2011 World Cup Top Run Scorer

Tillakaratne Dilshan was the top run scorer of the 2011 cricket world cup with 500 runs, he averaged 62.50 and had a strike rate of 90.74.

I know that is a very helathy strike rate, but from what we’ve seen from Dilshan in the past, it actually looks quite tame.

Dilshan was one of only 4 players to score over 400 runs. The other 3 are, not surprisingly Sachin, he scored 482 runs, with an average of 53.55 and a strike rate of 91.98.

Nothing Sachin achieves surprises me anymore. Teams have their best batsmen at the top of the order to give them the maximum amount of overs to face. At his age and with all the talented batsmen India have, Tendulkar still commands a place in the team as an opener.

Kumar Sangakkara scored 465 runs at a remarkable average of 93.00 and with a strike rate of 83.78. Like MS Dhoni, Sangakkara carries all the teams responsibility on his shoulders, to be a wicketkeeper who can bat is one thing, to be a wicketkeeper and a world class batsman and captain is something else.

How do these guys keep performing at the level they do? I know that Sangakkara gave up wicketkeeping in the test team, but he still has a lot to do and is still a world class performer.

Then we have Jonathan Trott with 422 runs at an average of 60.28 and strike rate of 80.84. Trott may not have the strike rate of the others, I’m not sure he has the shots either, but he was effective for England.

I have heard people on radio and TV criticising him for been too slow in games, I even heard some idiot blaming him for the Sri Lanka defeat saying his slow play cost England wickets at the other end.

As it was, we got hammered. But I think we would have looked a lot more stupid getting bowled out for around 160-170, which I think may well have happened without Trott.

Trott looks set to be an important member of the England 50 over team moving forward, the only problem with the start he has had, is how long can he keep it up for?

A full list of the top run scorers can be found here.

World Cup Final – Congratulations India

Well, what the hell do I know? Not a lot, as at the half way stage I thought Sri Lanka had enough runs on the board to win this.

How did MS Dhoni manage his Man of the Match, match winning performance? At one stage when he was around the 40-50 runs mark, he looked out on his feet.

I thought Sri Lanka’s fielding let them down as well, the dropped catch off Gambhir early in his innings was obviously a massive factor in the outcome of the match, but overall their ground fielding was very poor.

If I were a Sri Lankan fan, I’d have been fuming watching them in the field. From about the 38th over onwards, certain members of the team looked like they had already given up. This was a world cup final for god sake, what were they playing at?

But with cricket being cricket, there is always a braindead shot waiting to happen and get you interested again, this time it was Gambhir who supplied it, and within touching distance of a century as well. Just what was he thinking?

What Gambhir’s shot did do, was paved the way for Yuvraj to come out and get his team home, after failing with the bat in the semi-final, it was always a safe bet that Yuvraj would do the business this time.

In seeing his team home, Yuvraj capped off an all round impressive world cup which has seen him confirm himself as one of the top ODI players in the world. His batting, bowling and fielding was all top class. He might not have fulfilled his test potential, but he certainly has excelled in ODI cricket.

From the Sri Lanka side of things questions should have to be answered, like who’s decision was it too leave out Mendis? Especially when you look at the performances of Murali and Kulasekara – who hardly covered himself in glory.

Kulasekara did his best to get India over the line single handed when he offered up a tasty over of full tosses in the 47th over, just after Malinga had built some pressure in the previous one.

Murali was a massive disappointment and to go out on that performance will be a rare low point in his illustrious career.

Dhoni showed just what a real leader he is and did the business when it really mattered. He might not have had a great competition with the bat, but when it mattered Dhoni produced.

To be captain or wicketkeeper must be difficult, to do both at the level Dhoni does is unbelievable. So to criticise him for not scoring enough runs is very harsh.

All-in-all, from my point of view India were the best team over the whole of the competition and fully deserved their win. I thought there was a chance that they had already played their final against Pakistan earlier in the week, but obviously they hadn’t.

Well done India.

World Cup Final – Half Time Thoughts

Big games call for big men, so what a time and day for Mahela Jayawardene to get a century. What a century it was as well, Sri Lanka were in a bit of trouble when he came to the crease at 2/60 in the 17th over, the pressure was well and truely on at the time.

