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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Australia race to victory in 22/22 match

I stayed up last night intending to watch Australia v Bangladesh but grew tired of watching the ground dry slowly (despite the sunshine) and fell asleep after Mark Nicholas, hair was blowing in the wind, had interviewed Umpires Bowden and Aleem Dar (why do they always seem to be officiating when there are delays and interruptions?).

I woke up to find that the game had begun as a 22 overs a side match, that Bangladesh, sent in by Ricky Ponting, were batting and that,at 3 for just over 30, they were in trouble. Glenn McGrath, whose 3/16 (all top order batters) from 5 overs gave him 57 World Cup wickets and therefore the record as the highest wicket taker in the competition, was in top form. As one of the commentators said , he may not be quite as menacing as he was a few years ago, but he is still very, very good.

Bangladesh finished with 6/104 from their 22 overs. In the innings break I nodded off again and awoke to find Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden toying with the bowling. They passed Bangladesh's score without losing a wicket: Gilchrist 59 no/44b and Hayden 47/39b. This took all of 13.5 overs and 56 minutes.


To judge from the TV pictures and comments by Cricinfo's Andrew Miller the spectators must have felt that they had been shortchanged, especially with all the irksome restrictions (eg no pass outs issued, no food and drinks allowed to be brought in) further diminishing their enjoyment.

Australia are cruising along comfortably at the moment, but even they have a couple of matters to worry about, particularly the injury which Shane Watson, who is so important to the side's balance, sustained in the match, and residual concerns about the middle order batting. Both Michael Hussey and Andrew Symonds would probably have found conditions to their liking today had the match been a full 50 overs a side contest, but they will almost certainly have other opportunities before the semi-finals, in which Australia now looks almost certain to participate.
Bangladesh are struggling in the Super Eight stage, and today's defeat was so comprehensive, even though the match was shortened, that they may just want to go away, try to forget it and regroup before their next game, another tough one, against NZ on Monday Caribbean time.

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