The funny thing with dead rubbers is that they normally go one of two ways, either they are a complete procession with one team already mentally checked out or they prove to be a very different kettle of fish with both teams playing without any pressure of needing to win the game. The Sri Lanka vs. West Indies game looked like it was going to be the former but, in the end, it turned out to be a close game between both sides, with only decisions at key times leading to a close Sri Lankan victory.
It certainly didn’t start that way with the West Indies bowling attack showing all the urgency and intent of MS Dhoni’s innings on Sunday; indeed it would have been fitting if they’d brought their beach towels and a small BBQ to grill some shrimp on. Sri Lanka made the most of the West Indian inertia with the ball as Perera and Thirimanne helped shape the innings around a wonderful century for Avishka Fernando. I certainly hadn’t come across this young lad before today, but the poise at the crease alongside some varied stroke play means that there is some hope for the Sri Lankan fans to grasp as for their team’s success in the future. I can certainly see some flaws in his technique, and these will undoubtedly be tested in the future, but it is always heart-warming seeing a 21-year kid make some runs on the international stage.
It seemed doubtful that a checked out West Indian team would get near the 339 that they needed for victory and to no-one’s surprise they slipped to 84-4 and then 199-6, with many of the so-called big hitters in the side once again getting out cheaply. Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen had other ideas and they brought the West Indies close to a world record run chase and victory before both perishing in the end as the run-rate climbed higher. Pooran has been around for a while now and has been in and out of this West Indian batting line up, but he played an innings which was just as good as Fernando’s and hopefully will now be given a longer leash to prove his credentials. As for Allen, he didn’t have the best time with the ball, but showed that he could be a dangerous batsman lower down the order and deserves time in international cricket to hopefully improve some areas with his bowling. All in all, it proved to be an entertaining game for fans in the North East who have starved of international cricket by our appalling administrators.
Tomorrow’s game sees India play Bangladesh in what is a must win game for the tigers. I have been very impressed by Bangladesh all tournament (I saw their game against South Africa live at the Oval) and it is clear that they have benefitted from playing international cricket more regularly. Though this seems at odds with the current ‘modus operandi’ of the ICC who are determined to keep international cricket as an old boys’ club. It would be refreshing to see Bangladesh perform well against a strong Indian side tomorrow, but I just don’t see them winning unless MS Dhoni decides to have another ‘strange moment’. As for India, you would guess they will be fired up after some of the criticism they received after their defeat to England and a win would secure their place in the semi-finals leaving 3 teams fighting for the final 2 slots. Here’s hoping to a close game at least, but I can see India winning comfortably.
Away from the World Cup, Ali Martin retweeted a piece that I totally missed last summer (and apologies if this has been covered elsewhere on the blog, my memory isn’t quite what it once was) about the possibility of showing one Test a summer live on FTA:
Now it’s a lovely idea and one that every cricket fan would surely embrace, but there is just one major issue, Sky would never allow it to happen. Sky’s model is all around paying their sporting content and only showing it on their platform (hence why they chose not to bid for Champions League rights), so why on earth would they suddenly become so charitable when they really don’t need to be? Sky have also paid an enormous amount of money to secure cricket rights up until 2024, which is the very same cash that is currently lining Tom Harrison’s pockets each year, whilst being squeezed by other providers who are chipping away at Sky’s stranglehold on the sports market such as the rights for Spanish Football and coverage of the Australian cricket summer amongst others, have been snapped up by rival Pay-Tv firms. So for them to offer to show one of the premium Tests for free on FTA TV would be totally unviable for them from a commercial stand-point. It’s a nice idea, but in the real world, I’m afraid it will never happen, and cricket will once again remain behind the paywall.
Feel free to comment with any thoughts on the above or on tomorrow’s game below:
I remember in the last years of Channel 4 cricket one early test was live on Sky with the highlights on C4. Maybe they do the opposite now with one early test on free tv.
I’d love it to happen, I really would, but I just can’t see Sky agreeing to that. Especially with the amount of money they’ve paid for the rights…
Cricket is trapped. It wants the money, or at least the administrators and the top players want the money, but the only way to get it is to sell all the sport to a broadcaster who will only pay big money for exclusivity.
