Sunday, March 29, 2015

World Cup 2015 - Australia Completes the Formalities

Though everyone hoped that New Zealand might win, it turned out to be merely our romantic whims. The better prepared team won. The one which had lesser uncertainties in the process won. There was no shock-and-awe, no seizing the big initiative. Australia went about it with a clinical precision that left me wondering how we could even give New Zealand a chance.

I suppose the verdict was clear in the first over itself. Starc bowled McCullum who backed himself to take him on. Unfortunately that's a high risk approach and perhaps not warranted in a big game like this when the narrowest of margins could give you big advantages. New Zealand appeared strangled by the grip Australia had on it and at no stage did it look like it would get anywhere close to 250 which could have been a defendable total considering its bowling and fielding resources.

184 was never a total that would threaten the Aussies unless they were 20 for 5. Elliott batted on gamely for NZ and showed some fight but the rest were in some hoping zone. What they needed were players who could put their head down and eke out every single run which they could later defend. Instead of that they went for something big and crashed. No plan B.

Steve Smith was the biggest revelation. What amazing maturity for such a young player. he takes total responsibility, applies what he knows best and rises to the big occasion. The bigger the challenge, the bigger Smith gets. No praise can be too much for this young man. In his own quiet way he put both the semis and the finals out of the opponents reach - mind you - if he had not scored in both games in the way he did, the outcomes would have been different.

Overall it was boring fare. In fact the entire World Cup has been boring. I watched only a few hours of it, no match fully. One or two good matches - Australia and New Zealand, the semis between New Zealand and South Africa were interesting. Wahab Riaz's spell was perhaps the highlight of the tournament. I would want to typically go to watch performances with that kind of intensity when I am looking at the World Cup. But this was mediocre fare.

The good that comes out of it is this. Processes work. Go back to the basics, Build teams carefully. They will deliver.

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