Monday, February 19, 2007

World Cup brims over with excitement

By John Cheeran
When the mighty West Indies lost the World Cup in 1983, it came as a shocker to the cricket world.
Especially when they lost to India, a team that disgraced themselves in the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 by not progressing beyond the group stage.
But the West Indies’ defeat at Lord’s was not all that surprising when you consider that India had beaten them in a group game of the 1983 World Cup itself.
And Kapil’s Devils had beaten the same side at Berbice a few months ago when India went on the traditional Test and one-day tour. England, a much stronger side than India, too defeated the Clive Lloyd’s West Indies before the 1983 World Cup.
Still, none was prepared for the stunning result in the 1983 World Cup. May be the all believed the lightning does not strike at the same place twice, India having beaten Lloyd’s men in the early stages of the World Cup.
Now are we witnessing similar scenes as the 2007 World Cup comes closer to our eyes? The world champions Australians seemed unbeatable, only a couple of weeks ago.
Their resounding Ashes series win and the dominance of the triangular series all , however, came to naught as they lost the first two matches of the final to England, a listless side throughout the tour.
Australians have not recovered from the shock reverse in the final against England. Coach John Buchanan’s efforts to resuscitate the side did not succeed as the Mike Hussey-led outfit lost the Chappell-Hadlee series to New Zealand.
Suddenly, much before the World Cup, a mutiny has taken place that has usurped the No. 1 seat from Ricky Ponting’s men.
Well, both New Zealand and England have beaten Australia more than once. But that has propelled the South Africans to the top spot in one-day ratings.
There cannot be a better buildup to 2007 World Cup. Now it looks anyone’s game.
Aussies cannot complain that they were not forewarned. Michael Vaughan and Stephen Fleming have done that job with panache.
It would be interesting to watch how the shaken and stirred Kangaroos defend the World Cup.

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