Sunday, April 29, 2007

A farcical end to a farcical cup

Listening to: 'You Know My Name' by Chris Cornell [You Know My Name]

Oh well, what to do. Hats off to Adam Gilchrist, he was amazing. Not that our boys were bad...our bowling wasn't exceptional, but it wasn't disastrous; our fielding was iffy at times, but decent overall...and Sanath and Sanga gave us hope, until the rain.

It wasn't our day, however...rain, losing the toss, more rain, perfect batting conditions for Australia, sudden appearance of swing for the Aussie bowlers, MORE rain...Australia took every freebie they could get. They played brilliant cricket and thoroughly deserved to win. We played exceptionally well throughout the the entire tournament, and I don't believe there's any shame in the runners' up spot.

In fact, I think if you exclude Australia from the equation, we are the best. And that's not such a bad place to be...such is the invincibility of this Aussie World Cup squad. As Rahul Bhattacharya said in his cricinfo verdict:
If the finale was bizarre and shambolic, it was also ultimately scary. If the Australians are going to keep this up there is no point lopping a week or ten days off the next World Cup. It may as well be scrapped altogether.
The game suffers when one team monopolises the stage...let this be a call to the others to make a concerted effort to out-think, outplay, and outdo the kings of cricket.

On a slightly different note...did anyone else notice that Percy Sonn failed to mention Bob Woolmer in his closing speech? Disgraceful. Heartless officials, clueless umpires, relentless weather...surely the World Cup final deserved more than this?

Oh well, what to do. Time to get back to that degree of mine, I suppose.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's just a's just a's just a...HELL NO IT'S NOT JUST A GAME!!!

Listening to: 'Starlight' by Muse [Black Holes and Revelations]

I'm so excited. I'm wondering whether I'll be able to sleep. It's Venus' birthday (happy birthday sweetie!) so we're meeting for lunch first, and then going to our usual hangout to watch. My heart rate's rising just thinking about it. I get drawn to cricinfo, see the articles and have to turn's killing me.

And to think...on Sunday, it'll all be over. I'll finally have to pay attention to my PhD. Eek!

GOOD LUCK SRI LANKA!!! We can do it. I hope.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another one bites the dust

Listening to: nothing, 'cos I should be asleep!

We're through! YAY!!! Can't be bothered to do a match analysis now, but you can read all about it here. Once again, my only complaint is that we had them at 149/9 and we let them score up to 208...what the hell?! It's almost like we felt sorry for them.

As predicted, there's been more off-pitch action since my last post. Bennet King resigned as Windies coach (bet you never knew he was the coach, huh?) and a few hours ago, Stephen Fleming resigned as New Zealand's ODI captain. At least he hasn't retired...dunno what I'd do without my eye candy fix!


So NZ have lost their 5th World Cup semifinal, and we'll face either Australia or South Africa in our 2nd final on Saturday. Put your cheering caps on people.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cricket, cricket, luverly cricket

Listening to: 'She Wants To Move' by N.E.R.D. [Fly or Die]

Oh it's all happening in this World Cup. Two of the biggest cricket powerhouses (the biggest powerhouses in terms of fan base and sponsorship) kicked out in the first round, the hosts not being able to beat any major teams in the Super 8s, the reigning champions bulldozing their way into the semis...non-stop entertainment and quality sport. And if the on-field performances weren't enough to grab your attention, the off-field happenings definitely would. Here's the list, as best as I can remember it:
  1. Indian cricketers' houses torched after their loss to Bangladesh
  2. Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer killed in his hotel room, less than a day after Pakistan's humiliating loss to Ireland
  3. Andrew Flintoff sacked as England vice-captain due to his drunken disorderly behaviour after England's loss to NZ; other players involved are fined
  4. Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq resigns as captain and retires from ODI cricket
  5. Greg Chappell resigns as India coach after India fail to qualify for Super 8 stage
  6. ICC orders YouTube to remove all World Cup clips from its video database
  7. High ticket prices result in low audience turnouts for matches
  8. Brian Lara hints at a rift between himself and West Indies selectors
  9. Lara announces his retirement from ODI cricket after the World Cup
  10. Rumours of Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody's return to Western Australia after the World Cup surface
  11. Sri Lanka are criticised for resting key bowlers in a dead-rubber match against reigning champions Australia
  12. Duncan Fletcher resigns as England coach after their loss to South Africa and subsequent failure to reach the semis
  13. Brian Lara announces that his post-World Cup retirement will be from all forms of the game, not just one-days
  14. NZ rest Bond and Oram in their trouncing by Australia, apparently due to stomach bugs and niggles
Bloody hell that list is long...and there's still one week of cricket to go.

