Posted by: tootingtrumpet | February 21, 2011

Sri Lanka vs Canada – The Final Over of the Day

"Fancy a game of cricket mate?" "Yeah."

Ball One – Sri Lanka – obviously big favourites –  win the toss and elect to bat. Do they have an eye on Net Run Rate? Sangakkara may fancy running up 300+ minimum then shooting out Canada – is that better for the NRR than New Zealand dismissing Kenya for 69 and knocking them off in 8 overs? Such is the working of the NRR that I’m afraid I don’t know and I’m not sure many do. If teams are tied on points in the group stages, wouldn’t it be better to have a T20 play off? Football plays an shortened 30 minutes match (called Extra Time) in tournament knockout rounds without any problems. (I shall post David Barry’s thoughts in the comments – he is as enlightening and generous as ever).

Ball Two – Pressure does things to bowlers, but is it too much to expect an international bowler to keep to one side of the wicket and one length? If the bowler is going full and straight with the new ball (surely the best bet) isn’t it best to have a man very straight at long-on? Yet it’s a position seldom used by fielding captains in powerplay cricket.

Ball Three – Of Kumar Sangakkara’s 283 ODIs, this is the 270th in company with Mahela Jayawardene. Incredibly, all 94 of Kumar’s Tests have been played with Mahela also in the side. Such a record speaks of their consistency and tremendous fitness records – what fine servants they have been to Sri Lankan cricket and the game as a whole.

Ball Four – Mahela plays ODI cricket pretty much the same way that he plays Test cricket – okay, he does play more shots in ODIs, but not too many that he wouldn’t play in Test cricket if the ball is there to be hit. That approach was good enough to bring him the fourth fastest century in World Cup history, albeit off some very ordinary bowling. He’s been around forever, but he’s still only 33 and might fancy yet another World Cup after this one. Purists will hope that he does.

Ball Five – John Davison has the experience and the record to show that he has what it takes to play good innings in the World Cup, but he was given no chance by new young speedster Thisara Perera. Knowing that a batsman is at his most vulnerable facing his first delivery, the strapping Lankan hit the perfect line and length straight away and sent Davison back to the pavilion first ball. He’ll dismiss plenty more top order batsmen if he continues in that vein.

Ball Six – Ajantha Mendis is into his work in the powerplay and spins a web of deceit with balls that offer to turn, and usually don’t… but occasionally do. In some ways, he is a slow version of Glenn McGrath – he gets in close to the wicket to bowl stump to stump, gives the batsman little to hit and looks to move the ball half a bat’s width to beat the stroke. Great fun to watch too – I hope he plays plenty of matches in this tournament.


  1. In response to my question “What’s better re NRR? 69ao (24 overs) and 70-0 (8 overs) or 350-5 (50 overs) and 69ao (24 overs)? Second example more impressive?”

    David Barry writes

    If you only play one game, then the first example gives a better NRR (7.37 v 5.62). But suppose that in the other 5 group games, the team scores 1350 runs from 250 overs and concedes 1350 runs from 250 overs.

    Then the first scenario gives an overall NRR of 0.77; the second scenario gives 0.93. So in the long run, it is usually better to bat first against the minnows and rack up massive scores.

    Thanks Dave.

  2. This is the one side match as all know…

  3. I watched quite a lot of that match and I’m not entirely sure why because it was horribly one-sided and lacking in any kind of drama. It was great for my fantasy team on cricinfo though, I had Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Kulasekara in there and they scored me a bundle of points….

    When I heard about the decision to bar the minnows from the next WC I was disgusted by it. On the whole I still am, but if all their matches are going to be as one-sided as the two today then I may be forced to reluctantly change my opinion. Hopefully Ireland and Holland can put up more of a fight.

    • It was awful today Sassenach. I’m all for minnows, but three games is enough for them – unless they step up and perform.

  4. Sassenach, Yeah, I’m all for the associate members being represented in the WC but Canada and Kenya aren’t making it an easy case to make, are they? Maybe two instead of four, making for a 12 team tournament would be ideal? Anyone else watch today and think: ‘this could have been Afghanistan’. Bit harsh on the Canucks but still…

    Jayawardena’s innings today was exactly the kind of knock Ian Bell should be playing in ODIs by now. As TT says, he didn’t really depart significantly from his Test match modus operandi. Few premeditated shots, only one reverse sweep that I can remember, just sweetly timed and properly conceived cricket shots. Lovely to watch, as always.

    • And superb running with a partner with whom has run a few singles before!

    • Harry, if you want drama you need more sides, not less: the extent of drama exists as a tension between sides on either side of the line of qualification. Sri Lanka, who are ranked 3 places above elimination, versus Canada, probably 2 below qualification, doesn’t provide that. They both have other matches (vs New Zealand and Zimbabwe) that will, but the only truly interesting games are those between 7/8th and 9/10th, because they are effectively eliminations.

      [Kenya’s match against New Zealand was supposed to occupy an area nearer that line, but Kenya batted exceptionally poorly. I haven’t seen as long a line of batsmen stuck on the crease getting out to an identical ball since Boxing Day.]

      If you increase the tournament size to 20 (4 groups of 5), 1st qualifying to the quarters, 2nd/3rd to a play-off second round, then you still get irrelevant mismatches but there are four times as many games with dramatic tension – between the sides ranked 1-4th and 5-8th for 1st place; and between those ranked 9-12th and 13-16th for 3rd.

      I thought Canada bowled and fielded relatively well, for the most part, especially given they lost Osinde early on. They have a limited lineup though, even more-so than the other associates here.

      • Russ – I also felt that Canada bowled and batted quite well, with thought and planning on show. That they were still smashed is rather a worry as that shows that the talent just isn’t there.

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