In a tournament filled with the frustrations of a viewer unable to will his opinions on the cricketers playing in the tournament through his TV, this match brought to a head all of these in a whirlwind of incompetence and fury that makes one ponder the intelligence (or lack thereof) in international cricket. The result and records broken are well known. Chris Gayle scored the first double century in a World Cup. His partnership of 372 with Marlon Samuels is the highest ever in one day cricket. The West Indies won comfortably despite Zimbabwe making 289 with overs to spare.
So why am I so aggravated? Allow me to place it in front of you in note form:
- Chris Gayle "up the guts". The world's most overrated batsman Dwayne Smith has been removed second ball. On the fourth ball, Gayle is hit on the pads in front of the stumps. I swear everyone watching around the world immediately said "out - plumb". Steve Davis said no. Zimbabwe refer, and it's green lights all the way, except for hitting the stumps, it is called "Umpire's Call". Gayle stays, and Zimbabwe lose their only review with 49.2 overs remaining. Proponents for this law say it is justified, because the review should only be used for a "howler". Well, this was howler in my eyes, and Zimbabwe was punished for it. Davis just didn't fancy the Windies being 2/0. Piss poor. Of course, after the event, "commentators" are saying imagine what the fans would have missed out on if it had been given out? What crap. With the bowling that followed (see below) they still would have seen as many runs. It probably just would have been Sammy or Simmons or Russell who scored a double century.
- Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels struggle to middle the ball. The first 25 overs for both batsmen was painful. Neither looked likely to score runs, and were hit on the pads more than they hit the middle of the bat. Okay, they did well to work their way through this period with their wicket intact, but fortune was on their side a number of times, with balls falling safely into gaps, or inside edges passing the stumps. Do not discount the part luck played in both their innings. Gayle described his innings as his finest. I think he has selective memory.
- Poor Zimbabwe fielding and lack of penetration. Honestly, it was schoolboy stuff at times. Apart from that first over, the only time Zimbabwe looked like getting a wicket was if the batsman offered them a chance, not through good bowling. Obviously there is no way to solve that in the short term, but it is a key for the teams to play Zimbabwe. In essence, if you get through the first six overs, you shouldn't lose another wicket.
- Disgraceful bowling again in last 15 overs. To this end, I would like to quote myself from a post on social media this evening - "In a World Cup where the ineptitude of bowling and fielding in the final 10-15 overs of an innings has reached incalculable levels, where the lack of bowling and fielding plans has been criminal, where the inability of any bowler to figure out that six yorkers with the correct field will inevitably concede a maximum of six runs in an over, this performance by Zimbabwe (notwithstanding any level of moisture that may be used as an excuse) is without a doubt the worst performance of such I have seen so far. A disgrace to cricket". Enough said.
- Commentators. We are plumbing new depths when it comes to commentary at some of these games, and tonight's was by far the worst so far. Okay, I felt for Ian Bishop, whose team has been downtrodden recently, so his enthusiasm for the carnage is justified. But there were some terrible, uninformed comments that were just sound bites for pop culture. "The West Indies are right back in this tournament", "Chris Gayle is in rich form", "The West Indies are the dark horses for the World Cup" - I mean, infantile stuff from guys like Mervyn Pringle and Shane Warne and Pommie Mbangwa in particular. They were massacring Zimbabwe for goodness sakes, not South Africa. Apart from winning and gaining two points for the match, they are no closer to being a chance of winning the World Cup than the Kiama Cavaliers are. And then there was the shemozzle Shane Warne made of the LBW shout in Zimbabwe's innings. As soon as the West Indies reviewed, he pretty much called it the worst review of all time. Having claimed it definitely hit the bat, he continued to insist there was an edge even when slow motion replays and snicko insisted there wasn't. Then he insisted that the ball was definitely going to be going over the top of the stumps, when it was shown it was hitting about two-thirds of the way up. It was ludicrous commentary, and it made Warne look like an idiot. There's no problem with airing an opinion, but at least follow the game as it is progressing. We then had to keep hearing about this dismissal compared with the non-dismissal of Gayle, for the next couple of overs. Get over it, and get on with it!! There are no Richie Benaud's out there at the moment, and more's the pity.
- The second innings. It has faded into insignificance given what occurred in the first, but Zimbabwe managed to score 289 off 44.3 overs at 6.5 runs an over. They never appeared likely to win the match, but surely the fact that they appeared to do this so easily had to be a concern to any West Indies supporter or player. Their bowling was almost in the same bracket as Zimbabwe. Oh, the ball was wet? This contributed to the poor bowling? If you want to fool yourself like that, go ahead.
Anyway, moving on...
The West Indies back up quickly, taking on a bruised and revenge-seeking South Africa on Friday at the S.C.G which will give a much better indication of their chances of progressing in this World Cup. Zimbabwe play Pakistan in Brisbane on Sunday, in a game likely to eliminate the loser from the competition.