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Watson Gets a Hat Trick

The critical Pool A match between India and Australia has been washed out.  Australia reached a healthy 4/234 half way through the 43rd over when the match was abandoned.  But not before Watson left has mark.

Watson completed an unwanted hat trick when he scored his third consecutive duck.  His most recent effort was compiled from a rather circumspect seven balls, as opposed to the golden from game one of the Trophy.  His last three inning have been 12 balls for 0 runs.  His last four innings have seen 4 runs from 21 balls at 1.00 ave with SR of 19.04.  But I’m sure Watson is not out of form.  He’s just getting out.

The draw probably hit India harder than Australia.  India must beat the West Indies and Australia must lose to Pakistan for India to have any chance of playing in the semis.

It’s called the ICC Championship and it is on NOW

Most Aussies are rightly engrossed in footy finals fever and it has come to my attention that many are not even aware that the ICC Championship is in progress.  Didn’t the Ashes tour finish just five minutes ago?  Weren’t New Zealand and India visiting Sri Lanka?  Yes, but this is 2009 – the era of the jet aircraft.

The top eight ICC nations* are in South Africa contesting that bridesmaid of One Day cricket tournaments, the ICC Champions Trophy.  And I would like to point out that like the last one, this tournament is shaping up very well.

The format is simple:  Eight teams make up two pools.  There is a round robin where each team plays the other three in the pool once.  Then semis (1st v 2nd place in the other pool) and a final.  It’s quick, effective and this is no room for mistakes.

Pool B is almost finalised.  South Africa has been eliminated.  England, proving that their single victory in the seven match series against Australia was no fluke, have beaten Sri Lanka and now South Africa, despite 141 from Smith.  England is through.  If New Zealand, who overnight beat Sri Lanka, can bring England’s three match streak to an end, they will eliminate Sri Lanka.  Who would have thought?

In group A, Pakistan is sitting pretty with two wins already.  If Australia beats India tonight, India are out.  What shaped up to be a yawn has been a very interesting scrap thus far.

* The West Indies are the 8th ranked ICC nation, despite the second string team they are fielding here being recently whipped at home by Bangladesh.

Bloody Muddy Manchester

The T20 series between Australia and England has had an ignominious end.  The second match was called off without a ball being bowled.   The series was drawn 0-0 and it’s rather hard to see who will carry the momentum into the ODI series (see article posted on 19 August 2009 – http://www.dongles.org/2009/08/the-fragility-of-momentum/).

As Cardiff got the nod for an Ashes Test this summer, one of the traditional venues had to miss out and that was Manchester.  By way of consolation, Old Trafford was awarded both T20s.  In the end, this demonstrated why it was a good decision for Manchester to have the Test taken away from it.

With play scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m, the rain came predictably in the late afternoon.  However, the rain had stopped,  the covers were off and the house was full at the scheduled start of play.  Unfortunately, one of the runs ups was a quagmire and it was decided that it was unsafe for play.

The Lancashire CEO, Jim Cumbes has been quoted at length in Cricinfo (http://www.cricinfo.com/engvaus2009/content/story/422941.html) and he was very upset.  In short, he claims that the match should have gone on – that T20 could be played when first class cricket cannot.  I find that hard to believe.  I understand Jim’s disappointment (and that the ECB will kick his butt from Lord’s to Old Trafford) but surely Lancs need to take some responsibility for installing some good drainage for the pitch square and run ups.

Cumbes seems to be implying that T20 is not serious cricket and that players would not be at risk of injury.  While it is true that many do not place the same importance on T20 as say, Test cricket, it shows a complete lack of understanding to suggest that T20 is any less intense.  In fact, I would argue that T20 is more intense.  A good article not so long ago described T20 matches as “high octane affairs”.  Bowlers are bowling flat out all of the time.  To provide quick sand in the critical area of the run up, where bowlers launch into their bowling stride, and expect them to play, is just not cricket.