Radio contact and all that!

The World Cup encountered controversy with the tournament just a day old. India was playing South Africa at Hove and there was excitement around since much was expected from this contest in the way of tactical brilliance from the Proteas skipper Hansie Cronje and coach Bob Woolmer. Known to innovate, the two carried things a bit too far by using a radio system. It was discovered that Cronje was wired up to get instructions from Woolmer. This was shocking and needed the match referee, Talat Ali of Pakistan, to step in and put a stop to this means of communication.

A costly miss

Herschelle Gibbs dropping Steve Waugh in the league match against Australia was a low moment for the player. The Australian skipper had been told by Shane Warne that Gibbs had this habit of “show boating” and it happened in Leeds. Waugh, on 56, was dropped by an over-enthusiastic Gibbs and Australia recovered to stay in the tournament. What a pity that Gibbs’ century in the same encounter was pushed into the background because of the reprieve he gave Steve Waugh!

shock defeat

Many inconsequential matches lead to a loss of interest in the biggest of competitions. One such game came Pakistan’s way in Northampton and it lost to Bangladesh by 62 runs. There was little to suggest the outcome when Bangladesh presented Pakistan with a target of 224. None of the Bangladesh batsmen made a 50, but the collective effort proved to be a winning score as Pakistan crashed to 161. The first five Pakistan wickets fell for 42 and the list included top performers like Ijaz Ahmed, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Salim Malik. It was a collapse that stood out sorely even as Bangladesh celebrated the unexpected.

Floundering without the master

It was not the defeat, but the manner in which India succumbed to Zimbabwe in Leicester that hurt the team’s campaign. The team was without Sachin Tendulkar but there was enough depth in the batting to counter the Zimbabwe team’s aspirations. The target was 253 from 46 overs since India was penalised four overs for slow over rate. It was not a daunting task given the awesome batting line-up at the disposal of skipper Mohammad Azharuddin. India was actually cruising at 155 for three when opener S. Ramesh followed Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Azharuddin to the dressing room. Even though Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh got into the repair act, a flurry of dismissals dented India’s hopes and lost by three runs!

Vijay Lokapally