The group stages of the Cricket World Cup 2007 are all done now. And what weekend it has been again for the this tournament.
On Friday Sri Lanka defeated India. Sri Lanka out into bat first lost early wickets for little runs. And it started to look like a disaster. But Upul Tharanga made a good knock and the lower middle, and lower order put together some partnerships to post a respectable score of 254/6 (50 overs). The Indian innings fell short by 69 runs as Sri Lanka took all their wickets in 43.3 overs.
The interesting point to observe here is how and who accumulated the runs for Sri Lanka. Only around 35% of the runs were scored through boundaries (22 fours, and 1 six). The vast majority of the remainder were by running between the wicket - over 60%. It is a widely talked about point about Sri Lanka is that if Sanath Jayasuria doesn't fire at the top then the rest of the team struggle a bit. Certainly if 3 out of the first 4 in the line up fail to do much its going to be a problem. And this is for most cricket teams around the world. So then to see Chamara Silva and Thillakaratne Dhilshan stay in and score 59 and 38 respectively, and Russel Arnold and Chaminda Vass see the rest of the overs through was very very encouraging. Chamara Silva's form and consistency batting at number 5 carrying through out the tournament is going to be one of the keys to Sri Lanka winning tight matches.
By now India were virtually out. Indian hopes were pinned on the unlikely scenario of Bermuda beating Bangladesh. There have been a couple shakeups already so it wasn't as silly as it sounds. However, as expected Bangladesh beat Bermuda yesterday. I wouldn't say it was a convincing win or a walk in the park. But to be fair there were 4 or 5 interruptions due to rain and the match was reduced to 21 overs.
The most exciting game this weekend had to be Australia Vs. South Africa. It was all about the batting. Australia batting first scored an incredible 377/6. In the process Matthew Hayden broke Ricky Ponting's record for the fastest 100 at a World Cup by getting there in 66 balls. There were 40 fours and 11 six that help get to 377. Australia are looking consistent and brutal as always. It's going to take clever cricket to get past them.