Richly Deserved: Cricket World Cup Report, the semi-finals and Richard's XI's

SRI LANKA 289 FOR 5 DEFEATED NEW ZEALAND 208 ALL OUT BY 81 RUNS

Mahela Jayawardene will forever be enshrined in the hearts of all Sri Lankans after this performance. The captain was flawless in his 115 not out batting performance off 109 balls with 13 boundaries. Opener Upul Tharanga also had a good innings making 73. Tillakaratne Dilshan also made a good contribution, 30 off 27 balls. James Franklin took two wickets for New Zealand.

New Zealand started like they would put together a good response. Peter Fulton opened with a nice 46 while Scott Styris made 37. But a stretch in which they lost five wickets for just nine did them in. Their chase was done in just 41 overs. Muttiah Muralitharan, the wily vet, took the wickets of Jacob Oram and Brandon McCullum on consecutive balls and took four wickets overall. Another great performance by Sri Lanka

AUSTRALIA 153 FOR 3 DEFEATED SOUTH AFRICA 149 ALL OUT BY SEVEN WICKETS

After 10 overs of South Africa’s innings, the Australian fans were ready to go onto the streets of St. Lucia and celebrate. This was because Glenn McGrath was on fire. Already established as the leading World Cup wicket-taker of all time, McGrath took three of the five wickets in that span while holding South Africa to 27. Justin Kemp made 49. Herschelle Gibbs, 39. AB deVilliers, 15. Everyone else has a single digit on the scorecard. And while Shaun Tait did one better by taking four wickets, McGrath got into the heads of the South Africans who took too many ambitious shots to be a factor.

Martin Clarke made 60 while Matthew Hayden made 41 as Australia ended South Africa’s World Cup in just 31.3 overs.

Australia and Sri Lanka on Saturday. Will be something special.

Now, it’s time for the presentation of our all-star team and our all-favourite team, compiled from play the past seven weeks.

RICHARD’S XI
(In batting order)

MATTHEW HAYDEN (Australia). Australia’s opening batsman has been all-world. The tournament’s leading scorer has frustrated opening bowlers throughout the tournament.

JACQUES KALLIS (South Africa): For most of this tournament, as good as Hayden has been, this guy has been nearly as good. He has spearheaded a lot of good opening partnerships this World Cup.

RICKY PONTING (Australia, captain): Can’t think of a better captain this tournament. His innings in the crease have for the most part been the reason Australia has had an easy time. He has captained his side well.

SCOTT STYRIS (New Zealand): Has had a spectacular tournament as an all-rounder for the Blackcaps

JACOB ORAM (New Zealand): Another all-rounder we would be comfortable putting in the middle of the batting order

SANATH JAYASURIYA (Sri Lanka): Maybe a little low in this order but has been the batting star for the Sri Lankans this tournament.

MARC BOUCHER (South Africa, wicketkeeper): Seems like a bit of an odd choice but considering he has two of the fastest half-centuries during the World Cup, he is here to get runs quickly.

ABDUR RAZZAQ (Bangladesh): Bangladesh has been quite a story and it’s because of their intimidating fast bowlers. Few have been better than this guy.

LASITH MALINGA (Sri Lanka)
MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN (Sri Lanka): Best to link these two together. Sri Lanka is in this final because their bowling has been so good. These two are the best of the lot.

GLENN MCGRATH (Australia): How does a guy, who never lifts a bat, be the frontrunner for tournament MVP? By being the best bowler in this tournament. And to think, he’s retiring after Saturday’s match.

RICHARD’S OTHER XI

ADAM GILCHRIST (Australia): Didn’t carry as much of a load as Hayden in the opening partnerships but was effective most of the time nonetheless.

SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL (West Indies): Didn’t have a great tournament (nor did the rest of the team). Still the best name in cricket.

INZAMAM-UL-HAQ (Pakistan, captain): Handled the pressure of losing guys to injury before the World Cup, dealing with coach Bob Woolmer’s death during their campaign, and the backlash back home post elimination, well for the most part.

HERSCHELLE GIBBS (South Africa): Provided the most incredible five minutes of this World Cup when he hit six sixes in an over against The Netherlands.

JIMMY KAMANDE (Kenya): Took a wicket against Canada and celebrated with a subtle, ryhthmic shoulder shrug that has to rank as the coolest celebration of the entire tournament.

BOYD RANKIN (Ireland): The Irish were a great surprise and this lanky fast bowler was one of the reasons why.

ANDREW FLINTOFF (England): Took some good wickets for England but his antics on the opening weekend, getting drunk before tipping over a pedalo boat, sealed his position here. Way to be a good English bloke.

DILHARA FERNANDO (Sri Lanka): Another one of Sri Lanka’s fine pace bowlers. Besides, anyone who invokes Abba during a column deserves to be here.

MASHRAFE MORTAZA (Bangladesh): This is one guy cricket fans are going to hear a lot more from, that’s for certain.

JOHN DAVISON (Canada): Had to throw some Cancon there. Besides his innings against New Zealand showed why he was one of the more feared all-rounders in this tournament.

DWAYNE LEVEROCK (Bermuda): Big man became a cult hero and will not be forgotten.

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