World Cup Match 35 – Sri Lanka vs. South Africa (and the odd other thought)

Yesterday saw India’s inexorable march towards the semi-finals continue as their bowling attack took apart the West Indies batting unit, all but securing their slot in the knockout rounds.

India’s batting was again good, but not great, with first Kohli and then latterly MS Dhoni allowing India to post 269 from their 50 overs. This seemed at best a par score at half time until India’s bowlers made early inroads into a weakened West Indian batting line up and provided them with the chance to easily close the game out with the West Indian team folding to 143 all out, which is certainly a crushing win on paper at least. From what I have seen of the Indian team so far is that they are heavily reliant on Rohit or Kohli to score big runs, which allows the like of Dhoni and Pandya to come in and hit it to all parts at the end of the innings. This hasn’t happened regularly enough yet, although Kohli does look in sublime touch; however if you can get rid of both Rohit and Kohli early enough, then this batting line does look like it could fold for not many. That being said, the Indian bowling attack has been superb this tournament. Bumrah has to be one of the best one-day bowlers in the world at the moment and has been ably assisted Shami and Panday in the pace department. Their spinners however, look even better with both Chahal and Kuldeep not only able to keep the runs down but also get wickets at vital stages. If the pitches in the knockout rounds closely resemble those that we have encountered this week, then India have to be strong favourites to win the World Cup.

As for the West Indies, this has been a hugely disappointing tournament for them with only Brathwaite, Cottrell and Hettmyer contributing regularly. The West Indies have all the tools to be successful in the one-day format, but actually have the application to display those tools regularly has once again proven a step too far.

In other news, it was a certain South African born, ex-English batsman’s birthday yesterday and to coincide with this, Barney Ronay wrote a very good piece in the Cricketer about it (it was never going to be Simon Hughes, who probably thinks Paul Downton should still be in charge of English cricket):

https://www.thecricketer.com/Topics/premiumfeatures/the_backstop_english_cricket_needs_kp_zing.html

Ronay is a funny journalist, a bit like Jonathan Liew in a way, in that he is very capable of writing some superbly insightful pieces but equally he can also try and a be far too clever for his own good, in that if he was an ice-cream then he’d lick himself. This was definitely one of his better pieces. As this piece might be behind a paywall now, some of the more interesting exerts were:

First, he was right about pretty much everything that got him chucked out of the England team. Yes, everyone plays at the IPL now. Yes, you should just bat like that. And it’s OK to whistle. 

And secondly the ECB is making another mistake in failing to use KP in any role as it tries to build the future, to hurl a grappling hook back to that great lost moment and conjure out of the air the kind of crossover glitz KP understood more instinctively as a punkish 24-year-old than anyone else involved in English cricket.

Ah yes, the whole dressing room culture piece rears its’ ugly head again, you can’t play for England if you’re not from the right family or you’re a threat to dressing room harmony. Talent doesn’t matter, just a willingness to nod when whichever mindless bureaucrat asks you to. After all, why on earth would you be still be playing James Vince if he wasn’t great in the dressing room (which is where he should remain from now until eternity). Non conformists need not apply.

We want skunk-haired glam now, more of it, as much as you have. And Pietersen, the last real star English cricket produced, isn’t involved in running anything at a time when English cricket wants above all to produce stars.

Well yes many of the fans do (and I might conjecture that some individuals would rather set fire to their house instead) but doing what the fans want  and what is good for the game is always a distant last on the ECB’s wish-list, hence why we have this farce of a tournament on our doorsteps putting the very health of the sport in grave danger. Anyway I digress….

As for today’s game, we have a Sri Lankan team who still harbour some hopes in reaching the last four, especially after their recent defeat of England, against a South African team playing for nothing but pride now. Sri Lanka will once again be reliant on one of their openers to get a decent score as well as hoping that Angelo Matthews has batted himself into some form alongside the canny Lasith Malinga making early inroads into the South African attack. As for South Africa, it very much depends if they really want to make a game of this or whether they are mentally packed up and ready for the trip home.

As ever, feel free to leave any comments/thoughts on the below:

 

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19 thoughts on “World Cup Match 35 – Sri Lanka vs. South Africa (and the odd other thought)

  1. nonoxcol Jun 28, 2019 / 8:20 am

    “Yes, you should just bat like that.”