The innings more than played it’s part in getting Sri Lanka up to a competitive score of 6/274, it has pretty much ensured that someone in the India side needs to put their hand up and play a big innings to win this world cup, I think that chasing 275 on this wicket under this pressure won’t be easy.

Could that man be Yuvraj? Well why not, it has seemed impossible to keep him out of the game over the course of this tournament, so far today has been no different, he got lucky with the wicket of Sangakkara, but used the review system well in the dismissal of Samaraweera.

It’s not very often you see Taufel get one wrong, but I can see why he didn’t give it out as there was enough doubt, with the big stride, etc. It was a brave review, it could have been an ‘umpires call,’ but Yuvraj was proved right on this occasion.

Despite my reservations, India also fielded brilliantly, again Yuvraj seemed to be everywhere, even Sreesanth was throwing himself about and early in the Sri Lanakan innings he brilliantly saved a four down on the boundary.

At the end it was remarkable to see Zaheer going the round the park in the final over, it showed how the pressure can get to anyone. Can India’s batsmen now handle it?

The bookies have it close in the betting, but India are still slight favourites at a best price of 5/6 with Stan James. Sri Lanka are 13/10 with Betfair.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I believe Sri Lanka have this won, as I think they have enough runs on the board already.

Cricket Betting – India, World Cup Favourites

No surprise to see India as the hot favourites to lift the cricket world cup in Mumbai on Saturday. India are generally available at 4/7 and Sri Lanka are a best price of 6/4.

Tendulkar is 13/2 to be Man of the Match, serial MOTM winner Yuvraj is 10/1 and Murali (on his one leg) is 11/1.

It’s fair to say that the best two teams of the tournament are in the final, no one got here by fluke or good fortune, both teams have played the best cricket and are in the final on merit.

I hope both sides go out and play their natural attacking games, I thought that Sri Lanka played a bit cautiously against New Zealand in their semi and nearly came unstuck. A repeat of that performance would almost certainly end in defeat here.

India also weren’t at their best against Pakistan, I thought nerves got to both teams and in the end the runs on the board and the pressure that created, along with tight disciplined bowling got India over the line.

After a great start from Sehwag as usual, India stumbled badly when Pakistan’s bowlers put them under pressure, only a late order cameo from Raina made the score look competitive.

Sri Lanka’s bowling attack is certainly no worse that Pakistan’s is, so India can’t rely on just cashing in on weak bowling.

I do though believe that the teams are a lot closer than the odds suggest.

India clearly have strength in their batting, and alongside the impressive Zaheer, Harbhajan has shown some form lately with the ball. Their weaknesses are the fielding and the back up bowlers, India badly need their back up bowlers to be firing in this one.

Sri Lanka have a strong top order and a complete bowling attack. Their so-called weaknesses are claimed to be the middle order batting, in a way that’s an unfair accusation as they have hardly had a chance to show what they are capable off.

Another possible weakness is Murali, not usually words I’d put in the same sentence, but you have to wonder just how fit he really is? His injury has to impact on his performance.

But at the same time he is a big game player, and like Sachin, nothing they achieve would surprise me.

The game is being hyped around these two cricketing giants, I can see it being about far more than just them though. From the reports we hear, it doesn’t look like a 300+ runs wicket. So it looks like it could well be another one of those nervy tight finishes.

Impressed with Shahid Afridi

I have to admit to being very impressed with the way Shahid Afridi has handled and conducted himself during Pakistan’s impressive run to the world cup semi-finals.

I don’t mind admitting that prior to the start of the world cup, I thought that Afridi lacked the discipline and maturity to be captain, that he wasn’t responsible enough and couldn’t be taken seriously. Over the course of the tournament I am happy to say he has proved me wrong.

The pressure that Afridi must have been under in the build up to this game is probably like nothing he has ever experienced before. To have conducted himself in the professional manner that he has, shows just how far he has come as a cricketer and a person over the testing few months Pakistan cricket has just endured.

