Well the India England game in this years Cricket World Cup has certainly put 50 over cricket back on the map and since then there have been some cracking games.
The last week has seen Ireland pull off a huge shock against England, Canada giving Pakistan a run for their money and India getting back to winning ways.
If you thought the India England game could not be topped then last Wednesday was far more dramatic. Also a great day for Irish Cricket.
England batted first and made 327-8 from their 50 overs with Warwickshire’s Jonathan Trott top scoring with 92. Trott is England’s ‘Mr. Consistent’ and when you want a cool head in a desperate situation, Trott is your man to get you out of a spot of bother.
327 was a huge total and you would have expected England to have gone on to win the game. Especially after Ireland were reduced to 111-5, England should have wrapped it up.
Up stepped Ireland’s new hero Kevin O’Brien. O’Brien did have luck on the way to making a majestic 113 but sometimes you need luck. Had Andrew Strauss held on to a catch whilst O’Brien was on 92, it may have been a different result.
But give O’Brien, John Mooney and Alex Cusack credit for the way they battled and kept their cool to reach their target. England’s fielding that day was yet again sloppy but Wednesday 2nd March 2011 will stay in the memory of Irish cricket fans for many years to come.
Ireland could have pulled off another giant-killing against India but it was not to be. The Irish were bowled out for 207 and India were 100-4 at one stage. But an unbeaten half-century from Yuvraj and contributions from Mahendra Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan saw India home with five wickets in hand.
I still fancy India to reach at least the semi-finals of the World Cup but it is crucial they do not get complacent at any point. India’s game against South Africa will be an intriguing one and it will be interesting to see whether the South Africans can bounce back from their narrow 6 run defeat against England.
There is no doubt Graeme Smith’s side will be hurting from the defeat by England but South Africa are a top side and they have plenty of match winners. After dismissing England for a poultry 171, South Africa will have fancied their chances of knocking off the runs comfortably.
They were well set at 124-3 to meet England’s target but now it was time for England’s bowlers to step up to the plate. Tim Bresnan, James Anderson and Stuart Broad took crucial wickets and England battled their way to a six run victory.
Bearing in mind he was still coming back to full fitness, Broad bowled beautifully and the fact he has now been ruled out for the rest of the tournament will be a huge loss for England. But with Chris Tremlett, England have another fine bowler to call upon.
Kevin Pietersen will also miss the rest of the World Cup and this is another major blow for England. Pietersen will be replaced by Eoin Morgan but with Pietersen and Broad not being able to play for England again in the World Cup, it will be interesting to see if Andy Flower’s side can cope without them.
Away from England, Pakistan survived a major scare after beating Canada by 46 runs. Those who were hoping for another shock result were left disappointed but Pakistan were for sure given a stern test by the Canadians.
Shahid Afridi’s side were dismissed for 184 and this was a great opportunity for Canada to record a famous victory. But the giant-killing never came and Canada were all out for 138.
But Canada can take heart from the way they performed against Pakistan and lets not forget the Canadians did beat Kenya by five wickets this week so well done to them.
Pakistan should reach the final 8 without any major problems but the game against Canada should act as a wake up call for them. Even though you would expect to beat teams like Holland and Canada, you can never underestimate them. Just look how close Holland came to beating England.
One team who are going about their business quietly are New Zealand. The Black Caps thrashed Pakistan by 110 runs with Ross Taylor scoring 131 on his birthday. New Zealand scored 92 runs from their last four overs which helped them post a competitive total of 302-7 from the 50 overs.
New Zealand also won their second game of the World Cup by 10 wickets this time against Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe were all out for 162 and the Black Caps met their target easily with Martin Guptill and Brendan McCullum scoring half-centuries.
Even though they are not the red hot favourites, New Zealand could have a say in who wins the World Cup and stranger things have happened before. With Ross Taylor, Brendan McCullum, Jacob Oram and Tim Southee in the squad, New Zealand can be a formidable opposition for anyone.
Just finally Bangladesh suffered a humiliating nine wicket defeat against the West Indies. The Tigers were bowled out for just 58 and this win could be the impetus the West Indies need to go on and have a good tournament.
Bangladesh need to pick themselves up quickly and fans will be expecting better. Just the small matter of their next game being against England.