Posted by: tootingtrumpet | November 20, 2011

The Final Over of the Week in World Cricket November 20 2011

Ball One – At the Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament underway in Bangladesh, there have been a few mismatches (as you get in the Men’s World Cup) but it’s always good to read of a close and hard fought match. Having collapsed from 110-6 in the 34th over to 114 all out, South Africa knew they had to bowl and field well to pressure Sri Lanka and were soon reaping the rewards of such work with the Lankans nine down and just 83 on the tins. The islanders’ last pair then blocked and nurdled for over an hour, building a stand of 25 in nearly 20 overs, before last woman Sherina Ravikumar was dismissed six short of the target. It’s impossible to imagine a men’s match going that way – who would have the patience – and it would have been lovely to see such obduracy win out at the last. But it didn’t, and maybe a little more aggression would have paid off.

Ball Two – What alchemy is wrought to turn youthful promise into mature achievement is a mystery in all sports, indeed in all forms of human endeavour, but having what the Spanish call cojones is surely part of the recipe. While Darren Sammy’s inexperienced side were fighting a losing battle against India’s mountain of runs, West Indies A showed some cojones in St Lucia with the last pair getting them over the line in the Second Unofficial Test vs Bangladesh A. In a low-scoring match, the standout performer was Sunil Narine, a spinner by trade, who made 40* in the first dig having come in at 60-7, backing up that effort with a vital 26* to see his side home second time round. In contrast to ball one, West Indies A’s last pair knocked up 17 runs in three overs to win. As ever in cricket, the correct strategy is only discernible in hindsight.

Ball Three – With England’s ODI and T20 wicketkeeping slot as unsettled as the Test position is settled, is it too late for Phil Mustard to come again? Only just turned 29, he hits a long ball and for Durham last season averaged 46 in 40 overs cricket, 31 in T20 and 51 in the County Championship. Showing admirable commitment to earn a crust and broaden his experience, he played as a specialist opener for Mountaineers in their win over Southern Rocks in a rather Middle-Earth sounding Zimbabwe, biffing a Trescoish 105 off 115 balls. It would go against the grain to try a little Mustard after his 10 ODIs five years ago, but why not?

Ball Four – Since I saw him make a century on Test debut, I’ve been impressed by Kane Williamson (his batting anyway) and it was no surprise to see him make a big score in Northern Districts crushing win over Wellington. What was a surprise was that the big score was a granddaddy hundred – 284* in eight minutes shy of 10 hours. In a 21 year-old, against an attack comprising six international bowlers, that sort of innings speaks of a huge talent. If the New Zealand batting unit of Martin Guptill (who carried his bat for 195 this week) Brendan McCullum, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder and Daniel Vettori play to potential over the next five years, they will trouble any attack in all three formats of the game. If only they could find another Shane Bond…

He has the hair for it.

Ball Five – With Mohammad Amir out of the picture, Pakistan’s avalanche of impressive bowlers are vying for his spot, with Junaid Khan in pole position. One can’t help noticing that Anwar Ali not only took 7-109 for Pakistan International Airlines on a very flat track, but he has the Amir hair too. And hair, as Rana Naved will testify, matters for a Pakistani bowler.

Ball Six – Basil D’Oliveira died this week. I’ll be rounding up the web’s finest at Sports Obituaries, but it is very hard to imagine anything more eloquent than these remarks from his biographer, Peter Oborne. Rest in Peace Sir – you did the right thing when it mattered most.

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Responses

  1. 50 for Usman, first of many l hope for a fine young man! Driving straight today rather than just whipping across the line as per the first innings. Hitting his pull superbly of course.

    Nice to see a gritty Australian partnership…Punter mentoring the kid.

    Speaking of kids. Cummins!

  2. Usman needs a crash course in reading leggies.

    • If he’s opening he should be on 70 before he has to start picking wrong’uns :) On the whole he looks very sound to me and well worth a long term investment in. He and Marsh (fitness permitting) must play against NZ, these guys need test matches under their belt.


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