Monday, 21 March 2011

Worldcup 2011,Interesting things happened till date!!!

42 games and a month later, the World Cup participants have been trimmed to the final 8. Before the serious business gets underway, TOI look back at what was exciting and what was not...

The Good

Strauss' knock: When Sachin Tendulkar was shepherding India to a formidable, even a match-winning score, fans and purists in the subcontinent were certain that this game wouldn't go down to the wire. But then India dramatically collapsed, folding up for 338 after losing seven wickets for the addition of just 33 runs. England's Andrew Strauss then scored a 145-ball 158 to lead the England chase. And eventually, India had to settle for a tie, sharing the points with England. It happens to sachin ton always!!!

Ireland shining: Until the last edition of the World Cup, all Ireland players were part-time cricketers. They had to do day jobs in order to support their passion — that of playing cricket. But a win against Pakistan and a subsequent entry into the Super Eights changed everything. Now, blokes of this current Irish team have the luxury of concentrating wholeheartedly on cricket. And what's more, they also have central contracts! They exhibited it all on the field to emerged as the best among the minnows. In the six matches they played, they managed to stun England by chasing 327. Kevin O'Brien starred in the chase with a magnificent 113.

Yuvi, you beauty! Before the start of the World Cup, the Punjab dasher Yuvraj Singh had become a punching bag for all and sundry. How he had become overweight and unfit and how all his off-field activities were proving to be a big distraction. He had even come close to losing the support and confidence of his die-hard fans. But come the World Cup, the man was back in business. He scored a 50-ball 58 against England. Then returned with a five-wicket haul against Ireland. And by the time the group stage ended, Yuvraj was the proud recipient of three Man of the Match awards, which no player had managed in the event so far.

Minnow, no no! Only five victories came off the 30 matches featuring Zimbabwe, Kenya, Canada and Ireland respectively putting a big question mark over their competencey. Barring Ireland and Bangladesh's win against England, there were no upsets whatsoever in the preliminary stages. So much so that the ICC CEO, Haroon Lorgat, went on record saying the future participation of associate nations in the World Cup should be reconsidered. Besides Lorgat, many cricket greats expressed similar concerns. The empty stadiums where these minnows were involved further fuelled the fire. In all likelihood, we have seen the last of many of the minnows in this prestigious tournament.

The bad

The Akmal saga: What do Michael Jackson and Kamran Akmal have in common? Both wear gloves for no apparent reason! Pakistan stumper Kamran Akmal became a butt of jokes after his clumsy show against New Zealand. Also, the allegations of him being involved with bookmakers kept haunting him. Each time he botches up a straight collection or drops a catch, or fails to whip the bails off in case of a stumping chance, people watching the match in public places rise up in unison and say 'fix kiya!'.

Long injury list: Even before the World Cup could commence, teams had to seek replacements for injured players. S Sreesanth was called in as replacement for Praveen Kumar. Australia had to fly in Mike Hussey as replacement for Doug Bollinger. England's Kevin Pietersen rushed back home to undergo an urgent hernia surgery. He was joined almost immediately by fast bowler Stuart Broad, who sustained a side strain. West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Brave was packed off with an injury as well. And now even as the tournament has reached the quarterfinal stage, teams are struggling to get their combinations right because of niggles to key players. Virender Sehwag, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar are under the fitness scanner in upcoming knockout games involving their teams.

The ugly

Getting a beating: Hundreds of Indian fans had to bear the brunt of the lathi wherever MS Dhoni & Co played their games. Angry over the lack of tickets for the general public in the India-England match in Bangalore, they clashed with police. News channels beamed pictures of policemen, wielding bamboo sticks, beating fans who had queued outside the Chinnaswamy stadium to buy tickets. After that incident, other centres like Nagpur made more tickets available for public to avoid such violent incidents. The Bangalore tickets fiasco even found its way to the Karnataka state assembly. Leaders from the opposition as well as the ruling party demanded a probe into the incident.

UDRS puzzle: To start with, England batsman Ian Bell was adjudged not out following the use of the Umpire Decision Review System during the match against India. Then, Ireland batsman Alex Cusack was adjudged out in similar circumstances. The only connection between two batsmen was the application of the 2.5metre rule. According to the rules, a batsman cannot be adjudged out leg-before-wicket if the impact of the ball on the pad is 2.5 metres away from the stumps. While Bell got the benefit of doubt, Cusack was a shade unlucky. What these conflicting decisions did was cause a huge uproar in the cricketing world. India left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh said on record that the system was confusing. New Zealand batsmen Ross Taylor categorically slammed it. Even now, after the preliminary rounds are over and the focus has shifted to the big quarterfinal stage, captains are wary of the UDRS.

Under mob attack: Soon after the West Indies team handed hosts Bangladesh a nine-wicket mauling, their team bus was attacked by angry Bangladesh fans when they were leaving the Sher-e-Bangla stadium. It was reported that windows of the bus were severely damaged during the attack The Bangladesh police, though, said the incident took place because the fans thought it was the national team's bus that was leaving the stadium premises. Former West Indies skipper Chris Gayle tweeted soon after that the team was terribly shaken and shocked that despite heavy security such an incident could actually take place. The controversy snowballed further when ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said in a statement that pebbles and not stones were hurled on the West Indies team bus. Lorgat attracted a lot of flak from all quarters for his irresponsible remarks. However, Bangladeshi fans later apologized to the team with placards that said, "Sorry, we aplogise".

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