Well ever since India were knocked out of the tournament my interest in the whole thing had waned. But it is still a world cup and I'm sure guys out there from Pakistan and Sri Lanka were following their teams and were really excited for the big final.
When the T20 game was conceptualized I'm sure most cricket fans feared that, with this version, the domination of bat over ball would be complete. Great bowlers seem to be a rare and dying species. And most countries seemed to be preparing flat beds for both domestic and international matches, where the ball would never spin or swing, so that the cricket could be "entertaining". Scores in excess of 300 in ODI's and 200 in T20 were a common feature.
This World Cup was different. Full credit should go to the groundsmen and administrators in England who had the courage to keep sporting wickets throughout the tournament.
Batting heavy sides like India and Australia were found wanting. While teams that were more balanced like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa performed exceedingly well and made it in to the semis.
It is to the credit of the organizers that it was the two best bowling sides in the tournament that made it in to the semis. Their vision might have just revived the dying breed of bowlers and I hope the Indian board has taken notice and decides to do something about our own tracks. The Sri Lankan team were unbeaten in the tournament. Pakistan had peaked at the right time and made a surprise victory over South Africa in the semis, who until then were firm favourites to lift the cup.
Pakistan played to a plan from the beginning and it was only Sangakarra's brilliant effort with the bat and some swash-buckling cricket from Angelo Mathews the brought some respectability to the total. However it did not prove enough and Shahid 'boom-boom' Afridi's half-century was enough to see the Pakistanis through. Pakistan have always been a supremely talented side. The problem has been with their temperament. In Younis Khan I feel they've found a leader who can guide them in the right direction. He reminds me very much of the old Dhoni. He's calm and cool under pressure. He says the right things in the press conference. Is shrewd and tactful in his cricket.
I remember Younis said in a press conference that his team were taking the tournament lightly and were more intent on having fun than anything else. Compare that with the obvious pressure that the Indians were under. And also note how the 2 teams ended the tournament. :)
Dhoni has come under intense scrutiny from the media. From being the media-darling he's been transformed in to the media-villain. It will be interesting to see how he comes out from this. Being the big fan I hope that he comes out tougher and stronger.
Next on is the India vs West Indies series starting in five days time. I'm not sure if I will blog for those matches as I'm moving out of town. I will try and keep my posts coming. Do drop down every once in a while. Take care. Cheers! ;)