Tables Turned: Australia Choke, South African Win

Today South Africa won a Test against Australia. South Africa won by a handsome 8 wickets. But the drama and mayhem from the day before was truly stuff of Cricket legend.

The first day ended with Australia on 214/8 with Micheal Clarke not out on 107. On day two, Clarke went on to score 151, while Australia scored 284.

South Africa was then blown away by Australia for a paltry 96.

Australia started the 3rd innings with a commanding lead of 188 runs. Australia was all set for a victory and guess what? They choked. Bowled out for only 47 runs it left South Africa to get 236 to win. The second day had started with the 1st innings and ended with the 4th innings resuming.

No more drama unfolded and the match was won with only 2 wickets being lost in the 4th innings.

Both teams in one innings managed so score over 200 while in another could not manage to reach 100.

Usually South Africa known to be chokers, especially against Australia ended up winning from a difficult position. Australia on the other hand did something they never do, which is choke when victory is in sight.

Both these teams are not ranked #1 and it is now over 2 years that Australia has been ranked behind India in Tests. Also England is the worlds #1 team. The world of cricket has truly turn around. ūüėÄ

(post inspired via @mani0993)

Link: Score Card

What makes Laxman very very special?

Way back in 1998 Laxman was still making his way into the Indian team. He was in the ODI squad in Sharjah. The opponents at Sharjah were the mighty Australians led by Steve Waugh. Sachin Tendulkar was playing the innings of his life and on the other side watching him was VVS Laxman.

Laxman was completely out of depth in that match and had a few nervous moments.

It is ironic that VVS Laxman has chosen to make Australia his favourite opponents and pressure something that he thrives under.

Just that today’s (5th Oct 2010) match into account. He managed to come out with an injured back, hang around and put together an impossible win taking India to victory by just 1 wicket.

So what makes VVS Laxman very very special?

VVS Laxman has scored 7490 runs at an average of 47.40 in Test cricket. This is a healthy no for any test cricketer but what makes him special are his match winning innings. We must have lost count of the times Laxman scores run when India truly need those runs.
In the table below are the runs scored and averages of Ponting, Tendulkar and Laxman in the 3rd or 4th innings of a test match. These numbers are usually much less flattering than career stats as all these innings are played under pressure and on a 4th or 5th day pitch.

Runs Average
VVS Laxman 2877 50.47
Tendulkar 3939 43.28
Ponting 3487 43.85

The table above shows that Laxman average while chasing or setting victorious scores is higher than his career average. No wonder VVS Laxman is India’s go to man.

What will a World cup win mean to each of the semi finalists?

Cricket is a game that always has romance behind it. Small teams beat big teams, reputations are lost and made and teams find themselves in the dumps and manage to rise up from the ashes to become champions. That what a cricket tournament is all about and this ICC T20 World Cup is the same. Here is a bit on the four semi finalists and their prospects and what might drive them to become champions.

Australia has won 4 world cup tournaments in the ODI format along with winning the Champions Trophy twice. They were ranked the no 1 in Test cricket for pretty much the last 15 years until recently when India and South Africa have started to outshine them. There is on silverware Australia has not won and that is the T20 World Cup trophy. So Australia would be desperate to win this time around when their side is probably the most complete and consistent running upto the semi finals.

England has been a surprise in this tournament. They always had talented players but always ended up losing tournaments. When it came to major ICC tournaments unlike Australia which has won almost everything England has a empty trophy cabinet. So this would be a fantastic chance for them to start winning something on the world stage.

Pakistan has had its cricket battered and injured. Sometimes by terrorists who fired bullets at visiting teams and at other times with their captain trying to bite the cricket ball. They are a group of rag tag team which play like champions one day and the next day play worse than a school team. Sometimes they play like both on the same day so they are unpredictable at best but they are defending champions and would love to show the world that they rule T20 cricket again.

