Monday, March 28, 2011

World Cup 2011 - One Empire Falls, Others Stay Down

We said our goodbyes to the minnows, now it is time to watch the big names in cricket to depart from world cup 2011, to face their media at home and heal the scars over the next four years. The teams that left us however were no small fries, these were four of the biggest nations of the game.

West Indies
What can anyone say about these guys. They did a Bangladesh on us for a little while, flattering to deceive, convincing us that after throwing away winning positions against England and India, that they at least had the mettle for a fight.

Lies, all lies.

We have seen it for ten years. The fun, futile Gayle bash, the classic Chanderpaul grind, and the others blown away like the first two little pigs. Dumping players does not replace lack of mental strength, I see no answer. This once proud cricketing nation will continue fumbling about in its own ruins.

This is the end of the Aussies, the final nail in the coffin. Having already lost the prized ashes both home and away, they never looked like retaining crickets holy grail for a fourth time. Savour this moment:

© Associated Press

It is symbolic in many ways, the wounded Australian, fighting tooth and nail to only come up short. We hadn't seen this in the Australian empire that lasted nearly fifteen years, Australian sides almost never came up short. Ponting played his ugliest, most determined hundred of his career, the others around him simply lacked the skill to cope. One might even feel sympathetic, if they were not so brash and abrasive when on top.

Rather than the grinning, leaping Australians, we have crunched eyebrows and chin scratching amidst Salman Khan impersonations behind them. The powers have shifted from the arrogant empire to the Bollywood empire.

South Africa
I did warn South Africa, but even I was surprised at the clockwork. The key ingredients were a freak Amla dismissal (sheer dumb luck), some outstanding fielding and a de Villiers run out worthy of mention among the Klusener of 99. From that point on it was just a matter of bowling tight, holding catches, and watching South Africa machine disintegrate in its own madness.

 A pinch of salt for your wound? © Associated Press

Sledging is fun to watch, but I don't agree one bit about this war of words from New Zealand. For a team renowned for its sportmanship, often only that, this is just getting a bit silly. There is no need to slide back into the Adam Parore days, in which the Black Caps were essentially Australia in disguise, minus the wins. These two teams have a history of getting on each others nerves, probably starting out when Fleming really getting under the skin of a young Graeme Smith. Maybe that had something to do with it?

But that's hardly the point here. The point is that South Africa have never won a world cup playoff match. Ever. Since their return to cricket in the early 90's, there has been no such thing as a weak South African team. They are rightfully gobsmacked, as we all are, how can they simply fail to win, every single time? This is the empire which has done nothing but underachieved.

Will make like the English football team and bemoan their injury list as their token excuse for 2011, but there are no excuses. They never had the strength, mentally or skillfully, to win this world cup. The way Strauss in particular heaved and ho'd like the drunken master really illustrated where they are at right now.

Heading in this direction.

Losing by ten wickets, especially with a 200+ score, is inexcusable really. This is the nation that gave birth to this game, their ODI status has remained constant for many a year. They will always remain a collection of top county cricketers and overseas players rather than anything resembling a team.

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