World Cup

Lesser margin for error at the business end

Now as we slowly and steadily approach the business end of the World Cup, the competition turns to a new degree. A new level. A lesser margin for error.

Everything boils down to playing and sustaining yourself well for 21 hours. If you bring it down to efforts per match it is playing well for seven hours on a given day. Those seven hours are very crucial as even if an in-form team falters during the period, they are suddenly under pressure and at times face a dramatic exit. That only a period of seven hours can ruin your entire Cup preparation for four years is really sad but that’s the way it is. Now before I talk about the quarters let me try and pick my semifinalists. I fancy Australia playing India at Sydney. The other semifinal at Auckland should be between New Zealand and South Africa. I have always been impressed with the batting exploits of Kumar Sangakkara. He is truly one of the greats of the modern era. He has been in tremendous touch in this tournament. But I reckon even Sangakkara’s brilliance won’t be enough to stop South Africa..

In another quarterfinal at Wellington, we play the fourth team from Group B. Whichever team makes the grade it should not be difficult for us to get past them. I thought it was good for New Zealand that they were fully tested in their last group league match.

I thought Bangladesh amply demonstrated that night at Hamilton that they deserved to be in the last eight.

This young Mahmudullah has really impressed me. Despite a crisis and difficult conditions to overcome he wonderfully consolidated the innings.

This innings from Mahmudullah is right up with the best hundreds that this World Cup has witnessed. But despite his presence and the spirit shown by the Bangladesh team I can’t see them getting past India at Melbourne. Spirit alone can’t win you big matches. You need solid firepower in your bowling to make a difference in such crunch matches. I would give India a seventy per cent chance of winning this match and advancing to the semis at Sydney. Cricket has changed so much since the inception of the World Cup in 1975 that you almost sit back in wonder. During my days I had two different kinds of slowers. Now almost every pacer brings with him four different kinds of slowers. Batsmen are much more skilful, more innovative.I hear the repeated plea that the game is getting too one-sided and the modern day bats are causing a havoc. While I do not know what remedy to suggest, I can try. You can bring in a legislation in bat making. You may extend the boundary ropes further. Or you may make the seam of the ball more pronounced. I think the very fact that the 50 overs are played with two new balls, addresses a bit of that. It gives an advantage to the bowler. At least little bit of balance is restored there. An Indian journalist asked me the other day Sir Richard, seeing so much passion for the game in your country did you ever think, wish I was also playing? I laughed out loud and replied, “one harbours no such illusions. After all I am 64 now and next year will qualify for a pension.”

I thought he got his answer!

Hawkeye / Chivach Sports


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 10:36:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/lesser-margin-for-error-at-the-business-end/article7000262.ece

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