    I realise this is old news, but Received Wisdom’s abiding memory of his last series is that god-awful shot in Perth. It came up almost as many times as text-gate in both the “good riddance” type comments and the more considered valedictions.

    My abiding memory of that series, however, is this Test match, which featured his next two innings after that god-awful shot.

    https://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scorecard/11850/aus-vs-eng-4th-test-the-ashes-2013-14

    People should study that scorecard. Really study it properly, with some semblance of objectivity. Because my view – and it will never change – is that this was the response of someone who took on board the criticism and knuckled down, and almost every other batsman (Cook apart) let him down while receiving no abuse whatsoever. It was the last time he cared, and I don’t blame him for looking disengaged at Sydney after this. It has been conveniently written out of the narrative of that series though, because it doesn’t fit Received Wisdom.

    Nothing that happened in the 90s (TM) made me as angry as this Test. Nowhere near. It was also the last time I cared. Which is and isn’t a coincidence. I’m not a Pietersen obsessive: he should have averaged 50 with that talent in that era and he probably is a bell-end. But I am very much one of those people who always separates art from artist and refuse to apologise for doing so. And that tour was so patently a systemic top-to-bottom failure, that he was clearly right in whatever he said to Cook/Prior/Flower, and scapegoating him for that shot and that 5-0 defeat was an absolute bloody disgrace and always will be.

    It wasn’t that shot that was representative of the tour, it was everything that happened after Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal in the second innings at Melbourne. England led by 224 with 5 second-innings wickets in hand and lost by 8 wickets less than a day later. But literally no-one on the field, other than the bloke who watched 3 decent wickets fall for 1 run in 21 balls and clearly wondered why he bothered knuckling down, was ever made accountable, and it will always stink.

    And that’s why I don’t care any more.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Metatone Jun 28, 2019 / 8:43 am

      Weirdly, I don’t even remember “that shot” – not surprising I suppose as I didn’t have Sky then.
      I guess it was holing out to Lyon in the 2nd innings? (At Perth.)

      If so, it was a stupid mistake, but hounding out the best batsman in the side, with the best run scoring record, for a stupid mistake… madness…

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus Jun 28, 2019 / 10:50 am

      So much to agree with here. KP stuck to it in both innings at Melbourne, but the game was lost on so many occasions, it was sickening. The total and utter mental disintegration of a sporting team, and someone had to pay. Sort out the one who might not keep his trap shut.

      I suppose we’ll get the “definitive” counter to “that book” (TM) when Sir Alastair (and I know, I know, but when I saw that linked scorecard, I thought, he wasn’t “Sir Alastair” then) writes his tome (with Michael Calvin – an avowed KP loather). If it runs to form, it’ll be pretend equivocation, a little “aww shucks” and then a lethal jab or two which will be lapped up by the frothing anti-KP mob as “proof”. I can hardly wait.

      I watched, to pass the time, some of England v India at The Oval in 2011 – the 300+ partnership between Bell and KP – the other day. KP didn’t even play that well (Bell did), yet not at his best, getting his little bit of fortune he seemed to get, he still made 175. We forget those days. That team steamrollered opposition (well until the next three tests in the Emirates), and played attacking cricket with the bat. It should also be a reminder that you don’t throw away talent expecting it to be replaced easily.

      Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Jun 28, 2019 / 11:13 am

        “when I saw that linked scorecard, I thought, he wasn’t “Sir Alastair” then”

        Ha ha! As did I, instantly… Even went back to cricinfo and Richard Hadlee to see if they put it in retrospectively.

        (They do)

        Like

      • Mark Jun 28, 2019 / 11:29 am

        The obsession about the last test match in that series by the media will always make me believe that the word had gone out that a certain player would take the rap for what had happened on the whole tour.. But by then England were 4-0 down, the Ashes had long since sailed away, and some of the team had retired or gone home.

        The last test match was meaningless and yet it was hyped as if it was a series decider. It was a hatchet job, and everybody knew it.What followed was one of the most embarrassing periods of professional sport where a spineless, and complicit media covered for a governing body, and a team that never reproduced its former glory unless bequeathed a green top at home.

        Cook can bus in a worshipper to re write history if he wants, but it makes no odds. Those that we’re paying attention saw right through the bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Deep Purple Fred Jun 29, 2019 / 12:13 am

      Yeah, I know. I would absolutely share your pain, except that I was looking at it from the other perspective, so for me it was an endless tale of unbelievable hilarity. I just wish you’d gotten your shit together and replied in kind, but you didn’t. Not talking about runs and wickets.

