Bermuda vs Bangladesh, World Cup, Trinidad

The World Cup group phase winds up today with this game. It’s become more important then first thought, but I’m still slightly surprised that the fixtures worked out with what was expected to be a minnows’ game to finish.

(Will: for those not in the know, if Bermuda win, India go through to the Super Eights!). Keep an eye on the scorecard, leave a comment or two and enjoy.

Sport’s glorious futility

No, there is little to be gained by cancelling. Indeed, surely the whole point of sport is to act as a necessary counterpoint to the grim realities of life. We know that death is a part of life because we see it, in one form or another, every day. Like drugs and alcohol, sport provides an escape from the routine absurdity of everyday existence – and thankfully without any of the side effects.

It gives us the chance to experience the best that life has to offer, usually without serious consequences. We win, we lose, and then we go home and get on with life.

We submit to sport’s arcane rules and regulations and rituals. We recognise that we will need to show courage and skill, and we train hard for the event knowing that we are undertaking an ultimately futile task. It is this futility that explains sport’s universal appeal, that and the desire to satisfy a basic human urge to play.

Sport loses its appeal when it is invested with fake importance. This is why English football engenders scant respect: the managers who snarl and spit at players and officials from the sidelines; the players who confuse competitiveness with sometimes vicious intent; and the supporters who cannot cope with the fact that in sport there must nearly always be a loser.

They have all clearly forgotten that Bill Shankly had his tongue firmly planted in his Scottish cheek when he said that football was more important than life or death.

Sport is not more important. And it won’t help to bring Woolmer back, but it might help us to cope.

One of the most insightful, and certainly the most reasoned and balanced article that I’ve read so far on the Woolmer murder and why cricket must go on. But it also re-enforces the often forgotten notion that cricket is a game. Predictably, it’s by Atherton, and it’s a superb read.

Australia v South Africa, World Cup, St Kitts

A big game, this. Both are through to the Super Eights, but the winner takes forward two crucial points. And this is what Ponting reckons

“For us, this is as big a game as a semi-final or a final. The No.1 and No. 2-ranked teams going head-to-head in the World Cup. It doesn’t get much bigger. We’re very excited and we’ve been training very positively this week. Having the five or six days off between games has been a good thing for us. It’s allowed us to freshen up and work on our skills, and there’ll be no excuses on Sunday.”

Check the scorecard, leave a comment and generally make a nuisance of yourselves.

England v Kenya, World Cup, Gros Islet

Okay, Andrew Flintoff, here’s your chance. Apparently he’s been stepping up the gas in the nets – and also bowling quite fast – so today’s match against Kenya represents an ideal opportunity for him to single handedly boost England’s fledgling confidence. Kenya aren’t at their best and ought to be swept aside…well, quite. Leave your comments below, and keep an eye on the scorecard.

World Cup videos banned from YouTube

The ICC have ordered YouTube, the video sharing website owned by Google, to remove all footage of the World Cup. ICC Development and Global Cricket Corporation are claiming copyright infringement, although just what constitutes an infringement isn’t clear.

Presumably, no one can film their own clips at the grounds and share them with friends and family, which is a fair sad state of affairs. Also, has there ever been a more sinister sounding organisation than Global Cricket Corporation?

Bermuda gain a billion fans

Poor India. Poor, poor old India. As me Martin and Jenny covered West Indies’ comprehensive thrashing of Ireland, we had one eye (sometimes both) on India’s key encounter with Sri Lanka.

Now then. However much we try to remain unbiased, neutral and balanced cricket journalists, everyone has a favourite team or enjoys seeing one side struggle. India is one such team. Maybe it’s an unspoken competitiveness we have at Cricinfo between the London office and our guys in Bangalore, but there was no shortage of whooping when India were, well, whooped. Commiserations to Vasu, Sriram, George, Rajesh and co. out there, whose livers will be receiving a severe workout right now.

All is not lost, however. India simply need Bermuda to thrash Bangladesh. Unfortunately, that’s about as likely as Ricky Ponting never again uttering “aw, look” at a press conference. The best line came from Ryan at CaribbeanCricket who, moments after Sri Lanka won, said “Bermuda gain a billion fans”.

Sunblock? Rumblock

Last week I wrote about the Trinidadians’ clever use of a zip-lock bag to sneak in contraband (contrabanned, more like), which the authorities in the Caribbean prohibit. That was clever, but not nearly as ingenious as the use of a bottle of sunblock!

I love the expression on that bloke’s face, behind, raising his glass of rum. Well done, Trinis! (thanks Ryan)

India vs Sri Lanka, West Indies vs Ireland

India go out of the 2007 World Cup if they don’t win tonight’s fixture against Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the Super 8′s start early, with West Indies and Ireland having already qualified in their group; the winner gets a flying start in the main section of the tournament.

I’ll be blunt though and say that my enthusiasm for the 2007 World Cup has been diminished by the tragic murder of Bob Woolmer. It was bad enough when I heard that the house of Mahendra Singh Dhoni had been burnt down by demented Indian fans, and it was made much worse when I heard that Woolmer had died. But murder? The Aussie Rules season starts next weekend, and I’ll probably pay attention to that more then the cricket. Footy players get pretty badly bruised from time to time, but they don’t get murdered for their efforts.

How about you? Is cynicism overwhelming your enjoyment of the cricket?

Bob Woolmer was murdered

Bob Woolmer was murdered last Sunday and died of asphyxia by manual strangulation, Jamaica police have confirmed.

A crushing revelation. The death was shocking enough – but murder? Full coverage of this dreadful news at Cricinfo.

Can v NZ; Neth v Scot, World Cup

Canada take on New Zealand and Netherlands face Scotland in today’s games. I was depressed and alarmed at Zimbabwe’s listless, pathetic performance yesterday. They were shockingly poor. But as my boss noted, it’s not the players’ who are to blame. They’re just too young, too inexperienced. Nevertheless, they should not be in this tournament – morally or otherwise. Anyway, keep your eye on the scorecards below and leave your thoughts, like the winners you all are.

Canada v New Zealand scorecard
Netherlands v Scotland scorecard