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Monday, April 4, 2011

Top five World Cup moments

Top five World Cup moments
Here are a few unforgettable moments from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 that have left an indelible mark and will be talked about for a long time.
By Abhishek Dinman
Ireland tame roaring England

It was an achievement of mammoth proportions, an emotional odyssey for a team which consists of a mix of professionals and amateurs.

Considered to be the biggest upset in a World Cup so far, Ireland’s win over England in the League stage has already been etched in the annals of cricketing history.

Interestingly, there were a few driving factors to this feat: The Irish were peeved at ICC’s decision to dissociate the smaller nations from the 2015 World Cup. They were angry because their hard work over the years meant nothing to the governing body. They wanted to prove that they were worthy of their place amongst the best. They were angry and England came in their way. Secondly, they craved for their old enemy’s scalp. In short, Ireland were desperate to win.

At 111 for five in chase of 327, all seemed lost. The feel of an impending win was palpable in England’s dressing room. However, certain Kevin O’Brien had other ideas.

In an unbelievable assault, O’Brien smashed 113 off just 63 deliveries as the Irish won with an over to spare.

Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan come together

In a gesture that might go on to thaw the icy tension between the two countries, the Indian Prime Minister played host to his Pakistani counter-part for the semi-final game between India and Pakistan in Mohali.

It was a bold move. Tension between the neighbours has been high ever since the Mumbai shootout in 2008. Political exchanges to solve their differences yielded no result and continue to be a matter of grave concern for the two nations.
Under such circumstance, India were drawn to play Pakistan in the semis. The mercury was rising and all sorts of problems were anticipated. Flags on faces were described as war paint.

However, despite all apprehensions, the semi-final lived up to its billing. In fact, it was an occasion that was testimony to the fact that cricket could be the bridge powerful enough to bring the two nations closer.

The PMs were seen sitting comfortably next to each other in their private box and the whole world witnessed a truly historic moment. They shook hands and there was no palpable tension. Fans from the across the border were seen mingling with their Indian counterparts. There were no reports of any kind of violent outbursts or arrests.
India-England tie
It was a match that will go down in the history books as one of the most thrilling one-day encounters. There were so many fluctuations in the game that until the last over was bowled and the run that tied the score was completed, no one could tell which way the match would go.

India had scored 338 and England were hardly given any chance to chase it down. However, what they did manage to achieve was no less great an achievement.
The fans did not know whether to celebrate a near-win or curse their team which lacked in bowling. It was a match that went on to prove that the 50-ver game is alive and kicking!

It was that kind of a game which prompted a whole gamut of emotions, an unforgettable contest which will be talked about in the pubs of England and on the streets and homes in India for a very long time.

Ponting's World Cup swansong

Australia have produced many fighting cricketers over the years. From Alan Border to Mark Taylor to Steve Waugh to Ricky Ponting. But perhaps, no one faced as much pressure as Ponting did in his last lap as one of the best batsman of all time.

Until he cracked that telling hundred against India in the quarterfinals, Ponting had faced tremendous flak for his leadership skills and poor run of form. Australia were no longer the force that had dominated world cricket for more than a decade, and Ponting was being held responsible for the slide. No one paid heed to the fact that a captain is only as good as his team and asked for his blood.

It was under such unimaginable pressure that Ponting delivered, leading from the front in a game that India won, though. He could not have done anything more.

The pugilistic Punter has always fought back hard and this time was no different. He dug deep and produced an innings to shut up all critics, reinforced his greatness and confirmed that he is not done yet.
Lasith Malinga's hat-trick vs Kenya

Bowlers rarely get their fair share of attention but Sri Lanka's fastest bowler ever, Lasith Malinga, knows how to grab the headlines. There have been quite a few noticeable performances with the ball in this tournament, but none more exciting and inspiring than the one Malinga produced against a hapless Kenya side.

He rocked the African nation with a hat-trick that reinforced his status as one of the deadliest in the business. Admittedly, the opposition was not up to the standard but those three deliveries would have tested even the best in the business.

In-swinging yorkers bowled at toe-crushing speed while maintaining line and length is a difficult art to learn and Malinga is a master at delivering such balls.

With a ready smile and penchant for flashy hairstyles, "Slinga" is one of the most entertaining and devastating bowlers of the modern era.
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