World Cup 2011 March 30, 2011

The most important event in the history of the planet?

Well, this is all very exciting
39

Well, this is all very exciting. History will ultimately be the judge of whether today’s game is indeed the most important event in the six-billion-year history of Planet Earth, but, going by the press coverage alone, it has to be a contender. Ravichandran Ashwin against Mohammad Hafeez – it’s like Napoleon versus the Duke of Wellington all over again.

The heavens opened spectacularly in Mohali last night, the fearsome opening pair of Thunder and Lightning ably supported by first-change bowler Torrential Rain, but thankfully The Weather has now been ushered well away from the PCA after the ICC rescinded its press accreditation due to alleged violation of contractual agreements.

Many have said that this game will be decided as much, or more, by which team can control their emotions than by cricketing skill. As we saw in Colombo yesterday, 30,000 decibel-shatteringly passionate supporters can turn into a 30,000-person nervous gulp. When Sri Lanka momentarily appeared to be tanking a guaranteed winning position, and the normally granite-stomached Sangakkara, after an innings of supreme cool and craft, inexplicably sent a precision bloop directly into the hands of third man, I had not seen so many anxious faces since Gordon Brown threatened to belly dance at the 2008 Labour Party conference.

Will the PCA crowd today prove to be a help or a hindrance to India? Will Dhoni’s ethereal aura of calm sustain in the frenzy of the most-watched cricket match of all time? How will Pakistan’s hitherto almost impregnable spin stranglehold react if India’s powerbatting starts tucking into it? Will India’s powerbatting even be able to tuck into the tournament’s best tweak team and fast bowler? Will India’s effectively-one-man pace attack be enough on a pitch that may offer little assistance? How will Pakistan’s batting fare in the face of a big total – they crumbled like freshly stewed rhubarb at a dessert-making contest in their one sizeable chase this World Cup, against New Zealand in Pallekelle? Whose limbs will Kamran Akmal be using today?

The game might be decided by a single knife-edge blast of brilliance, a captaincy gamble that either works or backfires, a schoolboy nerves-induced pratfall. It might be won at a canter by overwhelming batting dominance, or superior bowling incision. This is a genuinely fascinating contest. And if it directly or indirectly aids the cause of political harmony (and/or celebrity public profiles) in the bargain, so much the better.

OFFICIAL ZALTZMAN MICROPREDICTION (as in yesterday’s podcast): India to win. Either by 53 runs if they bat first (306-8 v 253 all out); or by 6 wickets (247-7 v 249-4 (47.1 overs)).

EXTRAS

● Sadly from my point-of-view, although not too high on the list of great tragedies of the modern era, I will not be in the stadium for today’s megagame. The rather tetchy PCA Press Box has meant that I am insufficiently important as a ‘journalist’ to win media accreditation. Sadly, and unaccountably, the ICC do not prioritise media passes on a Most Juvenile Writers First basis. And, surprisingly, neither Indian nor Pakistani governments consider me sufficiently important either economically or diplomatically to extend me an invitation. Instead, I will try to find a big screen in Chandigarh and a large crowd of Indian fans with whom to watch the game. I will report tomorrow on the ensuing communal gargatuoparty or hypersulk, depending on the result.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RG on March 31, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    YOU WERE THERE. VIP Block, Block E, corner seat.. I was in your row!!! :) (Do you have any idea why it is called a "VIP" block?)

  • Anonymous on March 31, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    f

  • shiva on March 31, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    worst bowling side, that was hilarious. pakistan batting must be of real high class to lose 10 wickets by facing one of worst bowling sides in cricket. @ amin arif: good call buddy

  • AND on March 31, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    Andy, your writing is absolutely hilarious! How I wish you could be a commentator in place of certain empty headed big mouths we are forced to listen to! Look forward to your description of the "gargatuoparty".

    And, your prediction was remarkably close!

    On another note, all credit to Afridi for his performance both as a player and as a person. We Indians admired his grace at the finish. Let's give him and his team a cheer.

  • avinash on March 31, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    ok andy,sorry to hear this! now start predicting the winner of the final.........u have a good strike rate!

  • Sandman on March 31, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Eagerly awaiting your report on the gargatuoparty :)

  • Theena on March 31, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    Why didn't the rest of us in the Sub Continent - Sri Lanka in my case - get a chance to see your stand-up act, eh? I'd love to see you on stage, Andy.

  • Doggy on March 31, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    Thumbs up to you Zaltzman!

  • Arnob on March 31, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    @amin arif: Reality strikes Pakistan 231/10 - The worst bowling side didn't do too bad, eh (;)

  • VK on March 31, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Hi, do you still say its one of the worst bowling sides?

    No, its one of the inconsistent bowling sides like the Pakistani batting side. Please mind your words.

    Reply to: Posted by: Amin Arif at March 30, 2011 7:14 AM --------

  • RG on March 31, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    YOU WERE THERE. VIP Block, Block E, corner seat.. I was in your row!!! :) (Do you have any idea why it is called a "VIP" block?)

