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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cold comfort for Pakistan: World Cup Day 9

The scorecard suggests that Pakistan comprehensively wiped the floor with Zimbabwe in their Group Stage match at Kingston. On this occasion the actual scores didn't mirror the realities of the situation, though the Duckworth-Lewis method produced a reasonable result: a 93 run win to Pakistan who, sent in, were all out for 349 in 49.5 overs before the rains came, and extinguished any hope Zimbabwe might have had of making a game of it.

99 all out in 19.1 (out of a possible 20) overs was their reply. Two sentences of the Cricinfo Bulletin sum it up:

Zimbabwe's bowlers showed spirit but their limitations were cruelly exposed. The batting fared no better, in fact providing an ever starker reminder of Zimbabwe's problems.
[Peter Roebuck has made some trenchant comments about Zimbabwe's treatment of its cricketers: "
Mugabe's cricketing representatives stay in posh hotels in the Caribbean, paying their young players a pittance and shamelessly taking care of themselves."]

Back, for now, to the game. The highlight was Imran Nazir's 160/121 b. The name may be unfamiliar to people outside Pakistan, but he's been on the international scene more often than not in the wings than on centre stage, since 1999. I also noted that Shahid Afridi took the field for Pakistan in what will be his only appearance for the tournament. I've always wondered why a player of his potential is ever omitted from their ODI team: I can think of some possible reasons but don't know enough to comment further.

The match was played against the backdrop of Bob Woolmer's death and continuing police interest in the matter, of which more may be heard. I've mentioned these developments in an update to this post from earlier in the week.

The Sri Lanka v Bangladesh Group C match at Port of Spain was also decided by the D/L method. Bangladesh, like Zimbabwe, won the toss and sent Sri Lanka in. The outcome was 4/318 from 50 overs (the seemingly evergreen Sanith Jayasuriya 109/87b well supported by the other top order batters). In the face of this, and rain interruptions, Bangladesh buckled and were dismissed for 112 in 37 (of a revised possible 46) overs: the D/L margin of victory 198 runs.

If current form is anything to go by Sri Lanka will start clear favourites when they meet India on Friday....but let's hope for a match that isn't blighted by rain.

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