Live chat: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 1st Semi-Final, Jamaica

So, after weeks of play, we’ve finally made it to the first semi-final back where Pakistan exited the competition in such spectacular fashion. We can only hope, after such a long wait, that both this match and that at the Beausejour Stadium tomorrow, offer good, tight contests.

But whatever happens, you can watch the scorecard and commentary at Cricinfo, and chat about it here.

Wherefore art thou, Pakistan?

In the last couple of days we’ve travelled west to Grenada, where we watched a second one-sided match in as many days. Indeed, we made it to the lovely ground here with Ireland languishing on 60 odd for 9. About an hour and ten overs later it was all over, with Mahela Jayawardene playing some memorable shots.

While the Irish have done themselves proud in this tournament, it was a shame for the organizers here that the match was never likely to be a contest. What a difference it would have made if the Pakistanis had got their act together so many weeks ago. At lunchtime, when the match had long finished, there was a heart rending scene as local boys and girls performed a well choreographed dance to highlight AIDS awareness to empty stands. It should have been appreciated by thousands of fans waiting for a tense run chase between fierce rivals. The Grenadians had done all they could to stage a party, but the guests of honour hadn’t shown.

Talking of no-shows, I couldn’t have been more wrong about England. Strauss didn’t get his ton, the Boks didn’t choke and we hardly raised a whimper in the whole tournament. Again, what should have been a marvellous sporting occasion was a total anti-climax. The Baijans, likewise, could not have done more. A friend on the boat Richard Butler was beside himself with frustration. “What is most galling,” he said, “is that England have not played any attacking cricket. They have died wondering.” To see AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya giving it a lash has shown what can be done.

With luck, tomorrow’s game will be 100 overs long! No predictions this time. Just a full game will do me fine.

Ian Valentine is a freelance journalist blogging his diary of the World Cup for The Corridor

Sri Lanka vs Australia, Super Eights, Grenada

Sri Lanka have a great chance to knock off the Australians because the Grenada pitch suits their game down to the ground. If they do that, the three semi-finallists so far will all have 10 points, and it will all come down to the England vs South Africa game. I don’t think anyone wants to face Australia in the semi-finals somehow.

Malinga is out for Sri Lanka and Watson is still missing for Australia.


New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Grenada

This could be the match of the tournament so far, at least in terms of form, although Australia vs South Africa was right up there as well. That old war-horse Chaminda Vaas has a couple of wickets already and in the 6th over, New Zealand are 4 for 2.


Oh dear. They’re now four down…

Live: England v Sri Lanka, Super Eights

I will hunt down my nearest hat shop and munch my way through it if England beat Sri Lanka today. Call me a cynic, but let’s be brutally honest: they are underprepared, they don’t know their best side and they’re facing a revitalised Sri Lanka playing with the same unbridled aggression and joy which earned them the Cup a decade ago.

Regardless of who wins, let’s hope it is at least a contest and that there will be some good individual performances from both sides.

Here’s the scorecard. Leave your erudite observations and rants in the comments.

Video highlights of Sri Lanka v South Africa

Video highlights of Malinga’s four-in-four and the most exciting match of this year’s World Cup to date. Eat that, ICC.

Click here if you can’t see it above.

Choking Boks battle past Slinger Malinga

Oh the Boks have done it again! 206 for 5 chasing 210…they’re currently 208 for 9! Malinga took four in four balls (spread over two overs) oh, bugger, South Africa have edged it. Robin Peterson has whalloped Malinga for four to win by a single wicket. What remarkable bottling boks they are. Battling boks, I suppose I should say…

Can’t remember who was on comms at the time, but they did a fine job at CI

48.2 Malinga to Peterson, FOUR, Peterson does it for SA with a edge past the slip. Fullish, outside off stump, Peterson drives, gets a outside edge and it runs down to third man boundary. SA have won. They choked at the end but have pulled it off. Peterson jumps in the air, pumps his fist and then smashes the stumps down at the other end. Immediately apologises!

Worth reading the commentary for the last five wickets. What a match.

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”.

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?

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh; Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

Interesting games today- the winner of Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka will secure qualification. Even if Bangladesh lose today they are still well placed to go through. Meanwhile Zimbabwe will be their usual selves, but it is anyone’s guess as to what version of Pakistan will turn up today.