In the end, they were only blips on the radar, as the
Australians blew them away in their group matches or Super 8 encounter. The
South Africans had given a hearty chase of the Australian total in their group
game but in the semi finals found that pre conceived plans count for nothing
against the Aussies who have the enviable ability to adjust and adapt to the
situation. As soon as the Australians realised that the South Africans were
going to rush down the pitch to their new ball bowlers, he line and especially
the length, was changed to defeat that.
To see Graeme Smith the South African skipper and Jacques
Kallis swishing at thin air and missing the ball and losing their stumps showed
what a suicidal tactic it was. The game was over before the spectators had
settled down and showed that the Aussies have a counter for anything that the
opposition springs upon them. The middle overs are crucial and here the Aussies
were well served by Brad Hogg who mixed his googly very cleverly and had good
players of spin like Jayawardene searching for the turn.
Sri Lanka looked confident in the finals till Gilchrist
recaptured his form. There is no doubt that after he finishes with cricket,
Gilchrist will be a good player in golf. His bat swing is so natural that even
good deliveries are taken on the rise and hit into the stands. It is a special
ability and makes him a player to be feared, for irrespective of form, the
bowler is aware of it and is thus already unequal before he bowls to Gilly.
That’s what happened even to the experienced Vaas as he was bewildered as to
what line to bowl after Gilly took after him.
The Lankans were by far the best team in the tournament
after the Australians, for they had a well balanced side. The batting was
aggressive and in skipper Jayawardene and Sangakkara, they had batsmen who could
play according to the situation. Chamara Silva shows potential of being an
exciting batsman and Dilshan was fiercely competitive as always.
The other sides in the tournament had their moments,
especially Bangladesh and Ireland. The Bangladesh team beat India and South
Africa but then went on to lose to Ireland and showed that there is
inconsistency in their game. Ireland caught Pakistan on a dodgy wicket and held
their nerve to record their finest win. The passion with which the Irish played
was to be seen to be believed and if only other Test-playing countries showed a
fraction of that then they could raise the level of their game and be far more
Tempered aggression, unbridled passion, great determination and
unflinching self-belief were the characteristics of the Australian team. It will
be a long long time before any team comes anywhere close to the World Champion.
Till then, let’s enjoy the champions and raise a toast to them.