Can we make the finals? I think so. Can we lift the cup? I hope so. We have major batting concerns...Tharanga is not in form; Sanga, despite having an excellent run with the gloves and the pen, isn't concentrating enough to stay at the crease and score some decent runs; the tail seems to crumble every time, regardless of the platform laid by the upper middle order. All that constitutes a huge worry for us against the likes of Bracken and McGrath, and Bond (although we have managed to overcome him before)...all on pitches apparently not suited to us sub-continentals. And then assuming all goes according to everyone's expectations, we'll have to bowl to Hayden, Ponting and Symonds in the final...all three of whom look like only a bolt of lightning could get them out.

Everyone loves to love Sri Lanka and hate Australia, and many are hoping for a rematch of the '96 World Cup. At the end of the day, I don't care who our opponents are, as long as we're in the final. Although thrashing the Aussies would make victory so much sweeter.

Go Lanka!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Keeping up with appearances

Listening to: 'Take Control' by Amerie [Because I Love It]

Firstly, subha aluth avuruddak wewa! Had a lovely start to the traditional new year, full of great food, great company and great weather. Shorty commented that it's been a while since I called an experience 'awesome'...yesterday was a truly awesome day.

Moving on...

Ever felt like you were part of the furniture? That people have gotten so used to you being around, that they practically take you for granted? It's not that they don't like/love/care about you...but they forget that maybe you need some attention too, sometimes. I guess it's more noticeable in a male-dominated clique, where all the other girls are extremely pretty. The more you notice the preferential treatment, paranoia takes over and makes you focus on all your insecurities, and you start to wish for all the things that friendships shouldn't be based on: nicer clothes, nicer hair, bigger boobs, more flesh, better know the drill. Yeah, low self-esteem sucks...add that to paranoia and you've got yourself a cocktail for social suicide.

Does appearance really make a difference? Would dressing differently make me feel more comfortable around my friends...or would they just think I'm weird? I was wearing a flowing skirt yesterday, and according to one of my friends, I looked very different...'reserved' was the term he used. It wasn't a conscious decision to wear a skirt...I'd heard the weather was gonna be good, and it was New Year, so I figured I'd dress nice, that's all. Most of the time I just live in my somewhat baggy (not by choice...I'm just too skinny) jeans, so I guess a tapered skirt was an anomaly.

I'm puzzled...on the one hand, I want to make an effort to look more feminine: I want to try and gain some weight, clear my skin, get some nice clothes and actually wear them on a regular basis. But on the other hand, I'm not sure if I have the willpower to maintain such a materialistic lifestyle (yes I'm a lazy bum), and assuming I did, I'm not sure if it'll have the desired effect. But wait...I'm not even sure what this desired effect is!?!?!

Ugh it annoys me that I'm so dependent on my friends' acceptance. It makes me feel weak and helpless, and those are two traits I despise. but I guess, at the end of the day, it stems from the fact that, as Janet Jackson said at the end of her Velvet Rope album, "everybody needs to feel real special".

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lovin' the Live Lounge

Listening to: 'Valerie' by The Zutons [Tired of Hanging Around]

It's Easter Monday (read: bank holiday) and I'm back from London. Laziness took over this morning and I decided to do some reading at home instead of making the 20-minute trek into the department. To make the reading less laborious, I had the radio on, and I had the pleasure of listening to Jo Whiley presenting the best of Live Lounge '07. They were all quite good, and if you've got time, you can listen to the whole thing online for the next week or so. The highlights though, were by Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae. Amy Winehouse doing a soulful cover of The Zutons' Valerie is expected, I guess...but Corinne Bailey Rae doing JT's Sexyback?!?!?! Wow.

Thankfully youtube is a treasure trove, so here are the links for Valerie and Sexyback.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Listening to: 'Take It All Away' by Ryan Cabrera [Take It All Away]

It just hit me. What am I doing? Why am I doing whatever it is that I am doing? What's the meaning of my project? Is this really an original contribution to knowledge? What am I supposed to achieve by the end of June? Will I ever get meaningful results? Hang on, will I ever get any results? Do I really deserve to be here? Am I gonna get through my first year? Are they gonna tell me to go home and wash dishes for a living? Why am I going away this weekend when I really need to work? Why am I so up for partying the night away when I really need sleep? Why do I need so much sleep? Why can't I wake up before 9am? Why can't I go to sleep before 2am? What am I doing with my life? Why can't I find the answers to any of these questions?
To succeed is nothing, it's an accident. But to feel no doubts about oneself is something very different: it is character.
Let's hope Marie Lenéru's right.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Now who said cricket was boring?

