Posted by: tootingtrumpet | February 21, 2011

Australia vs Zimbabwe – The Final Over of the Day

Tatenda Taibu - smarter than Brad Haddin and Matt Prior combined.

Ball One – Cricket has been the least of Zimbabwe’s concerns over the last decade or so as the country came close to disintegration. The signs are that Zimbabwe has some stability these days and that its cricket administration is also on a sound footing, with many players returning to their country’s colours. As I wrote during the last World Cup, I’m pleased to see pragmatic engagement with Zim. The sporting boycott of Apartheid South Africa played a full part in bringing down that hideous regime, but that does not mean that such a strategy should be used as a default for countries in turmoil.

Ball Two – Does anyone else smile when a review is called and the first picture is the side-on shot with all eyes on the bowler’s front foot. “It’s not a no ball” say the commentators, despite my eye seeing a crooked, sometimes very crooked, arm which straightens in the next clip as Hawkeye tracks the flight of the ball. Many bowlers do it, slow and quick, and I know about the 15 degrees of flex and I also know that bowlers need help to balance the power of heavy bats and flat pitches. I’d much rather see that balance through allowing ball “tampering” explicitly and taking a very firm line on 15 degrees of flex. It’s not the 70s any more and it’s not slow bowling that needs promoting these days, it’s fast bowling.

Ball Three – I speculated at Spin Cricket that in the future, every ODI player will be a davidhussey.  The Zim bowling has been impressive following the davidhussey template of barely turning, accurate darts that hustle the batsmen from one delivery to the next and one over to the next. With the batsmen having to make the pace on the ball and looking to preserve wickets early, the scoreboard can become a problem for the batting side. At the time of writing, it remains to be seen whether the strategy works as well in the second half of the Australian innings. Soon some sides will dispense altogether with pace in ODI and T20I cricket.

Ball Four – I’ve always liked Tatenda Taibu as a cricketer. He played a key role in dismissing both openers by calling for reviews and getting both right. Watson will feel aggrieved (I suspect that he feels aggrieved even when bowled middle stump) but it’s always dangerous to thrust the front pad at non-turning leg-breaks. Watson has plenty of experience of sub-continental pitches, so he knows that the older ball won’t often bounce over the stumps. A lesson re-learned perhaps.

Ball Five – Since Zimbabwe restructured its domestic cricket, it has paid significant sums to overseas players and coaches, controversially so in the case of Brian Lara. If the team’s display in the field against the world champions is anything to go by, it’s money well spent. Zim look in a different league to Kenya, Canada and even Bangladesh, executing smart plans with confidence and real skill.

Ball Six – Ricky Ponting looks too old to be playing ODI cricket. He may prove me wrong, but, great athlete that he is, he has a lot of miles on the clock and few players can resist Old Father Time. If he does lead his team to a fourth successive World Cup, it will be the pinnacle of a glittering career and one of cricket’s greatest personal achievements.


The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999.



  1. Ball two: Ha! I saw Utseya’s warmup ball to mid-off and thought that it looked like a 15-degree special. But from the camera from behind his arm, his action looked OK. Then I saw the side-on replay for that referral and had a similar reaction to yours.

    • From side on it looked ridiculous. So does Botha’s action.

      The commentators must be smirking.

  2. If they also bat like David Hussey then Australia will be in for one rude shock.

  3. At the half-way mark, Aus have done well to get up over 250, but they’ve also shown that it is possible to time the ball on this pitch. If Zim can get a decent start and then bat around someone aiming to make 100 off 130 balls, they could do this.

  4. Well at least Australia aren’t peaking too early.

  5. Well, you got it right. If he wins the Cup now, it will be a huge personal achievement and nobody can then throw the “he had a great team so he won 2 cups” at him. Forget lifting the cup, if he can take his team to the Semis, he’d have done a good job as captain. I am torn between a First World Cup for Sachin and Fourth for Ricky. I’ll settle for the latter, if only because Dhoni will walk away with a lot of credit if India win it. People are still going to say “Dhoni won it for Sachin”. After 6 world cups, and all that he has done, Sachin doesnt deserve such borrowed glory. A Win in 2003 would have been Sachin’s and Sachin’s alone. Since that didnt happen, let Ricky win this one. Atleast, this champion will receive his due that way

  6. After that display is there an argument for Tait to be given only 1 over spells every 5th or 6th over
    Spell 1 – 2 runs and 6 runs
    Spell 2 – 0 runs and 10 runs
    Spell 3 – 4 runs and 1 run
    Spell 4 – 1 run and 10 runs
    Spell 5 – 3 runs

  7. Right now I wish I had access to Sky – I always love it when Sir Ian does his nut and I’d imagine he’s most definitely doing in after the last 5 overs!
    Great job by ten Doeschate.

  8. So even the dutch left arm spinners are more successful against KP than the Aussie ones…..

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