Which is why we have the dogs breakfast of the 16.4. A shiny new product that has been invented to put something called cricket on free to air broadcasts.
It’s a bit like firing a cannon into a ship and then complaining …..”we have to come up with a way of stopping the water coming in now.”
I was thinking that the 100 or the T20 blast could have been parrially free to air if it was a conference of 3 groups of 5/6/7/8/9 teams
Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Derby/Nottingham, Leicester
Birmingham, Worcester, Wales, Bristol/Taunton, Southampton
London north, London East, London South, Sussex, Northampton
In above scenario matches of North conference can be free to air as it includes high population urban areas in colder climates and traditionally football territories
To be fair, AIUI, one purpose of the Hundred is to have a competition that has a separate TV deal and so can be not on Sky.
You make a good point Sean, at first I was thinking – oh, maybe Sky would give FTA the “early May, freezing rain Test against a small team” but actually, why would they? In turn, this exposes that journalist’s ego. There’s nothing inherently realistic about this “tweak.” I have to admit that if some percentage of WC games had been on FTA I would most likely not have paid for a NOW TV month pass.
For this year at least, I’m an archetypal “tight” consumer when it comes to pay TV, esp. sports. One reason being that other family members are more interested in paying for Netflix etc. than sports TV. (They do like tennis, but Sky isn’t strong on that.)
Wimbledon has started, and got off to a bang on the opening day with a 15 year old knocking out Venus Williams. And the nation saw it all live last night free to air. Its the sports talk of the day.Tonight is the England VS USA woman’s World Cup match.
Meanwhile, the cricket World Cup plods on mostly invisible……
According to the Guardian OBO (first sentence of preamble):
“The phrase “bad World Cup” is an oxymoron.”
Hmm, India have remembered how to bat again, going at 6/over against Bangladesh’s strike bowlers.
I guess the bowling must not be that good.
Setting a target with 10 wickets in hand is easier than chasing with 5, or something.
In a sport which has de facto enshrined the superiority of three particular countries, in a tournament which literally re-wrote its format to ensure that one particular country couldn’t be knocked out prematurely, I won’t apologise for raising my eyebrows at a passage of play that makes the qualification of the whole Big 3 for the knockout stage (while not seriously endangering the Big 1) that bit more likely.
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Raised eyebrows all round. No answers.
I did wonder from time to time what happened to the big 3 heist a few years back, that was seemingly stopped. I guess the forces and influences behind it never went away.
Not sure how it was ever stopped. One consequence was that they hoarded the hosting rights to every ICC tournament for the entire rights cycle.
2015 World Cup Australia
2016 WT20 India
2017 ChT England
2019 World Cup England
2020 WT20 Australia
2021 WT20 (replacing ChT) India
2023 World Cup India
A possible 2018 WT20 in SA was mooted but never happened.
If I recall there was a very unfair revenue sharing proposal that was ultimately rejected. Srini, Giles and Edwards didn’t carry the day. But I guess they just found another way. Hosting all the global tournments is a good alternative!
If Bangladesh somehow win today, then we could have the farcical situation that Pakistan / Bangladesh need to beat the other team with a massive margin (if England beat New Zealand, or that match is a tie / washout).
So we could then see a 500 being scored, or a team bowled out for 80 (and the target being chased down inside 10 overs), as a small win is meaningless for either team. Spare a thought then for New Zealand / England / India (the three teams that might be eliminated this way). It does not even require corruption, because both teams are still in the running then. But cue the cries then that the match had been fixed.
If India win today, then only Pakistan can qualify with an absurd win against Bangladesh, at the cost of either England or New Zealand, depending on the outcome of that game.
But as always has been the case with ACSU, they will never investigate corruption if it has been beneficial to the ICC …
Slight correction, if NZ beat Eng & Pak beat Bangla, then Pakistan go through on 11 points vs England on 10 points.
I think D’Arthez would enjoy TMS at the moment. Andy Zaltzman tearing the tiebreaks a new one or several.
I have plenty of time for Andy Zaltzman, and his musings on the game (and the quirky stats). Sad to have missed it.
He’s making the same arguments on his Twitter feed if you have access to that.
Yeah I do have access to that. And they are all good points, especially with regards to Net Run Rate.
Thanks for mentioning this