Richly Deserved: Cricket World Cup Report, Day 3

MATCH TIED IRELAND 221-9 AND ZIMBABWE 221 ALL OUT

SRI LANKA 321-6 DEFEATED BERMUDA 78 ALL OUT BY 243 RUNS

I’m passing on that Red Stripe today. This day deserves a Guiness.

Very seldom is Cricket World Cup history made in the opening round of
the tournament, especially in a match between a test nation and an
associate nation.

The match between Zimbabwe and Ireland will be talked about in both
countries for years to come. And for Ireland, it was the greatest result
in their cricketing history.

For just the third time in World Cup history, a match ended in a tie.

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to send Ireland up first. Jeremy Bray
was one of the opening batsmen.

And while Ireland lost nine wickets through their innings, Bray was
never one of their victims. That’s right, the 36-year-old Bray, a
native of Australia, was at the stumps all 50 overs, facing 137 balls
and making 115 not out. I’m sure whatever the end result, no one in
Ireland was complaining about their 221 for nine.

Zimbabwe opened their innings smartly. Vusi Sibanda, one of their
openers, made 67 before inadvertently hitting the wicket. Stuart
Matsikenyeri batted smartly through his innings and sitting at 189 for
only five losses, it was just a matter of counting down the final runs
to a Zimbabwe victory.

Then they lost the wicket of Brendan Taylor. Then they lost the wicket
of veteran Gary Brent. Then captain Prosper Utseya joined the victims
list, going down for one. 213 for eight. Panic time in Africa.

When the 50th and final over came, Zimbabwe was 213 for 9, six balls
left to get nine runs. Eight of them came in the first five balls. One
ball left. Tie ball game.

Ed Rainsford is run out. Matsikenyeri survived making 73 in all but
all they get is one point. And they don’t go to penalty kicks.

Group D is about to get very interesting.

In the other match, Sri Lanka showed why they are my darkhorse pick to
win this tournament. Captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara had
a great time at the stumps making 85 and 76 runs respectively, and
Chamara Silva chipped in with a half-century of his own, making 55. Sri
Lanka totally outclassed Bermuda’s bowlers.

Then they did the same to Bermuda’s batsmen. Farveez Maharoof took
four wickets while Lasith Malinga took three. I was beginning to wonder
at one point if Sri Lanka was going to hold them to a total rivaling the
total they held Canada to in the 2003 tournament which was 36 all out.
It turned out Bermuda made 78.

By the way, we’re not going to let Bermuda leave the 2007 World Cup
without writing something about Dwayne Leverock, so stay tuned.

As promised, a word about Kenya-Canada. I was impressed with Kenya.
Their fast bowlers have to get a little tighter but otherwise, the
mechanics of their spinners, their fielding, and their batting are fine.
I can’t wait to see what kind of a game they give England and New
Zealand.

Canada, on the other hand, was a disappointment. Their batting outside
of Geoff Barnett was suspect. Their running between the wickets was poor
and their bowling extras, 28, are you kidding me? They are not a very
deep team so they cannot afford to make mistakes. They made too many in
this match.

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