Weblog of Nazly Ahmed
At the beginning of the Champions Trophy Sri Lankan team was considered hot favorites to win the tournament considering their late ODI form after beating England 5-0 during the England tour. As expected the Lankans beat Zimbababwe and Bangladesh in high scoring games in the preliminary round. Also they beat West Indies after dismissing them to a very low score. That low scoring game brought some doubt to my mind about the behavior of the pitch. Also there was this dew factor which will effect the team that will be bowling second. As the tournament went on it was obvious that the pitches prepared for the tournament were not the best for batting. Batsmen had to play extra cautiously in these pitches. South Africa and New Zealand have already qualified to the Semi Finals from Group B leaving out Sri Lanka and Pakistan who were considered favorites in that group. West Indies and the winner from today's match between Australia vs India will be in the Semi Finals. England who lost to India and Australia are out of the tournament.
The fireworks that came too late was the win by England against West Indies yesterday. All the teams that played the main round had at least won one game. That's the beauty of it. But the ones who won more than one made through to Semi finals. IMO yesterday's pitch was the best the batsmen ever had during the tournament. Gayle and Bravo got centuries in the West Indies Innings. And in reply Staruss and Bell put up a good partnership with some elegant strokes. The way the batted showed how good the pitch was. Both got out after reaching their half centuries. Kevin Pieterson was the man for the rescue who batted brilliantly at the end to give England a much needed victory to keep their confidence level up.
England have a bigger worry than the Champions Trophy and that is the Ashes. They will be focusing on that now. Andrew Flintoff made a comment that they are concerned about ODI's as well as Test Cricket. And they have proved it by the victory yesterday. They sure have to get their ODI form in place in preparation for the World Cup next year which they have never won even after reaching the finals thrice.