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Abhishek Paul test

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08-Nov-2006 Hiya buddy, it seems

We all saw it live – Ponting wagging his forefinger at Sharad Pawar and asking for the Champions trophy now, thank you. Pawar turning around with a huge grin, as if he was the one being mischievous (probably Rameez Raja was, given that it was his responsibility to announce the handing of the winning trophy) but actually showing presence of mind by making light of it. And Damien Martyn nudging Pawar offstage so that the winning team could get photographed, with grinning Aussie faces sending him off.

 

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05-Nov-2006 Full Circle

Australia vs West Indies 5/ 11/ 06 FINAL

So, West Indies ended the tournament as they began it (if you take the warm-up “qualifying” matches out of the equation) – by getting all out in the 31st over, scoring 80 against Sri Lanka then, and 138 against Australia now. To an Indian, it would be reminiscent of the 2003 World Cup when India started badly, then played superbly to reach the final, and then Australia showed how much daylight there was between them and the other sides. Not great for World cricket that one team is so unbeatable, but then again, standards like what Australia has set over the last decade will one day be legend, so we might as well enjoy history being made in front of our eyes.

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02-Nov-2006 Chicken, anyone?

West Indies vs South Africa 2/ 11/ 06  

Superb headline, Jonathan. Exactly my sentiments too. In fact, while watching the game I kept thinking how much of a Greenidge-Haynes partnership this was in spirit, if not aesthetics. You’re absolutely right – Big Boy Hubert it was whom Gayle emulated on that score.

 

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01-Nov-2006 Almost a classic

Australia vs New Zealand 1/ 11/ 06  

There are so many things in today’s match that were exemplary. The manner in which the Kiwis came out to field, every sinew ready to strain, every gun set to blaze. The way Kyle Mills and particularly Shane Bond bowled initially would have been delightful for any cricket fan. And then from 4 for 2, the positive intent and skill Ponting and Martyn showed to take the score to 70. Later, the stunning counter attack of Symonds, even before Australia was ostensibly safe. And finally, in that innings, the discipline with which the Kiwi bowlers struck back (just 52 runs in the last 10 overs by Australia even though they started the 40th over with six wickets left).

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30-Oct-2006 Same old story

Australia vs India 29/ 10/ 06

Why should the result of this match be surprising? After all, nothing out of the ordinary happened (that hasn’t happened in the last 5 years). The Australians came hard at the Indians, and after some promising resistance initially, they capitulated spectacularly. Sachin Tendulkar failed; after all it was a crunch match (more on this later). The bowlers, intimidated easily by Australian aggression, complemented their ineffectual gift-balls with consistent indiscipline (18 wides). Catches were dropped, distraught looks thrown…and a bad time was had by all.

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29-Oct-2006 Focus?

South Africa vs Pakistan 27/ 10/ 06 

West Indies vs England 28/ 10/ 06    

We can only be thankful that Pakistan did not demonstrate this kind of pusillanimity in their first match, as their superb performance against Sri Lanka actually kept the tournament open for so long. There were murmurs of the dew factor having helped Pakistan considerably in that match, and one waited to see if the rediscovered force would stay another couple of weeks.

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27-Oct-2006 The power of negative thinking

West Indies vs India 26/ 10/ 06

The Indian approach to this match was strangely lacklustre and negative, maybe a function of the  Diwali break they had, or the eleven day gap between matches, neither of which is a worthwhile excuse. The partnership between Raina and Dhoni was a strange one. In 11 overs they added 33 runs, which had a debilitating impact on the momentum in the long run, Dhoni’s burst at the end notwithstanding. If they play against Australia in this spirit, they might as well kiss that match, and the tournament, goodbye.

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25-Oct-2006 Toss out the notions, not nations

South Africa vs Sri Lanka 24/10/06

Pakistan vs New Zealand  25/10/06

After all the noise about the dew and the widespread indignation of it reducing the matches to the turn of a coin, both the toss-winners lost their matches back-to-back.

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21-Oct-2006 One-sided, but illuminating

 

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 20th October 2006

Australia
vs England 21st October 2006

 
A defeat in the mind, it would seem, but surprising that New Zealand were the victims on Friday. The pitch was nowhere near as bad as what the Kiwis feared, but uncharacteristically they did not figure that out quickly and launch into Plan B. The tone was unfortunately (for them) set by Fleming who made heavy weather of the pitch before making a duck off 11 balls.

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17-Oct-2006 One of the great turnarounds in cricket history

 

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 17/ 10/ 06

 

This is no exaggeration. Forget Pakistan cricket, today’s match was one of the great matches in the history of the game.

Imagine a side missing its best batsman and captain for disciplinary reasons, an unpleasant scuffle ensuing whilst appointing the stand-in captain and then losing its two premier bowlers on the eve of their first crucial match for severely maligning disciplinary reasons. The team is written-off; thoroughly demoralized, the captain and coach have unnecessary things on their mind.

   

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