A poor England beat Ireland by 48 runs on Saturday. Colligwood top scored with 90 and Pieterson (48) and Flintoff (43) hit decent enough figures. The real problem for England is that despite dominating the game, they made very hard work of the victory. Sri Lanka are up next and I don’t think England can afford to be so inept at killing the game off. Unfortunately, I think this is exactly England’s major problem. They do not have bowlers who can gut teams; Pakistan, putting aside all their off-pitch problems, also suffered from this deficiency. We’ll see if deeds can match the rhetoric.
Australia confirmed their status as red-hot tournament favourites by destroying India’s conquerors Bangladesh. In a rain affected match, both teams had 22 overs to bat. Bangladesh were reduced to 104/6 in their 22, with Glenn McGrath becoming the leading wicket taker in World Cup history. McGrath’s impending retirement will be a blow, not just to Australian cricket, but to world cricket. He is an outstanding player. Australia’s batsment, meanwhile, reached the target without even losing a wicket.
Later today the Windies could be all but knocked out of the tournament if they fail to beat Sri Lanka. The Lankans are most likely to be the favourite ‘darkhorse’ and only narrowly lost to South Africa in their opening Super 8 game.