Who must have predicted that after 20 days into the World Cup New Zealand would be the team to beat. Having decimated almost every team they look in ominous form. They have really made this world cup their own.
The Decimation of England
The most consistent team to never have won the world cup seems to have it in them this time. I watched in awe how they decimated the English batting line up. Tim Southee with the swing he gets can be a handful for any batsman. He took 7/33 to skittle out England for 123 in 33.2 overs. Then came the blast, McCullum the destroyer put all the bowlers to sword. In the process he broke his own record for fastest world cup 50.So supreme was the New Zealand team that the floodlights never had to be put on. The 100 over game finished in less than 50 overs.
It was not all, it was the turn of mighty Australians next.
Trent Boult rocks Australia
So potent is the Southee Bolt combination that even the formidable Australian batting was brought to knees. Add to that the wily Vettori who has fooled the best with his harmless looking spin. The Australians fared better and crossed 150 thanks to Brad Haddin. However the match was good with Mitchell Starc displaying the weakness of the Kiwis. He rocked the batting order after McCullum departed after a quick 50. However Williamson the cool customer saw them through.
This team looks in ominous form and I love to watch them. The flamboyant Brendon McCullum with his inventive captaincy adds to the already well oiled team.
If you are a cricket fan there is no other team which is playing better than Australia at the moment. Australia has the X factor. At the top of the batting are two exciting players. Aaron Finch the burly opener is the muscle at the top. He can take any of the world team’s bowling attack to the sword single handedly. Added to that is the pocket dynamo David Warner the nightmare of bowlers. If the opposition does get both of the openers out early they are doomed. In spite of being an attacking pair they have a great record together. Both are in reasonably good form. Add to that the left right combination that can be troublesome for bowlers to adjust their line.
The fearsome Australians in ICC world Cup 2015
Even if you get the openers early, the opposition has to contend with Shane Watson. With a great One Day record Watson is one of the most destructive at number 3. Popularly known as “Watto” by team mates he can be handful with bowling too. Next in the batting order is the new sensation Steve Smith. God gifted nimble footwork and stroke play make him the most stable player in the lineup. Smith has been in top form since being anointed the Test Captain. Responsible and one who has the character to bat till 50th over can be headache for the opposition.
Coming at number 5 in the lineup is the little Blaster Glen Maxwell. Fearless stroke play is his strength. He can be really unorthodox and can add punch to the innings. Do not forget George Bailey the gentle destructor. He has an amazing one day record and can switch gears at will.
At 7 is Brad Haddin who holds his place well in a lineup full of stroke players. Then comes the bowling attack. Mitchell Johnson adds fire power. Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Josh Hazelwood complete the pace battery. Then there is the phenomenal finisher James Faulkner who is both a good bowler and batsman.
If Michael Clarke becomes fit then he will add more experience to the lineup. Mitchell Marsh is the backup all rounder.
All of the players are an excellent fielder which adds to the woes of the opposition. With such heavy batting, strong bowling and superb all rounders I do not see any team overtaking them in this world cup. Go Australia Go!!!!!
It’s truly sad writing this blog, but, there probably is no more important topic to write about at the moment in the world of cricket that the tragic death of Phil Hughes. What makes me want to put metaphorical pen to paper, is not the actual death of the man himself, for I did not know him beyond recognising a talent that many of us saw, and it should be left to his family to grieve. But, the way it has binded the cricket nation together in a united show of support.
There are many positive messages coming from this tragedy….the way school teams have taken time to reflect on the loss of a person so young, the brilliant Put Out Your Bats campaign, the common sense shown by all in delaying the tests to allow the cricketers to mourn, and mostly the understanding shown to Sean Abbott, who nows has to come to terms with such a freak accident that none of us could understand how he must feel.
But, on the negative side, I find it disturbing how the news outlets and so many others have jumped on this bandwagon for their own benefit. Yes, it was a tragedy, but we need perspective, he was a young man doing what he loved, in one of the safest sporting environments. The family and cricketing community should be left to grieve and mourn, not pursued at every opportunity. I think this article in the Age sums up the balancing act very well.
Ok, I know I was skeptical in my last post about Australia’s chances in the World Cup, and happy to wait it out, but there’s some things that don’t wait no matter what – and for me that’s the Ashes!
Being a past Pom I look upon this regular chance to go back to the mother country and turn the screws a bit tighter with glee. The opportunity to combine some great cricket with a ready-made holiday is too hard to resist, but sometimes needs planning. I’ve done this pilgrimage twice now, once as part of a tour. and once with friends. This time I’ll be doing it just with the missus, well we go in the plane together, then split up for the important things, for her shopping, me a chance to catch up with some mates and watch what will hopefully be a few tough matches.
The great thing about a tour is everything sorted for you, tickets (which are not easy to come by in England for Ashes) hotels transfers, and you hopefully get to meet some of your heroes. But, it does restrict your movements when your going somewhere you know well. So for next year we’re sorting out a loan through Ferratum now so we can get all our tickets organised, all i can hope for is that the Australian team have themselves equally sorted by then.
The World Cup is apparently only 135 days away, and I for one can wait. Despite being on the back of successive test victories, Australia still do not look like a team bedded in. Despite most positions already being picked, the upcoming domestic season is crucial if Australia are going to field a stable team into the World Cup.
With a few positions up for grabs there are some important games ahead to make for an exciting summer. Peter Siddle has had a strong return to form in the English summer, and will be asking questions of the selectors. NSW captain Moises Henriques will be looking for a solid start to showcase his claims. But, to be honest, what I´m most hoping for is for the young talent to come through and shout for attention. With the likes of Steven Smith now looking mainstream, we need to see fresh new talent that succeeds, over the last few years there have been some amazing starts by players like Ashton Agar, that have not been able to be turned into consistent play. Australia has for the last few years struggled to turn over new players, let’s hope this season can see better.
The English domestic season has drawn to a close with Yorkshire taking out top honours, and no real standouts from Australia to lead into the summer. Chris Rogers managed to save Middlesex from relegation with a superb double ton, in an otherwise weak season by them. Aaron Finch turned in some mixed performances and was ultimately unable to lead Yorkshire to glory in the Twenty20 competition.
With a gruelling all year schedule and the pull of the IPL, the English domestic season is not the lure it once was for premium Australian players. However Peter Siddle has shown that the County Competition can still be a valuable playing ground, he managed to put in some superb spells to return to form and pose questions about a call up, and Nottingham were unlucky in the end to settle with a middle order ranking.
While it may not have the money of the IPL, the English competitions are still a hard won battlefield, any Australian player lucky enough to get the call to prove themselves here rightfully deserves to gain the attention of the Australian selectors. And strong performances by Doug Bollinger and a now fit Michael Klinger, will bring strength into the Australian domestic season to help stir up the local lads.