      Surprised Metatone can’t remember “that shot”, it was made to be one of the turning points of the tour. Memory is weak, but I think Selvey was pretty focussed on it, presenting it as brainless, rather than a counter-attacking shot which didn’t come off on this occasion. Always the way with KP, despite excellent performance, it was the weakness or failure that was highlighted. You got one of the best batsmen in world cricket, and you alienated and ostracised him.

      This is how I think of England on that tour:

      Like

  2. Metatone Jun 28, 2019 / 8:34 am

    SL will be on a high after getting back to winning ways so you would think that would give them an advantage, but:

    Going by the weather, looks like conditions might favour SA.
    Hard to tell of course until we get a sense of the pitch.
    SA’s batting has slowly improved, it’s still not great, but given that SL’s is also not at a peak, looks like it won’t be an easy game.

    Like

  3. dArthez Jun 28, 2019 / 9:48 am

    In which universe is one performance in 3 years by Brathwaitte “contributing regularly”?

    The guy should not have been in the XV, let alone constantly picked in the playing XI. And his bowling figures flatter him, if anything (eg. taking two New Zealand wickets of the last two balls in the innings tends to do that – likewise when he finally took wickets against Australia it was when the tail had already amassed plenty of runs).

    As for how the West Indies select people like Fabian Allen (List-A batting average of 17, bowling average 64), presumably as an allrounder is beyond anyone in the Caribbean. It is not often that I’d say that even Duminy is better in both departments.

    Cottrell, Hope, Gabriel and Roach are the only ones to emerge with credit from this campaign. And Roach / Gabriel had to sit out half the games, so that perennial non-performers like Thomas, Nurse / Allen, and Brathwaitte (woeful with the bat, and extremely expensive with the ball yesterday, quelle surprise) could make up the numbers, rather than contribute.

    Like

      • dArthez Jun 28, 2019 / 12:01 pm

        Thanks for the laugh Boggy. But it is true.

        And it is not like there are no guys out there with better stats. Cornwall for instance averages about 36 with the bat, and 27 with the ball. Has not even gotten a look in, presumably because he is big. So what? I honestly don’t care whether a batsman looks like a shrimp or a sumo wrestler. For a batsman the most important metric is the amount of runs he scores, not his size. Likewise for a bowler.

        I am not saying that Cornwall would have made a massive difference, or that the guy is even good enough (we don’t know, he has never had a chance), but a positive differential of +9 (between batting and bowling), and a negative differential of nearly -50, will lead to questions of incompetence or favouritism by the selectors in the West Indies.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark Jun 28, 2019 / 12:27 pm

    Oh dear, Bairstow speaks and it isn’t pretty…..

    “People were waiting for us to fail. They are not willing us on to win, in many ways, they are waiting for you to get that loss, so they can jump on your throat. It’s a typical English thing to do, in every sport.”

    I don’t think many if any England fans were waiting for them to fail. I wish I had the power to will someone on I don’t know, and have never met….and that it made any difference at all. It’s not the fans fault if you can’t chase down a modest score against SL

    “The comments and things like that, you can give it too much air time and then all of a sudden, before you know it, it’s a big thing and it’s actually really not,” Bairstow said. “We’ve not let that in. Because the way we go about it and the way we play, it doesn’t make a difference what’s been said here, what’s been said there.

    Why are you talking about it then if you haven’t let it in?

    “None of the pitches throughout the whole tournament have been as true as they have been previously – whether that Pakistan series or last summer,” Bairstow said. “Whether that’s dictated by the weather, the ICC or whatever you want to put that down too – I have no idea. But the scores have not been as high as they have been over the last two years in England. Look at the ODI results over the last two years.”

    Surely you should be prepared for anything, any type of pitches?

    “The pitches that we’ve been playing on the last two years are surely the pitches we would be playing on in a World Cup. So I don’t know why they’ve changed. That wasn’t a typical Oval wicket we played South Africa on in the opening game. It wasn’t a typical Trent Bridge wicket we played Pakistan on. It wasn’t a typical Lord’s wicket that we played the other day.”

    It has rained a lot you know?

    “Yes the overheads were different. But they’re not the typical wickets we’ve been playing on over two-and-a-bit years. That’s just factual… but I’m not making excuses, we’ve not played well enough to beat sides when we should have done.”