  • Anonymous on March 31, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    f

  • shiva on March 31, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    worst bowling side, that was hilarious. pakistan batting must be of real high class to lose 10 wickets by facing one of worst bowling sides in cricket. @ amin arif: good call buddy

  • AND on March 31, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    Andy, your writing is absolutely hilarious! How I wish you could be a commentator in place of certain empty headed big mouths we are forced to listen to! Look forward to your description of the "gargatuoparty".

    And, your prediction was remarkably close!

    On another note, all credit to Afridi for his performance both as a player and as a person. We Indians admired his grace at the finish. Let's give him and his team a cheer.

  • avinash on March 31, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    ok andy,sorry to hear this! now start predicting the winner of the final.........u have a good strike rate!

  • Sandman on March 31, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Eagerly awaiting your report on the gargatuoparty :)

  • Theena on March 31, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    Why didn't the rest of us in the Sub Continent - Sri Lanka in my case - get a chance to see your stand-up act, eh? I'd love to see you on stage, Andy.

  • Doggy on March 31, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    Thumbs up to you Zaltzman!

  • Arnob on March 31, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    @amin arif: Reality strikes Pakistan 231/10 - The worst bowling side didn't do too bad, eh (;)

  • VK on March 31, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Hi, do you still say its one of the worst bowling sides?

    No, its one of the inconsistent bowling sides like the Pakistani batting side. Please mind your words.

    Reply to: Posted by: Amin Arif at March 30, 2011 7:14 AM --------

  • avinash on March 30, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    nice prediction andy...now please say india will lift the trophy....

  • Anish on March 30, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Andy, great article as usual. Your work is very enjoyable, hilarious and mysteriously accurate for predictions. The comments above are funny to read after the match is over.

    As an Indian, I was obviously supporting the Indian cricket team, but the way Pakistan has fought through the entire cup made me an admirer of their perseverance and attitude. Especially Afridi's approach to the Indian total, the dropped chances and the hype.

    Hats off to Afridi for being a sportsman and a warrior through this tournament. I hope the Indian fans recognize this in him and the Pakistani team.

    India batted well towards the penultimate over of their innings to save the match. The bowling and fielding was the most impressive thing about the team, especially when you consider the tag that was placed on our bowling and fielding. Not conceding a boundary till the 37th over speaks for the discipline our bowling team had.

    Absolutely amazing game. Thank you both teams for giving us the match of our lives

  • Zombie on March 30, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Wel wel wel Andy, u got ur prediction ryt bt d margin ws a lil less :).And as few hav commented "worst bowling unit"....we have proved that We can bowl well n outclass any given opponent. It ws gr8 to watch Afridi n other Pakistanis 2day, gr8 spirit, humble at times with d ryt amount of aggression. And for my beloved neighbours: Ur team ws a treat to watch, nice fight, fantastic game n U hav a gr8 captain in Afridi :). Hope we meet more often. All d best to India for d finals!!!

  • BDS on March 30, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    India all the way...close prediction!!

  • Anonymous on March 30, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    @Amin Arif: I think he got it right

  • Dimash Amatya on March 30, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    The common things between the finalists: 1. Both of them secured the 2nd spot in group stage, lost a match and shared points in a match. 2. Both of them knocked out England and Australia (Ashes playing nations ) and also whom they shared points in the group stage (India beat Australia; shared point with England in the group stage and Sri Lanka beat England; shared point with Australia in the group stage). ‎3. Both of them have wicket keeper captains. 4. Both of them are South Asians. 5. Both of them are host nations.‎6. Both of them have the legendary players (Sachin: The highest run score in tests and ODIs and Murali: The highest wicket taker in tests and ODIs) and both of them will be playing their last world cup match.‎7. last but not the least, both of them are part of Ramayan.

  • Harshan on March 30, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    Great job andy, your predictions were pretty close!! Well done India!

  • Denisha on March 30, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Hilarious!! 20odd runs off the result but not a bad guess...

  • Sriram on March 30, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    Pak need 53 to win. 1 wkt remains. 1 more prediction in the bag for zaltzman!!

  • kan on March 30, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    lat time I read Andy predicted SA will win against NZ; we all know what happened to that match... again in this match India did only 260 and going to loose... lol

  • goldenbear on March 30, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    who are you and why do I care?

    i'm going to go back to watching the match / working.

  • Mazahri Abbas on March 30, 2011, 13:07 GMT

    Till now your pridiction totally went wrong, and result will also go wrong.. Pak will win Inshallah.

  • Anonymous on March 30, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    c'mon - you deserve several press tickets man - you're stuff is hilarious, insightful and refreshingly honesdt

  • Jayachandran on March 30, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    Hi Andy, I , by the powers vested on me by the Jokesters Association, extend an official invitation to you for watching the match between India & Pakistan. Be there tomorrow....

  • shafi on March 30, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    Very sad! its not fair!

  • jewelhasan on March 30, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    i think as a co-host of world cup-2011 & tremendus public pressure india is little-bit behind then pkistan.But also if they will do better perform at they thier home condition ,india can get result at thier favour,last of all i must say india is top fabourite.

  • Vignesh on March 30, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    What a shame! Sorry to hear that Andy. I hope your micro-prediction falls right.

