment after a long 21 years exile from international cricket. When the play resumed, they did know. The large screen at SCG displayed, 22 REQUIRED OFF 1 BALL.

Cricket is primarily an outdoor sport and like any other outdoor sport, a possibility of it being interrupted by rain or bad weather is always on cards. For years, various rules have been applied to calculate targets in curtailed games. South Africans, at SCG, found themselves at receiving end of one such rule. The rule applied during this game was the “best scoring overs” rule. As per this rule, for the amount of time lost due to interruption, no. of overs that the side chasing gets to bat are reduced proportionately. And, the achievable target is arrived at by adding up runs scored in the ‘best scoring’ overs of the previous innings. So, let’s consider an over lasts for approximately four minutes, if 20 minutes are lost due to interruption, a team gets to bat five overs less and they would be chasing a target by including runs from five ‘best scoring’ overs of the first innings. Thus, in such a situation, if five maidens are bowled in the first innings, target for the team chasing remains unchanged, though they lose five overs. At SCG around 10 minutes were lost in that fateful semi-final. Well, some rule, but not quite.

Two English statisticians, Duckworth and Lewis, addressed this problem and provided a beautiful solution that is now being used in all modern day limited over cricket formats. It is scientific, mathematical, logical and thus widely acceptable. The core concept on which Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method has its foundation is ‘available resources’. Resources in this context means remaining overs and wickets in hand. As per this rule, these two resources, more or less define a team’s chances of chasing down a target. Thus, at a given point of time, if a match has to be abandoned due to rain or any other reason, a potential victory or defeat is assumed to be based on wickets standing and overs remaining. D/L have nicely derived a table in which, if you input remaining overs and wickets in hand, you know how much is a team looking at.

For D/L to apply, a minimum of 20 overs in an ODI game and at least five overs in a T20 game should have been completed. A major criticism of D/L is, that via this rule, result of a game is driven more by wickets standing than by overs remaining, and thus that ‘balance’ between the ‘resources’ is missing. But isn’t it so much better than what we saw at SCG, ahh, such a relief !!! WW6PXY4QQTKV