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Too Easy, Sweet Chariot

England has swept aside Australia to become the T20 World Champions.  Not since Australia stunned the world in 1987 at Eden Gardens has a more surprising, or more deserving world champion emerged.

Australia started badly, losing three wickets in the first three overs of the match.  Michael Clarke cost his team dearly by batting too slowly (again) and too long (for once).  Eventually, the Husseys and White put Australia at least in a with chance with 100 from the final 10 overs.

When England lost a quick wicket Australia looked in with a chance.  But then the South Africans, whoops, Englishmen, took control and needed only 17 overs.  Nannes and Tait could not make their usual impact and Watson went for plenty again (his economy rate for the tournament was 10.13 rpo).  The Englishmen were simply too… dare I say it: POWERFUL.

So England and three South Africans finally know what it feels like to be official world champions at some form of cricket.

Take me out to the ball game, Mr Cricket

The second T20 semi final met and exceeded all expectations.  After five straight wins, Australia seemed set to go down to the resurgent, defending champions.  Having been set a very challenging 191 by Pakistan, the Aussies needed 18 to win from the last over with just three wickets in hand.  Enter Mr Cricket.

In fact, Australia was only that close due to Michael Hussey’s efforts prior to the final over.  Johnson did the right thing and scored a single from the first ball.  Hussey then hit 6,6,4,6 and it was all over – 23 from just five balls easily bettered the requirement.  Hussey made 60 from just 24 balls (3×4, 6×6) and with White (43 from 31 balls – 0x4, 5×6) rescued Australia, following yet another middle order wipe out.

I was totally wrong about the other semi.  England obliterated Sri Lanka.  Word is out that Sri Lanka thought that the tournament reverted to 50 overs per innings at the semi final stage. Six wickets for 128 – what’s that about?  Anyway, nobody should surprised at the result.  In the lead up to the match, Collingwood had declared this to be the most powerful England team he has played in!  We must remember to take this in context – Collingwood has played in two all-conquering Ashes teams and has played alongside the likes of Solanki, Nixon, Patel, Mustard and Robert Key.

One more match of hit and giggle to go. I’m off camping now.

Last Gasp

As the T20 World Cup Super Eight stage concluded today, the thrills continued.  As with Pool E, that concluded the previous day, all teams stood a chance of qualifying if they played well enough, and the result of the other match went their way.

In the end, the best two teams got through.  Australia slaughtered the West Indies to finish on top of the group.  Sri Lanka beat India with a final ball six.  Exciting stuff.  Note that even if India had have taken a wicket with that last ball – and won the game – they were still out.  Sri Lanka would have qualified on run rate.

In Pool E, the defending champs snuck through with their first and only win of the Super Eights.  As England beat New Zealand, that left Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand all on two points and Pakistan got through on run rate.

So, the semi finals are England v Sri Lanka and Australia v Pakistan.  Substitute Sri Lanka for India and it reminds me of the 1987 World Cup.  I feel a bit teary.  I’ll tip the final will be Sri Lanka versus Australia.  The reason being that due to an oddity with seedings in this tournament, Pool E was made up of all the second placed teams from the first round, while Pool F was the round one winners.  Also note that England, while impressive in Pool E, did qualify for the Super Eights without winning at match!  Twenty 20 is a lottery.

The Longest Over – by Kemar Roach

It’s all happening at the T20 World Cup.  It may be meaningless froth without a soul but it is good fun.  Last night Chris Gayle single-handedly dismantled India.  In the penultimate over of the match, Kemar Roach tried to single-handedly throw the match.  He bowled an 11 ball over!

Word is that Kemar had a tidy sum on the Indians and when Bravo ran out their final hope – MS Dhoni (the Face of Indian cricket) – from the first ball, Roach tried to salvage the situation.  Thus followed a string of no balls and wides that would have defied Glenn Trimble.  The over finally cost just 13 runs, included four wides and a no ball, and netted two wickets.  No matter. The West Indies closed out the match in the final over.

The Super Eights is proving to be indeed super.  It is competitive with only Australia and England winning two from two.   Has anyone noticed that due to the oddities of the seeding system, we have all of the round one winners in one Super 8 group and all of the runners up in the other?

Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait continue winning matches for Australia.  The Aussie batting may be shaky but Nannes and Tait continue to steamroll the opposition.  Nannes has 12 wickets from just 15 overs.  Tait has eight wickets and is conceding just 4.82 rpo.  And with Johnson performing well, the Aussies are not missing Bollinger, who was inexplicably left at home.

Roach’s marathon is reproduced below, courtesy of Cricinfo

http://www.cricinfo.com/world-twenty20-2010/engine/current/match/412695.html?innings=2;page=1;view=commentary

18.1
Roach to Harbhajan Singh, 1 run, OUT, Direct hit, game over! Bravo has not bowled or batted really well, but he makes it up with the fielding. Bhajji has hit this to long-on, straight enough of Bravo, to his left, but he comes around, picks it up with one hand and hits the stumps on the yorker length
MS Dhoni run out 29 (18b 2×4 2×6) SR: 161.11

18.2
Roach to Harbhajan Singh, 1 run, hit powerfully over his head, but Pollard is very straight at long-off and keeps them down to one
18.3

Roach to Jadeja, no run, yorker outside off, he has backed away too early
18.4

Roach to Jadeja, (no ball) 1 run, driven to long-off for one, but he has over-stepped
18.4

Roach to Harbhajan Singh, 1 wide, wide outside off, sees Bhaji backing away but he is too wide outside off
18.4

Roach to Harbhajan Singh, 1 wide, slower full toss, and it’s wide again
Still on the free hit

18.4
Roach to Harbhajan Singh, FOUR, length ball, outside edge, over keeper, and four more
22 off 8 now. Will lack of discipline cost West Indies?

18.5
Roach to Harbhajan Singh, 1 wide, harsh harsh call! Wide yorker outside off, and I thought it went inside the wide line, but Taufel stretches his arms

18.5
Roach to Harbhajan Singh, 1 wide, what is happening here? Another wide yorker, over the wide line

18.5
Roach to Harbhajan Singh, OUT, Roach will be a relived man! He offers him a low full toss after four consecutive wides, and this deserves to go for six, but Bhajji has mis-hit straight to long-on
Harbhajan Singh c Bravo b Roach 14 (10b 1×4 1×6) SR: 140.00

18.6
Roach to Jadeja, 1 run, short, into the body, Jadeja mis-hits the pull shot, gets a single