Karachi: The group stages of 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup provided some of the most thrilling and bizarre moments to the cricketing fraternity as it had virtually everything from upsets to one-sided matches, huge expectations to the wildest of celebrations, partnerships to downfalls, security concerns to sensational performances.
Minnows remained under the hammer with majority of the analysts, commentators with former and current players backing the ICC to cut the number of participants from the future editions of the mega event.
The debate was fuelled by the poor performances of Zimbabwe, Kenya and Canada. But the fight shown by Ireland and Netherlands gave the ICC food for thought.
England in double shock
Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien (113) played one of the best knocks ever witnessed, as he scored the fastest-century in World Cup history to guide his side to a shocking win over the mighty English.
The world was left stunned to see one of the strongest contenders to lift the World Cup go down to a team like Ireland in such manner.
O’Brien flayed the English bowlers, as he reached triple-figure mark in just 50 balls, spanking them to all corners of the park striking half a dozen sixes and 13 fours.
Set a target of 327, Ireland chased down the target with five balls to spare and two wickets in hand to register the highest successful run-chase in the tournamentís history.
England received another shock defeat, this time at the hands of co-hosts Bangladesh, after looking down and out of the contest. Mahmudullah and Shafi-ul-Islam shared a 58-run stand for ninth-wicket association to help Bangladesh snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Rawalpindi Express ends his flight
The world’s fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar decided to quit international cricket midway through the tournament drawing criticism from the experts, who believed that the timing of was inappropriate.
The recurring injuries and the infighting brought down curtain on a more glamorous rather than a glorious career.
Akhtar, one of the best bowlers ever to have played the game will always be remembered for his leopard like run-up, which remained an intimidating sight for even the very best batsmen in the business as the speed-sensation went onto floor some of the very best including Brian Lara, Gary Kirsten and Matthew Hayden.
Shoaib Akhtar is undoubtedly one of those players, who are considered as the beauty of the game and with his demise coming close, cricket is likely to lose its shine.
UDRS Saga rolls on
The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), often called DRS, is just making the picture vaguer for the players to understand its complicated rules and to cope up with flaws that the technology posses.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been a staunch critic of the technology and rightly says that it needs to be overhaul so that the loopholes can be rectified.
New Zealand’s Ross Taylor and Ireland’s William Porterfield has also voiced their dissatisfaction over the technology. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram also admitted that UDRS was complicated.
Meanwhile, Shahid Afridi said that the technology is positive and will only help making the game better.
The ICC did not brief teams about the 2.5 metre rule from a batsman point of view, which says that if a batsman is pushing forward and the ball has hit his pad 2.5 metres before the wicket, then the player will be given as not out.
Question marks still linger about the technology.
There were always concerns over the security measures given the fanatic nature of the fans of India and Bangladesh.
Those concerns became reality on several occasions as chaos was seen during the selling of tickets in India on two occasions, which left many people injured highlighting mismanagement on the part of organisers.
Meanwhile, West Indies team bus was attacked by furious Bangladeshi fans after their side lost badly after being all out for a paltry 58.
The security lapse was a serious cause of concern for Windies players but yet ICC downplayed the incident much to the annoyance of the victims, who blasted the cricket’s governing body later.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (144) and Upul Tharanga (133), notched up the first double-century opening partnership in World Cup history against Zimbabwe, setting a record of 282-run stand, which will be very to hard to be toppled down in the years to come.
Their centuries laid a solid platform for Sri Lanka’s victory, which eventually helped their side to qualify for last-eight.
The batsman fell just 38 balls short to bat through the innings, a record never achieved in ODIs history.?
Warne or Paul?
Australian Legend Shane Warne came under intense criticism after he correctly predicted a tie between England and India.
He was thinking of emulating ‘Paul the octopus’ and he just did just that.
It raised eyebrows; drawing controversy on his part as many experts and board officials claimed that Warne was involved with ‘fixing’ mafia and that he should be questioned about that.