Cricket Corner: World Cup semi-finals loom, grade cricketer bowls the perfect over


Cricket Corner: World Cup semi-finals loom, grade cricketer bowls the perfect over

Can Rachin Ravindra and New Zealand stun India on Wednesday?
Can Rachin Ravindra and New Zealand stun India on Wednesday?Reuters
In this recurring feature, Flashscore's Pat Dempsey brings together the biggest talking points from the increasingly sprawling and intriguing world of the globe's second-most watched sport.

In a nod to the longest form of the game - Test cricket - the article is broken into three sections to mirror the main intervals in a day’s play. Lunch - the main course, the biggest stories. Tea - something a little lighter, dessert if you will. And Stumps (the end of play) - something to ponder over a few drinks at the bar.

Lunch - And then there were four

Cricket Corner is coming at you a little early this week because, after more than a month, the ICC World Cup will finally reach its semi-final stage on Wednesday. Back in early October, when it all started, the competition seemed a little tiresome but I have to say, I warmed to it and I’m already missing the match-a-day group stage. One of the virtues of the single round-robin structure is that the best four teams rise to the top and hardly anyone would argue that those left don't deserve to be there.

Wednesday’s semi-final sees host India take on fourth-placed New Zealand. When the same teams met in the group stage, India won (like they did in each of their nine matches so far) by four wickets but it wasn’t a blowout.

India will be going into the semi as firm favourites but you simply can’t write the Kiwis off. New Zealand have a happy knack for going further in World Cups than expected and they will relish their underdog tag. What’s more, they did beat India in the same stage at the last World Cup. Could lightning strike twice?

Thursday’s semi is the more intriguing of the two. Second-place South Africa and third-place Australia meet in a match that feels more like a coin toss to call. And a coin toss is exactly what it could come down to. Much has been said about South Africa’s preference to bat first and if they win the toss, they will likely bat.

However, if Australia win the toss, they will surely deny the Proteas of that luxury such is the stark difference between South Africa’s form when setting a score and chasing one. South Africa only narrowly beat Pakistan and battled past Afghanistan batting second and they were demolished by India and stunned by the Netherlands in the other two matches in which they chased. Watch that coin closely, it could be telling.

Tea - A toast to the departed

As mentioned, the best four teams are the ones that remain in play in India but that’s not to say that the eliminated eight haven’t put on performances to be proud of. Some of them - namely England and Pakistan - left the tournament under dark clouds of disappointment but the same cannot be said of Afghanistan and the Netherlands, who both exceeded expectations.

The Netherlands snuck into the World Cup at the expense of ICC full members Zimbabwe and the West Indies - that in itself was an achievement. To then go and stun South Africa and beat Bangladesh was an absolute coup for this hodgepodge crew of amateurs and semi-pro journeymen.

Their performances were proof that the gap between the so-called ’top tier’ nations and the rest may not be as big as certain administrative bodies would have you believe. If there was ever a good argument to expand global competitions and provide tier-two nations with more funding and opportunity - well, the Dutch just provided it. The Afghans, meanwhile, have been living proof for a decade.

As for individuals, one of the bright lights of the group stage was Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Madushanka. Sri Lanka came into the tournament having suffered a terrible run of injuries to key players and left the tournament in the shadow of even more troubling administrative worries. Despite that, left-arm quick Madushanka took 21 wickets at an average of 25 in the group stage - second only to Australia’s Adam Zampa, who took 22 wickets.

As for batters, only 10 players scored over 400 runs in the group stage. The top nine of those are all semi-finalists, England’s Dawid Malan (404 runs at an average of 44.88) was the 10th. England’s World Cup will be remembered as an unmitigated disaster, marred by odd selection U-turns and the controversy of peculiar new contracts being unveiled mid-tournament, but Malan was reliable as ever.

He was handed a one-year central contract but was then left out of the 50 and 20-over squads for the upcoming tour of the Caribbean. Mixed signals? Weird signals.

At least his contract bodes better than David Willey’s fate. Willey was the only player on tour in India who was not handed a new contract despite ending up as their second-highest wicket-taker. He has since retired from international cricket. A toast to you Mr Willey and the rest of the World Cup’s departed!

Stumps - The perfect over 

Lastly, something incredible to end on. Imagine this - the match is in its closing stages and you’re in the field. The batting side need just five runs to win and have a whole six wickets in hand. It’s basically game over so what do you do? 

Well, if you are Gareth Morgan, the captain of Mudgeeraba’s third-grade side on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia - here’s what you do. You take the ball for the final over and bowl the opposition out. Six balls, six wickets! Job done. That’s exactly what happened over the weekend in one of Australia’s many grade competitions and it was an ending unlikely enough to make national and international news.

“I didn’t want to let the winning runs come off the younger bowlers because they had bowled so well and didn’t want them to be down on themselves for it, if it was to happen,” Morgan told the Gold Coast Bulletin after the stunning win. Now, that’s what you call leading by example. It sounds so simple, right? Just take the ball and claim six wickets in a row - I don’t know why more bowlers don’t do it.

For the record, a ‘perfect over’ has never been bowled in international cricket. The most consecutive wickets taken in an international is four, which has occurred six times in limited-overs internationals but never in a Test match. Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga (twice), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Jason Holder (West Indies) and Curtis Campher (Ireland) have all taken four in four as has Germany women’s player Anuradha Doddaballapur.

More than four wickets in a row has occurred multiple times over the years in lower levels of cricket but what’s the most consecutive wickets someone has ever taken in recorded cricket history? Incredibly, it’s nine! And that’s happened twice, at least according to ESPNCricinfo’s records. There’s something surreal about those numbers. Nine wickets in a row. What the hell happened?



France gouvernement

Les jeux d’argent et de hasard peuvent être dangereux : pertes d’argent, conflits familiaux, addiction…

Retrouvez nos conseils sur (09-74-75-13-13, appel non surtaxé)

Do you want to withdraw your consent to display betting ads?
Yes, change settings