Thursday, May 13, 2010


World Twenty20 Championship:
1st Semi - Final on 13th May at St. Lucia: England v Sri Lanka
2nd Semi - Final on 14th May at St. Lucia: Australia v Pakistan

World Women's Twenty20 Championship:

1st Semi - Final on 13th May at St. Lucia: Australia Women v India Women
2nd Semi - Final on 14th May at St. Lucia: West Indies Women v New Zealand Women

Preview of AUS v PAK:

Australia has been the best side in this tournament so far. Their loss to Zimbabwe in the warm-up matches seems ages ago. They haven't looked extremely comfortable at all times... but like all the successful Aussie teams of the past, they have managed to overcome all the difficult situations and ride their way into the semis. Like they say, a man for every occasion!

On the batting front, if openers Watson and Warner fire together against Pakistan (which I believe is a distinct possibility), then the tickets to Barbados can be confirmed straightaway. Their middle order looks a little suspect though. Michael Clarke's batting, as well as his abstentions, have now become a bit of a pathetic joke. Cameron White came to the party against Sri Lanka... or else it was a lost game. I am not sure Brad Haddin at No. 4 is a good ploy.

But any deficiency anywhere in the batting order is hidden by the bowling attack at hand. Tait has been bowling more and spraying less, Nannes has been his usual self and Johnson has been the perfect follow up as the No. 3 pacer. Add to it Watson's capabilities with the ball and Smith's successful spin, Australia have it in them to restrict... even bowl out any opponent on earth. And the results show it. Australia have managed to pick up a mind - boggling 50 opposition wickets in 5 matches. Except for their very first match against Pakistan, they were never even needed to bowl the entire quota of 20 overs.

Pakistan are the most undeserving semi-finalists of the four... having won only 2 of their 5 games. They looked good against Bangladesh in their first match... but that is not saying much. Then came the three defeats - Australia, England and New Zealand. Their inability to chase 134 against New Zealand should worry them. Their defeat against South Africa should not count for much... it was more to do with South Africa's inability to rise to the occasion than it was Pakistan's effort.

For the 1st semi-final, I said that we might have an interesting contest on hand. I cannot say the same here. I expect a one-sided battle with the Australian attack once again picking up 10 wickets. Australia could not have asked for better opponents for the semis. For Pakistan, it is a chance to gain some measure of revenge for the thrashing they received during the Australian summer. But will they be up to it? I really doubt it. The defending champions deserve to be shown the door.

Preview of WI Women v NZ Women:

The hosts began in a very aggressive manner with Deandra Dottin scoring the fastest international century ever in Twenty20 format - 38 balls. Their score of 175 / 5 against South Africa has remained the highest score so far in the tournament. They held their nerves in a close finish against the defending champions England... knocking them out of the tournament with a 2-run win.

New Zealand, like Australia, has been unbeaten, and never looked better. Their wins have been convincing... and their bowling has been good. They have picked up the wickets at regular intervals and never let the opposition scoring get out of hand. They might already be dreaming of a Trans Tasman final.

In the semi-finals, unless West Indies manage to create another hurricane performance like in their first match, I think New Zealand should be able to win it comfortably. They lost the finals last year at Lord's to the home team. So maybe, they need to face the home team to be eliminated. But on a more serious note, I think that they might well have their name on the title this time... doing one better than last year.

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