Sri Lanka is a fine unit. If you think about their performances they featured in T20 World Cup final last year. They also were runners up in the ODI world cup in 2007. It is obviously talented and have probably the best T20 bowler in Malinga. They would love to win this World Cup and usher in a new era in Sri Lankan cricket like Ranatunga did way back in the late 90s when they won the World Cup.

So that finishes my views on what this T20 World Cup victory could mean to the four finalists. I have a feeling the Australia will end up winners in this edition. So who do you think will win the T20 World Cup?


13th May 2010 21.00 IST England vs Srilanka, Gros Islet – First Semi Final

14th May 2010 21.00 IST Australia vs Pakistan, Gros Islet – Second Semi Final

16th May 2010 21.00 IST Final – Georgetown

Fascinating Test cricket battles in the week ahead

cricket_ball_test

The week that lies ahead will see some fascinating Test cricket action. It is quite a unique time as all Test playing nations except Bangladesh are involved in a test series. England is touring South Africa, West Indies are touring Austrialia, Pakistan are playing in New Zealand and closer home Sri Lanka will play the final Test of the three match series tomorrow against India.

India play Srilanka at the historic Brabourne…

India takes of Sri Lanka tomorrow at the Brabourne Stadium. It is a stadium that has been known to be the bastion of culture and legacy when it comes to cricket in India. The association which runs the stadium (CCI) had a falling out with the Mumbai Cricket Association back in the early 70s. This led MCA to construct a new stadium called the Wankhede. The two associations have gotten closer now a days and with the Wankhede stadium undergoing a major re-building exercise Brabourne gets its chance to host one more Test match after 36 long years. Last time Test cricket was played at the Brabourne, Sachin Tendulkar was not even born!

India will be keen to win this Test match as it will haul it upwards to being the No 1 ranked Test team in the ICC rankings. This will be quite an achievement for the Indian team who are not particularly hailed for their ability in Test cricket.

New Zealand host Pakistan…

Not sure if New Zealand will have their confidence high after last weeks win over Pakistan. The Pakistan team came very close to an unlikely win over the Kiwis. But I still feel Pakistan have some inherent technically challenged opening batsmen along with some sparkling yet not reliable batting lineup. They have a great bowling line up too but I still feel it would not be able to match up to New Zealand’s usual dose of resoluteness and professionalism. The Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan begins on 3rd December 2009. If you are in India you should be able to catch the action on Ten Sports in early morning around 430 am.

Australia host West Indies in Adelaide…

In the first Test Match Australia declared their innings at 480/8 and bowled out West Indies twice in less than 2 days. The match was over on the 3rd day itself and was one sided more of less from the first day’s first session. This sort of a defeat does not speak very highly of West Indies’ chances in the second Test at Adelaide. This match starts on Friday morning at 5.30 in the morning. Indian viewers should be able to catch the game on Star Cricket.

The Man who made kangroos jump higher

A chubby body and a childish face – That is the physical appearance of the Australia’s best captain – Ricky Ponting. Quote the word ‘physical’ in bold letters, because his mental appearance is far from this childish physical features. Inside that chubby face there is a mysterious, cunning and sharp mind which could bring homePoting victory and supremacy in the match.That’s the reason why he still wears the Aussies captain’s cap¬† !

He is the man who led the Aussie team which won the World cup in 2003 and 2007. A captain who led the team to victory, twice – itself shows us Ponting’s class ! Ponting, a good captain, with aggressive ideas, clinical batting and agile fielding proved him to be leader of the best cricketing team in the world. His Velcro-hands and bat has always created terror in the opponents minds.¬† He is the one and only threat for the world’s best batsman – Sachin. As Ponting¬† has records which are very near to Sachin’s records. He has scored more than 30 centuries and broke Gavaskar’s record last year, which Sachin too had broken. If Sachin retires now, it’s sure that at-least some of his records would be overwritten by Ponting.

He had been the captain of  ICC ODI team for several times. Remember that ICC team is formed by selecting only the best players around the world. Choosing Ponting as the captain of the ODI team itself shows his value.

He will truly be remembered by every cricket lover for his enthusiastic captaincy and batting skills ……