Afridi has shown maturity and has been very gracious and respectful. The most unexpected of all for me, is that he has been a great ambassador for his country, his complementary remarks towards India on their victory is a great example of this.

Also, to hear Afridi apologise for the defeat on Wednesday is a remarkable show of humility. I think he has gone beyond the call of duty there. Ok, so the fielding could have been better, as could the run chase. But to lose to India on home soil is no disgrace.

Pakistan can go home with their heads held high, I believe that as a team they have taken massive strides forward over the past 5 weeks. At the start of the competition I think they would have regarded reaching a semi-final as a great result, not many pundits would have given them much chance of achieving that.

Who’s House will be getting stoned tomorrow night?

The losing captain of Wednesdays game between India and Pakistan will have all the usual fun to deal with in the aftermath of his teams defeat.

The crowds outside stoning their house, the burning effigy scenes being repeated all over the country, having to go into hiding for a few weeks, all the usual stuff associated with losing a game against your biggest rival.

No disrespect meant to Dhoni or Afridi, but I can’t wait.

India’s stronger batting against Pakistan’s stronger bowling, that’s where the two team’s strengths clearly lie. So it could be how the Indian bowling and Pakistani batting performs, which is the key to the outcome of this match.

I will be very disappointed if Shoaib Akhtar doesn’t play, I can’t begin to imagine the noise of the crowd at the sight of him coming in to bowl against Sachin and Sehwag, it will be unbelievable.

I don’t know why, but I have a sneaky feeling for Pakistan. If Akhtar does play, can you imagine how pumped up he will be? I can see a performance from him and that’s probably what is making me think, Pakistan.

Another twist to the outcome is Sachin, it would be a travesty if he was to end his career not having won the world cup.

Ultimately I hope cricket is the winner tomorrow. I’m glad to see that the Pakistan Prime Minister has accepted the invitation of his Indian counterpart to attend the match, I don’t normally like seeing sport mixed in with politics or religion, but on this occasion I don’t mind and I hope it can lead to a postitive outcome, and some much needed progress can be made between the two.

India start ss favourites at a best price of 4/7 with most bookmakers, Pakistan are a best price of 6/4 with Sportingbet and 11/8 with most of the other firms.

Sri Lankan Choke Avoided

Sri Lanka avoided becoming the biggest ‘Chokers’ in the history of cricket for me earlier today when they things got shaky after they crashed from from 1/160 to 5/185.

At that stage things got really tense and Sri Lanka where only one loose shot away from exposing their tail, to having to try to get them over the line.

Would Malinga, Herath, Mendis and Murali have had the shots and composure to get the 30 odds runs needed? Who knows in that pressure situation and luckily for Sri Lanka they didn’t need to find out.

I did find it a touch premature after the New Zealand innings when the commentators said that Murali was leaving the pitch for the final time in Columbo to a standing ovation – before they had even batted. I thought it would be slightly ironic if he then had to come out to bat as his team had made a mess of the run chase.

I thought the Kiwi’s fought hard again, like they did against South Africa, but this time it wasn’t enough. I also got the feeling that if this hadn’t of been a world cup semi-final, that Sri Lanka would have won the game a lot more comfortably than they did.

The Kiwis formula of playing safe with the bat and posting a work-man-like total failed here, as it did for England and also for Australia against India.

The non sub-continent teams seemed to adopt an approach that if the openers went cheeply, they will play safe and put a low total on the board (rather than end up 170 all out) and hope to defend it with tight bowling and good fielding, in the hope that a build up of pressure might produce a South Africa, sorry, I mean a disasterous batting collapse.

England failed miserably, as they couldn’t bowl tight or field, Australia ran into an in-form Yuvraj (despite most of the rest of his team trying to throw it away) and it wasn’t enough for the Kiwis here – although it very nearly was.

In the betting Sri Lanka are now the favourites at a best price of 11/10 with William Hill and Bet365.

Question Answered

Before today I, and probably the majority of English cricket observers wondered whether England were more a lame racehorse in desperate need of putting down.

Or if, after all the entertainment and near misses, England were actually the team who’s name was already on the trophy.