    All he had to say was the last line. The rest was painful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • dArthez Jun 28, 2019 / 1:40 pm

      Who could have guessed that the ICC, who are (nominally) in charge of preparing pitches will not necessarily dance to the tune of Director Comma?

      And every time England played on such pitches, losing the toss, they would find themselves in all kinds of trouble, such as reaching the dizzy heights of 20/6 against South Africa. Or comfortably losing to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy.

      Not a typical Lord’s wicket? It would have been the third highest chase at the venue if England had gotten those runs. Or is a typical Lord’s wicket: “win toss, bat first and win game?” Someone tell Morgan that before deciding to bowl first against Australia …

      So it is not like England have not played on such pitches in England. They just refuse to learn how to go about their business on such wickets.

      Granted, an unwillingness to learn is not an excuse. However, the implications are none too flattering for England.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. thebogfather Jun 28, 2019 / 1:21 pm

    Dear Jonny
    Thank you for your letter of complaint, which we the ‘bilious inadequates’ acknowledge accordingly.
    However, may we point out that this is a (coughs) World Cup, where pitches are not prepared to suit the home side in another meaningless ODI cash cow series.
    This is a (coughs) World event where the organisers have a little control over pitch preparation to ensure no favouritism (coughs), not to mention the inclement weather which can affect what the groundsmen are able to achieve.
    Your ECB/Sky paymasters knew all of this, but continued with the ‘Strauss’ schmaltz waltz for 4 years, targeting this tournament to the detriment of all other competitions and series held at home, providing team ECB/Sky with vast amounts of roads to play on, which you have mostly excelled on, increased ECB revenue and self-hyped your team to a nominal no.1 in the world, based on bilateral comfort zones.
    Yet, no thought seems to have been employed as to the dynamics of a World Cup, be it the ‘fair’ pitches, the intensity and need of single match intensity and planning, nor realisation that every match counts for both teams as well as the result mattering for the elongated comp as a whole.
    Your paymasters have fed you to the wolves despite their own greed.
    Now get out there, stop sulking, and prove all of the above as wrong – because believe it or not, we ‘Outside’ want you to win as a team, even though it would result in so much ‘told you so’ gloating from the ECB and their MSM/btl stenographers.
    It’s your call – has the team the bottle and the class in whatever situation? – Show Us All

    Liked by 4 people

    • Deep Purple Fred Jun 28, 2019 / 11:20 pm

      Yep.
      Haven’t seen such a self-indulgent, egocentric and frankly painful winge since I told my 2 year old we weren’t having ice cream for dinner tonight. (Although Cook was right up there when they told him he wasn’t captaining the ODI team any more).

      Should drop him and get Hales back in the team, he sounds like much more fun.

      Like

  6. Anteater Jun 28, 2019 / 2:24 pm

    What I found bemusing was Bairstow’s comment that waiting for a team to fail was typically English in any sport. He may not have noticed the Women’s World Cup in football, but that is an English team which people are willing on to win. 7.6 million of them watched last night…. of course that’d be FTA tv. But it was also getting people in pubs where I live more than any of the cricket has so far.

    Give people a team that they can find likeable & they will get behind it, often even if it falls short. Unfortunately it often feels as if the ECB has attempted to iron out all of the personalities on the team in favour of a clique of pr trained, corporate drones.

    Just to add to the amusement Vaughn seems to have thrown his toys out about the whole thing, being less than charitable about YJB in reply.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Metatone Jun 28, 2019 / 4:46 pm

    Seems I was right about conditions suiting the SA bowlers more.
    Also puts the sheer rubbishness of Eng performance against SL into some perspective…

    Like

    • Quebecer Jun 28, 2019 / 5:34 pm

      Wonder if he’ll get all Bullish and come here saying how he had said this all along?

      Like

    • Deep Purple Fred Jun 28, 2019 / 11:11 pm

      Wow, best and also most subversive Ronay I’ve read for a while. Not sure about comparing Bayliss unfavourably to a gloomy turnip, seems a bit harsh, but otherwise spot on.

      I do like his disdain for a Morgan press conference. What some see as calm coolness, I’ve always seen as barely concealed contempt. But it’s just TV, so who can say?

      Can’t wait to see where England go from here, will they just utterly implode or will they have the talent and class to come through under pressure? Bairstow’s comments suggest not.

      But wonderful that he tries to correlate the success of the national team with the broader roots and public engagement with the game.

      Like

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