June 2010

India vs. Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, 2010

India and Sri Lanka are undoubtedly tired of facing each other by now, but to be fair, their locking horns in the Asia Cup was unavoidable, and their facing each other twice - once in this dead rubber, and once in the final - was ironic. Familiarity bred no contempt, though, at least not for the first innings, which was a back and forth tussle before Ferveez Maharoof became the third Sri Lankan to take a ODI hat-trick, breaking the Indian lower-middle order and setting up an easy win for the hosts.

The USA Team Did Well

Winners and losers are determined by expectations. The USA team did better than expected. It finished a two hour game, thirty minutes of overtime, with one scored goal to Ghana's two. The team was in the game to the last seconds, trying a come from behind to tie and to win. The USA team did well. It raised the awareness of soccer in the US. It gave its fans moments of good world football. The USA team won and deserves the respect of world football fans. Well done, USA team.

Wild World Cup

The defending champions and the runner-ups in the last World Cup have both been booted out of the games in the first round, because of poor performance. In France's case the players hated the coach, and frankly, the coach is an ass. The players just seemed to have had no enthusiasm or will to play for him. In Italy's case the players were just too old -- so says the coach. The players liked him and played their best -- but youth, in a game of physical strength and endurance, generally has the advantage.

USA Wins Its Group

With enthusiastic US fans in the stands, including former President Bill Clinton, and, as the Associate Press described it, "a pro-American, vuvuzela-blowing crowd," the USA team won a victory over the Algerian team, 1-0,. which meant that the US team moved to the second round of play at the World Cup. The hero of the game was Landon Donovan, who scored in the first minute of stoppage time off a rebound. The USA team finished with the best record in its group. England, which won its match today with Slovenia came in second. Both teams had one win, no loses and two ties. The USA team scored four goals to England's two. Both teams advanced to the next round. USA fans are hopeful. This is the first time since the 1930 that the USA team won a group.

As USA team captain Landon Donovan said , "We're not done yet. We believe, man. We're alive, baby."

Yeah! Go USA! Go, baby! Win!

USA Eying A Win

Today, the USA soccer team faces Algeria in the World Cup. The US is favorite to win and to advance. Algeria hasn't yet scored a goal this World Cup. But the USA team can not take Algeria for granted. Stranger things have happened in these World Cup games. First of all, a goal and a game was stolen from the US team by the dumb call of a referee. I heard that he has since been suspended. Major teams, powerhouses in past World Cup games are either under performing or performing poorly. France has been eliminated and England, Germany, Spain and Italy, the defending champion, are in danger of being booted out. If the USA team wins, the US advances to the next round. A tie may put us into the next round, if England, which has not been performing well, does well against her opponent, Slovenia. What the US needs is a win, not a tie. The USA team should win.

Go USA. Win!

French Team Ends Strike Against Itself

They were crying in France, and screaming, and shouting, hurling insults, threats and pleas at their national football team. Proud France was/is in danger of being booted out of the World Cup competition. Not since the 25th of October 1415 at Agincourt has France faced the possibility of such -- "Shame, and eternal shame, nothing but shame."

The President of the Republic of France has spoken for all the French, when he warned the team that this fiasco is "unacceptable." French newspaper Le Parisien condemned the team and its coach for tarnishing French soccer in the eyes of the world and referring to the team's mutiny, refusal to train and practice, and its performance on the field as "the Waterloo" of French soccer.

Pakistan vs. India, Asia Cup

Subcontinental arch-rivals India and Pakistan added another fascinating encounter to their long cricket history, as their encounter in the 2010 Asia Cup went down to the wire. In the end, it was India who held their nerve and triumphed, securing a place in the finals against Sri Lanka. Pakistan were left to rue basic fielding mistakes which undid all their hard work with the bat and ball and cost them the match.

Bangladesh vs. Sri Lanka, Asia Cup

After meekly surrendering to India, Bangladesh were looking to rebound strongly against the 2010 Asia Cup hosts Sri Lanka. Easier said than done, though, as this was a Sri Lankan team coming off a high after holding their nerve against a rampant Shahid Afridi in the game against Pakistan. As it turned out, Sri Lanka's good form continued, and Bangladesh were left to rue not learning any lessons from their defeat to India.

