The warm up games before the main fixtures at the World Cup got underway with a couple of predictable results along with a shocking outcome.
Australia defeated Zimbabwe by 106 runs. They set a target of 291 to Zimbabwe with Michael Clarke scoring a brisk 82 from 81 deliveries and Shane Watson also making a useful contribution of 81 from 89 balls. The disturbing element was the three quick wickets of important batsmen Ponting, Hussey and Hodge for paltry scores that could have caused some concern to the coach.
The Zimbabwe then made the Aussies grind in the slow and placid conditions as the Aussies used 8 bowlers but still could not get the Zimbabwe team out!
A psychological victory for the Zimbabwe team which has a bunch of inexperienced players as compared to the Aussies!
In another match, Bangladesh stunned the Kiwis by beating them by two wickets. New Zealand set a target of 227 to chase which the Bangladesh team achieved with two wickets, thanks to two sixes by Mortaza off Franklin in the penultimate over! The defeat is a wake up call for the Kiwis who as I mentioned before can not only surprise the opposition but also themselves with some mercurial performances!
India beat Holland in another warm up game by 182 runs as the Dutch crumbled for 118 chasing India’s mammoth total of 300. For the fans though there was’nt much to cheer as its top order failed to sizzle. Sehwag reached double figures but failed to convert the start and frittered away an opportunity to get some match practice! Sourav ‘Dada’ looks out of sorts and also without match practice as he made an excruciating 19 before falling prey to some tight bowling. Even Uthappa failed to carry the start he got and was out in the mid twenties.
It was then the same old story of rebuilding with Tendulkar and Dravid doing a yeoman’s job with a solid partnership. Little fireworks in the end and India ended with 300 on the board. At one point though it looked that the team would cross the 300 mark with ease but some tight medium bowling and the slow nature of the track restricted the Indians scoring rate.
Noteworthy is the fact the despite the absence of a fast bowler in the side, the Dutch team was successful in pinning the Indian batsmen who seemed to be bogged like a ship anchored in the a harbor!
The warm up matches have provided a certain wake up call for the teams and the fast learners would make the most from these matches.