Friday, 4 March 2011

Cricket World Cup

In no mood to brook any Dutch mischief, South Africa steamrollered the Netherlands to top the group.
If Ireland’s win against England had rekindled hopes of a similar upset, Graeme Smith and his men quickly snuffed them out.
To begin with, the Proteas rode the marathon 221-run third wicket stand between Hashim Amla (113) and AB de Villiers (134, inset) and JP Duminy’s 40 off 15 balls to post 351-5 after batting first. Defending the highest ever total at the Punjab Cricket Association Ground, South Africa mowed down the Dutch top half by the time they reached the 100-mark and polished off the rest for a further 20 runs inside 35 overs. “We’re looking forward to playing England on Sunday,” an elated Smith said.
Scores. South Africa 351-5 (AB De Villiers 134, H Amla 113; R ten Doeschate 3-72); Netherlands 120 all out (I. Tahir 3-19)
Shahid Afridi will have gone to bed last night safe in the knowledge that Pakistan are probably one win away from securing a place in the World Cup quarter-finals but he knows his men were given a timely wake-up call by Canada.
In a tournament where most of the challengers are posting 300-plus scores on the dead sub-continental pitches, Umar Akmal was top scorer on 48 as Pakistan’s batsmen spluttered along for 43 overs before being bowled out for 184.
At the half-way mark, Afridi admitted memories of the 2007 defeat by Ireland came flooding back – but at the same time spurred his men to avoid defeat.
“I must say that was a poor batting performance and poor shot selection. I think if we want to play good cricket against good teams we should improve on this,” Afridi said after he took five wickets to ensure Pakistan’s 46-run win. “It’s a good wake-up call for us. The game against Ireland in 2007 was definitely on my mind. When we started the second innings I just told my boys ‘listen are we going to play this game for a win? Don’t think negative. We will definitely win this game’.” While the batting was a bit of a letdown, the bowlers more than made amends – with Afridi leading from the front. He now sits on top of the wicket-takers’ leaderboard with 14 victims.
Scores. Pakistan 184 all out (H.Baidwan 3-35); Canada 138 all out (Shahid Afridi 5-23)

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