After a quarter-final more one sided than the West Indies’ capitualtion against Pakistan, it’s ‘question answered’.

I’m going to go away now and wonder how embarrassed I might be if I were South African, rather than English.

It’s comforting to know there’s always someone worse off than yourself:)

Jonathan Trott’s Abysmal Conversion Rate

How many times is he going to get to 50 and not convert? This can’t keep continuing. This is the 5th time in 7 innings that Trott has failed to convert 50 into 100.

This simply isn’t good enough, if he doesn’t up his performance soon, England will have no choice but to drop him.

His scores so far in this world cup are 62 (Holland), 16 (India), 92 (Ireland), 52 (South Africa), 67 (Bangladesh), 47 (West Indies) and 86 (Sri Lanka). I think everyone will agree, that is an appalling rate of conversion.

Compare that to Andrew Strauss who has a century (158, India) and a half century (88, Holland) to his name and you can see how bad Trott is, Strauss has a far superior conversion rate.

Then we have other high scorers that put Trott to shame, we have Bell with 69 (India) and 81 (Ireland). Pietersen 59 (Ireland), Bopara 60 (South Africa), erm, Morgan 63 (Bangladesh) and 50 (Sri Lanka), (embarrassed cough) Wright 44 (West Indies), bloody hell is that all, Collingwood 30 (Holland) and oh my god, are we really that bad, Prior 22 (Sri Lanka).

Erm, maybe Trott is doing a bit better than I first thought. Maybe I was wrong to listen to all those ex-players and cricketing experts who say that Trott is too ‘one paced’ for 50 over cricket.

Well on these pitches he’s just what is required. So far he has scored 422 runs at an average of 60.28 in this world cup. A ‘one paced’ Trott style innings would almost certainly have seen South Africa home yesterday as well.

Would he be able to adapt and play more shots on a 300+ runs flat bed wicket? That remains to be seen and when he gets the chance we will find out.

I certainly wouldn’t bet against it, as on current form I wouldn’t put anything past him.

Allan Donald wins a World Cup Knock Out Match

The majority of South African cricketers might not be able to achieve it, but Allan Donald has worked out the best way to win a World Cup knock out match.

The Kiwi coach has cleary learnt from previous experiences and was seen joyfully celebrating pitch side as the last wicket fell, when Morne Morkel holed out to sub Jamie How in the deep.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard the stat, that South Africa have never won a world cup knock out match in 5 attempts. That is remarkable for a country that has produced some of the best players and teams in the world over the last 20 odd years since readmission.

I was also amazed by the shot that Jacques Kallis got out to, if ever there was a time and a place for Kallis to play a ‘typical Kallis test style innings,’ it was in this game and on this pitch.

I’m not singling Kallis out for blame, he can’t always be relied on to be the man to get them over the line, and afterall, he top scored for SA in this game.

I just think had he batted through in his usual risk free manner, then South Africa would have won. They also may well have won had AB de Villiers not been stupidly run out not long afterwards, that looks to be the passage of play that ultimately decided the match.

After the early loss of the openers New Zealand seemed to adopt the Aussie approach from the previous day in looking to set a sensible total. Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor’s 114 run partnership was played in a cautious, watchful manner, they realised that a score of 240-260 would keep them well in the match – and so it proved.

At the half way stage they did look a few runs short, but I thought they played sensible cricket. 221/8 is far better than going gung-ho and getting bowled out for 160-170.

Not just that partnership won the match. New Zealand’s attitude and exceptional ability in the field created the pressure that ultimately caused South Africa to crumble from 108/2 to 172 all out, that’s some collapse.

The Kiwi’s were great, their heads never dropped, they chased everything down like Cheetahs and Vettori knew the right times to keep up the pressure.

Small margins win tight games, Jacob Oram being big tall enough to reach the catch off Kallis and Martin Guptill’s excellent work in the field to run out de Villiers played a massive part in this victory.

As did New Zealand’s canniness, I keep hearing ex-players say that a lot of cricket is played in between the ears, New Zealand clearly did that better here.

New Zealand are now 13/2 with Bet365 to win the tournament.