France Kicking Self

At the World Cup, France is on the verge of elimination. The French disaster, called its national team, is ssuffering from self-inflicted wounds. France is kicking herself in the pants! She is win-less because she is booting herself in the behind. She is on her way out the door -- Why? The team has issues. The team doesn't like the coach. The coach sent home star striker Nicolas Anelka for the crime criticizing the coach and for being disrespectful. Now, the team won't play for the coach, won't train, won't practice. France, which was considered to have a good team and a good chance of talking home the championship, is looking pretty foolish. What is the solution? Easy -- fire the coach. Kick his ass back to Paris. Why? If a leader loses the respect of the troops, it is time to change the leader.

Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan, Asia Cup

With all the excitement of a football World Cup, cricket did itself proud on Tuesday, as the first game of the 2010 Asia Cup turned out to be a gripping back and forth encounter between hosts Sri Lanka and Pakistan. A masterclass from Shahid Afridi, scoring his fifth one-day international hundred, almost took Pakistan home, before some brilliant cricket from Sri Lanka wrestled the game back and gave them victory by the thin margin of 16 runs.

Robbed At The World Cup

When it comes to the World Cup don't expect any objectivity what so ever, because you aren't going to get any, from me. I am for the USA.

In today's, Friday, match, the USA team rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit on goals by Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley to tie Slovenia 2-2. A tie? We needed a victory to make sure we can advance to the next round. We needed a win and we scored a late goal, and then what? We were robbed at the World Cup! The goal was disallowed by a "no good call " by some "referee" whose name I won't mention. His bad call forced the USA team to settle for 2-2 tie with Slovenia. Slovenia! There are only two million people in Slovenia! Two million and one. I suspect they will be granting citizenship to that referee with his "no good" call.

The Death of Cricket

Cricket has been eulogized since time immemorial. As one of the oldest established sports, it holds a hallowed, reverential place in the minds of billions of people across the globe. But this adulation is a jealous mistress; whatever bright idea seeks to improve on the game is immediately pounced on and devoured, like a hapless wildebeest that approaches a bask of crocodiles with a petition for peaceful coexistence. The verdict of this court of opinion is always the same: it's the death of cricket. 

2010 Asia Cup Preview, Part 1

The 2010 Asia Cup is the first major international cricket tournament after the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean, and for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and hosts Sri Lanka, serves as a dress rehearsal/testing ground for the 2011 World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Focus now shifts to 50-over cricket and working on the lessons learned from the Micromax Cup in Zimbabwe.

Victory In A Tie

U.S. and England Tie, 1-1, in World Cup Opener. The United States team pulled off an upset draw. England, with its team stacked with English Premier League players, and our team looking like a bunch of gifted amateurs, was so overconfident going into the match that they didn't even think the US team would be a good warm-up for serious competition. In England, peeved at America's well founded anger at British Petroleum, and over the President vocalizing his frustration, by wondering who at British Petroleum ass could he kick, several British commentators mentioned that in the World Cup opening match, it would be America getting her ass kicked. Well, it wasn't our ass that left the field dragging.

Micromax Cup Review, Part 2

Desperate for games, let alone victories, Zimbabwe would have been hoping for a decent performance when they hosted India and Sri Lanka in the 2010 Micromax Cup. But after playing good cricket in the Caribbean, the slow improvements in their coaching, management and domestic circles paid off, and how - for the first time in a decade, Zimbabwe qualified for their first multi-nation tournament final.

Micromax Cup Review, Part 1

After the Indian Premier League, the Twenty20 World Cup, the Asia Cup, even the two-game Pearls Cup in Florida, and before the Asia Cup, the 2010 Micromax Cup shouldn't have warranted much attention, but thanks to some surprising performances and even more surprising results, it did. While the end result of the tournament - a nine-wicket win by Sri Lanka - may not raise too many eyebrows, the bigger story was the significant improvement in Zimbabwe's cricket, how they played it and how positive they were about it. It's harsh to say, but the only real losers in this tournament were India, with two wins out of four games and none of their youngsters making a mark.