Richly Deserved: Cricket World Cup Report, Days 24-27

We’ve got four days of riveting stuff to catch up on. I can say now that for all intents and purposes, the Super Eights round has served its purpose with several matches still to be played.

Tuesday: SOUTH AFRICA 356 FOR 4 DEFEATED WEST INDIES 279 FOR 9 BY 67 RUNS

The West Indies are an embarassment. I’m not so sure the World Cup’s host nation could win the ICC Trophy right now if forced to play in it.

The South Africans lost their first wicket for 21 but then got a 170-run partnership from AB deVilliers, who sparkled in this match making 146, and Jacques Kallis who was almost as impressive making 81. Hershelle Gibbs had his best outing since that scintillating display against the Dutch, making 61 while Mark Boucher made the third-fastest half century in World Cup history, making 52 off just 22 balls. Daren Powell and Ian Bradshaw gave up over 70 runs each for the Windies.

Ramnaresh Sarwan did make a nice 92 for the hosts and Powell made 46 at the end. But Chris Gayle (32), Brian Lara (21), and Shiv. Chanderpaul (4)? That ain’t gonna cut it.

Monday: NEW ZEALAND 263 FOR 8 DEFEATED IRELAND 134 ALL OUT BY 129 RUNS

The green-tinted glass slipper is definitely gone for the Irish lads now while New Zealand continues to put their neighbours Australia on notice. Peter Fulton opened for the Kiwis with an impressive 83 and Brendon McCullum made a nice 47. And give the Irish credit for taking wickets at regular intervals.

But aside from Kevin O’Brien’s 49, there was little response from the Irish who lost their last seven wickets in just nine overs, adding just 24 to their total in that time.

Sunday: AUSTRALIA 248 FOR 3 DEFEATED ENGLAND 247 ALL OUT BY SEVEN WICKETS

The only bright spots for the English were the batting of Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell. Pietersen, ranked as the ICC’s top-ranked One Day International player, made 104 while opener Bell made 77. Their partnership stabilized things in the middle but they were erratic both early and late.

Australia, ho hum. Adam Gilchrist, 27. Matthew Hayden, 41. Ricky Ponting, 86. Martin Clarke, 55 not out. Andrew Symonds 28 not out.

The most the defending champs have lost in any match so far has been seven wickets. Guess Glenn McGrath will not have to worry about batting at all in this competition.

Saturday: BANGLADESH 251 FOR 8 DEFEATED SOUTH AFRICA 184 ALL OUT BY 67 RUNS

Where has this team come from? First India and now South Africa. The little brother of Subcontinental cricket is all grown up. And they’re doing it with the tournament’s youngest team.

Mohammad Ashraful continues to have a great time on the islands, making 87 in the middle of the order. Andre Nel did lead the South African bowling attack, taking five wickets.

Gibbs also did well here, making a tidy 56 but Bangladesh’s bowlers, who are gaining a very nice reputation, kept the run rate low, took wickets at regular intervals, and deserve full credit for this victory. Their fans should be very proud.

Back in a few days, though I think the semi-final spots are now decided.

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