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Archive for the ‘Champions Trophy’ Category

Not Really Invincible But Definitely the Strongest

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

It is not surprising to see an Australian team emerge as the winner in an ICC Cricket tournament; however, the way this Australian outfit bounced back after their dismal Ashes campaign is peerless. They have got the perfect combination and the perfect replacements, though it won’t fill the shoes of the former greats.

Australia struggled terribly in the ICC World T20 and this was followed by an abysmal effort in the Ashes series which made them look pretty ordinary. An almost white wash by Australia in the ODI series against England was just a beginning. Even then, there were those who believed that Australia did not have the arsenal to defend the Champions Trophy they clinched in 2006.

In the initial stages, Australia’s performance justified the skeptics and they were almost on the brink of another oust. After winning that nail-biter against Pakistan, Australia peaked at the right time by winning the semi-final and the final matches comprehensively.

So we might see another strong team in the next World Cup that is not so far from now. This will intensify the battle for the World Cup as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa have strong bids for the next World Cup.

Aussies Regained their Dominance, But Has ODI Cricket?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

There had been lot of talks about the existence of ODI Cricket before the start if the Champions Trophy 2009 and many opined that the Success of Champions Trophy would keep the ODI cricket afloat amid the euphoria of T20 carnivals like IPL, Champions league, ICC world T20 etc.  If we have to take those skeptics in to account then the life of ODI cricket is at stake.

The ICC has refashioned the Champions Trophy by trimming the no of teams to 8 and just 15 games to make it more attractive. But that has been an utter failure as just 1 match was decided in the final over and all the other games, including the Semi- Finals and Final were one-sided.

England and New Zealand did really well to knock out South Africa and Sri Lanka in the preliminary stages of the competition but couldn’t replicate that in the later stages when it mattered. South Africa continued their woeful outing in the ICC events and re-affirmed the ‘Chokers’ tag, which they were desperate to throw away. India was also no exception. They couldn’t justify the rankings and were crashed out in the first round. The absence of the pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, Explosive opener Virender Sehwag were added to India’s defeat but the retreat of Yuvraj Singh ,just before the start of the tournament had put India’s preparation in complete disarray. Sri Lanka looked mediocre in the absence of a fully-fit Muralitharan and an out-of-form Jayasuriya.

Australia peaked at the right time and that was perhaps the biggest difference of the tournament. They struggled early for the rhythm, however as the tournament reached the summit clash, they started to fire on all cylinders. New Zealand did well to reach the finals but held back in the crunch match. Australia are back at the helm, however it won’t be easy for them to sustain that.  They will face-off against India in 3 weeks time, which would be a hard-test for their rookies, who failed terribly in the last Indian tour.

The next 12 months will be a real test for ODI Cricket as during this period, as the world will witness the prime T20 tournaments like the Champions League T20, IPL 2010 and the World T20. The competition has been really stiff in the bi-lateral series but lacked that vigor in the multi-team tournaments and that has been the reason of plunge in the excitement as far as the ODI cricket is concerned. If things get worse, then we wouldn’t even see the 2011 World Cup and instead a T20 World Cup. It’s better to keep the fingers crossed until the 2011 World Cup.

Battle Resumes for the Arch-Rivals

Friday, September 25th, 2009
Hard to choose the winner....

Hard to choose the winner....

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain has started the verbal-battle by saying that Sachin Tendulkar is not as threatening as he was in 2003. In that match, Sachin single-handedly demolished the Pakistan attack that included Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akthar.

India- Pak matches has always been real feasts for the spectators due to the hype it creates and the quality of players in both teams.  Pakistan had the edge in ODI’s in the 70’s, 80’s and till the mid 90’s, before the arrival of the Little Master (perhaps, the little demolisher) Sachin Tendulkar. The primary reason behind the success was their quality pool of fast bowlers, which India had lacked greatly.

Post 2000 saw the dominance of India as they evolved drastically under the helm of Sourav Ganguly.  They outplayed Pakistan in majority of the matches including India’s undefeatable run in the World Cups against Pakistan. India became much stronger after 2005 and they managed to win the majority of the matches against Pakistan. The Epic win at the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup reaffirmed India’s dominance against Pakistan.

It’s after 14 months that the arch rivals are locking their horns again and we can’t ask for a better place than the Super Sports Park at Centurion. The memories of the 2003 match will be big confidence booster for India, while Pakistan would be looking for turning things this time around. A win will not only change their fate against India at the big-stages but also seal a place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.


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