Listening to: 'Find Your Way' by Ryan Cabrera [You Stand Watching]

I can't not comment on yesterday's match. The day started off with England the underdogs by far...even the English fans had given up any hope of them putting up a fight. The journalistic previews were very pro-Sri Lanka (as in this article on cricinfo)- they seemed to have elevated the Lankan boys to dizzy heights that were, to be honest, too oxygen-deficient for my liking. My grandmother would've said the words reeked of evil mouth (kata vaha, for the Sinhala speakers amongst you)...and retrospectively, I'd be hesitant to disagree.

OK, so we lost the toss. That's luck, and as that same luck would have it, we were asked to do what we've been doing this entire tournament (slight cause for concern here - will we be able to chase effectively, if and when the need arises?) - bat first. Personally I thought we were doing OK - not brilliantly, but it definitely wasn't hopeless against some pretty decent bowling and fielding by a rejuvenated English side (maybe the arrival of the WAGs was what was in order?). And then Dilshan got run out...and in the fashion that I've sadly started to expect from our boys, the final 5 wickets fell for 20 runs. Why do we seem unable to capitalise on a good foundation and finish what the top order started?!?!?!? You'd think the tail (who can bat, mind you) would want to give themselves a decent score to bowl at.

Anyway, fast forward to the England innings. End of the 6th over, 12/2 - could it be better? Don't bet on it, said the scoreboard, with Pietersen and Bell taking England to 100/2 after 25. And then luck decided to make an appearance, and bounce Bell's bat off the ground just as the ball hit the!

Fast forward (yes, again) to the end of the 34th over - 134/6. 102 off 16 overs, with the last two recognised batsmen (both facing Sri Lanka for the first time) at the crease...someone start the party! Oh wait, captain Mahela seems to want England to regain some lost pride. Defensive tactics from "the neutral's favourite" and some less than amazing bowling from Murali the Maestro (pleeeeease let him not be injured!) resulted in Nixon and Bopara requiring 19 off 12. Not impossible, but not easy. Malinga bowls...

1, 1, 0, 1, W,...what's this...changing the ball?!?!?!

It may just be my lack of cricketing knowledge, but who on Earth can justify changing the ball in the 49th over?!?! Say bye-bye to reverse-swing Mali...sixth ball goes for 4.

By now my palms are sweaty, and my fingers are digging into the knee of the poor soul seated next to me...some of my friends are turning away from the screen, and I can hear a faint "I don't like this game anymore". The English are biting their nails too. Add that to the fact that I really needed the can imagine the tension!

...Dilhara bowling the last over, there's nothing much anyone can do (except for Mahela, who could've at least tried to put some pressure on the batsmen!?!?!) except watch 9 runs come off the first 5 balls. And then the short of a boundary required off the final ball, England's new wonderboy Bopara facing. Dilhara runs to bowl, and he...he...doesn't bowl. Nerves or tactic? Cheeky tactic, methinks...aimed at reading the batsman's intentions. Sportsmanship is questionable, but then so was the decision to change the ball in the 49th over - shit happens. Poor Bopara wasn't experienced enough to guess what Dilhara was trying to do, and got bowled on the last ball of the innings, bringing to an end, a very courageous innings by the newbie. Looks like luck had the last say afterall.

In closing? Amazing comeback by England. Sorry, amazing comeback by Nixon and Bopara. While in my humble opinion, England will not give Australia a run for their money on Sunday...neither will we on the 16th, if we continue with this despicable defensive gameplan. We have a must-win game against New Zealand on the 12th, and I'm not looking forward to it. Attack, Mahela...attack! We're good enough. Bloody hell we're good enough to get to the final, if only our boys can maintain some momentum throughout 50 overs! Bottom order collapses while batting, Middle over snoozes while fielding...this isn't the stuff champions are made of!?!?!?! C'MON BOYS!!! We can do better. We want to hear the lions roar, not purr.

Amid all this confusion, the English media has given up on Andrew "Fredalo" Flintoff and Kevin "I came to England 'cos I have no chance of getting into the South African side" Pietersen and decided to big up Ravi "Essex boy" Bopara. The boy's played 5 matches in his career so far...maybe wait a little before you call him the next big thing?

P.S.- Apologies for the in-depth match report. I still haven't fully recovered...hopefully this post will help me sleep well tonight.