The New Zealand players that stood in the lobby of the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, gathering for a trip by light aeroplane into the Amazon rainforest a couple of days after their gripping victory over Sri Lanka in the opening match.
They were watching the Proteas against India on television while they waited for the last few stragglers to arrive. Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith were making pedestrian progress towards their huge score and, as always it seems, opinion was divided on the great Kallis’s worth in limited-overs cricket and his ability to pace an innings.
“He’s taking the piss,” said one Kiwi. “Doesn’t he know they need 12 per over?”
“Mate, he’s one of the best players of all time, I think you’ll find he knows what is going on. He is backing himself,” retorted a colleague
” Well, I’m glad he’s backing himself in their team and not ours.”
It was typical of the unforgiving and relentless banter which characterises tournaments in which the global village of international cricket gets together in such close quarters. When Muthiah Muralitharan walks through the dining area, breakfast or dinner, you can be fairly certain that at least one bright spark from an opposing team will call out to a team-mate: “throw me a bread roll, will you, mate?”
There was as much banter between the players during the South Africa India match as you will find in any game of cricket given the familiarity of the combatants from their IPL skirmishes. The last word was had by Smith, however, and it was a very good one provided that he and his team can live up to it.
“We know better than most that it’s how you finish a tournament that matters, not how you start it.” Touché.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, provided a little cold comfort for the Proteas in Guyana where they proved that it wasn’t just South Africa who could cock up a fairly straightforward Duckworth/Lewis equation. With a revised target of 104 from 10 overs, the scoring rate required wasn’t hard to work out. Or shouldn’t have been.
But there was more rain around when openers Hamilton Masakadza and Tatenda Taibu walked out to resume the run chase and they appeared to be distracted by the fact that they did not have a revised D/L table in case it returned. By the time Masakadza was run out and Brendan Taylor came to the crease the asking rate had climbed to 12 per over. Yet Taylor was not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to set about knocking the target off with singles. A dozen an over would have done it had that darned rain not come back.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.