Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finally the super-8 rounds are over and the teams that will be facing off in the semi-finals has been decided. It will be Aus vs S.Africa and N.zealand vs S.Lanka.
There is some talk whether what S.Lanka did was right. i.e resting key players against a tough opponent like Australia. They probably felt that this way they would qualify second and meet N.zealand in the semis instead of Australia. They were well within their rights to rest their players at any stage of the tournament irrespective of whethey they had qualified or not. The motto should always be play to win though the Australians seem to carry that a bit far at times. But sometimes caution is the better part of valour.
The competitive spirit still is present in this world cup also. In 2003, the semifinals was far more interesting than the finals where the ozzies drubbed India. Even in the football world-cup, the semi-finals were more interesting than the finals atleast until the materazzi incident livened things up. In Tennis, you often see Federer facing off with Roddick in the semis to pick up a facile win over an unseeded finalist in the final round. So don't underestimate the power and intensity of the semis.
Someone was grumbling the world wasn't the same without India and Pakistan. Both their campaigns if narrated would put a greek tragedy to shame. The world cup has still had its fare share of moments both on and off the field I would say. W.Indies approach and performance makes you think if they were serious contenders at all. They manage to qualify by the skin of their teeth and their batsmen took you back to the days of test cricket whem run-rates of 2.5 runs per over was the norm. Brian Lara didn't help his teams cause by taking the powerplay from the 45-49th overs either. Of late, some merit is being seen in holding back the powerplays until a set batsman has gone back. But to hold it back till the 45th over is stretching things a bit. What difference does it make if the runs are scored in the 39th over when they opponent is only 2 down and have 7 more players to whack the ball around near the end.

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