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20/20 World Cup Guide

In Cricket on April 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

This year’s edition of the 20 over World Cup is due to get under way in the Caribbean this Friday, hot on the heels of a hard hitting IPL tournament in India. Here’s a rundown of the who’s in and out of form, and who’s likely to be in the contending for the title.

Group A

Australia


KEY MAN: Shane Watson

Form: The Aussies have been in excellent 20/20 form this year. They’ve beaten Pakistan, the West Indies and New Zealand since last year’s disappointment, and have been looking very strong. Many of their players were star performers in the recent IPL tournament, and they will be primed to atone for their shock group exit in 2009.

Strengths: Just about everywhere on the field. From Warner and Watson at the top of the order, to Johnson and Nannes with the ball, it’s tough to locate any cracks in this Australian squad. Their fielding should be top notch aswell, but it’s their devastating batting attack which will blow away most teams.

Weaknesses: Perhaps the lack of spin options. Nathan Hauritz has won over the boo boys and established himself as a quality off spinner, and Michael Clarke will be looking to him to take the sting out of the middle overs. Beyond Hauritz though, alternatives are thin on the ground. Smith, White, David Hussey or Clarke himself could turn the arm over, but an over-reliance on Hauritz could hurt them if he underperforms.

Outlook: All Gold. This squad is one of the most well-rounded and focussed in the competition and it would be a major surprise if they don’t make a semi-final appearance.

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Daniel Christian, Brad Haddin (wk), Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Dirk Nannes, Tim Paine (wk), Steven Smith, Shaun Tait, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White. Read the rest of this entry »

IPL Preview

In Cricket on March 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

This season’s edition of the IPL returns to the shores of India, as
the eight teams face off for the 3rd time to decide who are the kings
of Indian cricket.

Last year, Adam Gilchrist fired his Deccan Chargers from last place in
the table to the top of the heap, but other teams have splashed the
cash to take their crown.

Here’s a run-down of each team, starting with the defending champs:




Deccan Chargers


Coach: Darren Lehmann
Captain: Adam Gilchrist

2008: 8th
2009: 4th, Champions

New Signings: Azhar Bilakhia, Anirudh Singh, Bodapati Sumanth, Ashish
Reddy, Kemar Roach (West Indies), Mohnish Mishra, Mitchell Marsh
(Australia)

Read the rest of this entry »

All Or Nothing In Johannesburg

In Cricket on January 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm

England head to the Wanderers in Johannesburg this Thursday for the final Test of the series, and they have every chance of completing an astonishing victory on South African soil. They hold a 1-0 series lead after the first three Tests, and need only a draw to notch their third series victory in a row, and their first over the 2nd ranked South Africans since 2005.

The home side will be bitter at trailing the series, as they have arguably been the better side. Certainly at Centurion and Newlands they had the winning of the match. But their inability to take 20 wickets has cost them dear. It means they have let England off the hook twice, and after Andrew Strauss and his side found their form in the second test at Kingsmead, they are now on the brink of losing a series they really should be leading.

England prepare for the crunch final Test

To a certain extent, their worries are self inflicted. But injuries have also played their part. The loss of Dale Steyn for the first test robbed them of their biggest threat with the ball, and even when he returned at Kingsmead he was still recovering. The injury to Friedel de Wet in the last game also left Graeme Smith short of attacking options.

There have been some baffling decisions though.

It was clear early on at Centurion that Makhaya Ntini was a fading force, and his retention ahead of de Wet was clearly the wrong decision for the second test. Smith also left it far too late for his declaration on day four at Newlands. Anything over 300 was going to be a big problem for England, and 350 would have been enough to win it. 400 was the mark they should have set, but in batting on past lunch they wasted valuable time, and 466 was overkill. Read the rest of this entry »

England In South Africa – Test Preview

In Cricket on December 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Recent Test series’ between these two teams have been as tight as my Christmas budget with only one match separating the sides in each of the last seven tussles, and the 2009 clash between the 2nd and 5th ranked teams in the world should be no different. England have the momentum after their one day series victory, but South Africa will have home advantage.

Jonathan Trott has had a bright start to his England career

England haven’t played a Test since their morale-boosting Ashes win in August, but that series was hugely significant for them. They uncovered a real Test prospect in Jonathan Trott, who can fill a problem position for them at no.3 in the batting order, and they proved that they can produce against the best when the chips are down. With Ravi Bopara being given some much needed time to develop his game, Trott stepped in and played a pivotal role in England’s fifth Test win in the Ashes. Their batting order now has a formidable look to it.

The question marks will be over Alistair Cook’s form and Kevin Pietersen’s match fitness, and England fans will be hoping Cook can score some early runs to settle him into the series. He’s under pressure for his place after a very poor Ashes. There aren’t many options at the top of the order though, and unless the selectors want to move Trott in to open and push the fragile Ian Bell into the firing line, they may have to stick with him. Read the rest of this entry »