  • ujal singh bhatia on March 30, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    This is outrageous. How can the authentic history of the most important event in the world since the cooling of the earth's crust be written without a first hand account by Andy Zaltzman.The cricket establishment should hang its head in shame and ignomony. On the other hand there's plenty of strong Punjab beer to be quaffed in Chandigarh. That should give Andy a unique insight into the twists and turns of the game. Good luck Andy.

  • AP on March 30, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Such a nice blog but sad to note the last paragraph... Unfortunately I too am not watching this match but had I been, would have invited you. Wishing your prediction to be true. India wins either by 53 runs or by 6 wickets. Either way WE should win.. THIS MATCH... THIS MATCH... World cup doesn't matter to WE Indians but THIS MATCH.... My only message to the INDIAN Team will be to play this game with only one thought that SACHIN has got all records other than that of a winning WC team. It will be a great tribute by the INDIAN Team TO MAKE IT HAPPEN... IT WILL HAPPEN.... ALL THE BEST. WE ARE ALL WITH YOU.....WE THE INDIANS. By an INDIAN CITIZEN....

  • AB on March 30, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    All the best Andy. I haven't got a friend to watch the match either, and am going to sweat it out all alone tonight here in Canada. I can't even imagine the experience to be in India or at Mohali at this very moment....or, I may just go ahead and wake my wife and force her to watch the match with me...going to get my popcorn now..

  • Nawaz Ahmed on March 30, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    I wish and pray to God that this match goes well. Whoever wins no problem. By the grace of Allah the Almighty it will be an asian team. This is excellent in many aspects. After 70 years of age and an enthusiastic fan of cricket, I will suggest both to India and Pakistan concerned authorities, please start playing with each other as a game of cricket to improve their game. I am 100% sure that if India and Pakistan start playing cricket like Ashes series, no one will dare to born in the whole world who will defeat them. Players and the people should love each other as they love cricket and should think about playing each other and improving the game of cricket and then for many many years the world cup will remain in Asia.

  • Ahsan on March 30, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Quiet an analysis from you zaltzman... would love to see your face when your prediction goes wrong....

  • Jos Cardozo on March 30, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    ZaltMAN, pretty nice and humorous article, the article is as humorous as your halfBALD head and thanks for supporting India Team and for your India win in your MicroPREDICTION. If your prediction come true, I will see that you get a change to meet me before next world cup.....Best of Luck buddy.

  • Chris on March 30, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    I propose a peacefull protest/violent march on the houses of parliament demanding David Cameron use his position to get tickets for Zaltzman. It'll take be 2 hours to get there and it is now 8.52 BST so I will have to rely on this reaching Londoners in time.

  • InKarnetion on March 30, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    I, on behalf of the Indian contingency, invite your hilarious self to watch it me...In Texas!

  • Mohammed F. Ifticardeen on March 30, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    "I had not seen so many anxious faces since Gordon Brown threatened to belly dance at the 2008 Labour Party conference." made heads turn when i laughed aloud in office after reading this piece! Zatz, you're superb, but forgive me for wondering whether you really didn't get a chance to see the game or whether as usual you're joking!

  • Rohan on March 30, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    Compare to football mouth watering matches, this is no where even to a championsleague nights.

  • Amin Arif on March 30, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    I love your articles, Andy... but your microprediction stating that Pakistan will make only 247-7 against a the one of the worst bowling sides, might be a slight miscalculation... either pakistan will bat really badly & be all out for 170... but if they play 50 overs it is not humanly possible for them to make only 247-7... I'd say we'll make about 280 or so if we bat 50 overs...

  • Pooja on March 30, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    "Whose limbs will Kamran Akmal be using today?".....hilarious :D

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  • Pooja on March 30, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    "Whose limbs will Kamran Akmal be using today?".....hilarious :D

  • Amin Arif on March 30, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    I love your articles, Andy... but your microprediction stating that Pakistan will make only 247-7 against a the one of the worst bowling sides, might be a slight miscalculation... either pakistan will bat really badly & be all out for 170... but if they play 50 overs it is not humanly possible for them to make only 247-7... I'd say we'll make about 280 or so if we bat 50 overs...

  • Rohan on March 30, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    Compare to football mouth watering matches, this is no where even to a championsleague nights.

  • Mohammed F. Ifticardeen on March 30, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    "I had not seen so many anxious faces since Gordon Brown threatened to belly dance at the 2008 Labour Party conference." made heads turn when i laughed aloud in office after reading this piece! Zatz, you're superb, but forgive me for wondering whether you really didn't get a chance to see the game or whether as usual you're joking!

  • InKarnetion on March 30, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    I, on behalf of the Indian contingency, invite your hilarious self to watch it me...In Texas!

  • Chris on March 30, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    I propose a peacefull protest/violent march on the houses of parliament demanding David Cameron use his position to get tickets for Zaltzman. It'll take be 2 hours to get there and it is now 8.52 BST so I will have to rely on this reaching Londoners in time.

  • Jos Cardozo on March 30, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    ZaltMAN, pretty nice and humorous article, the article is as humorous as your halfBALD head and thanks for supporting India Team and for your India win in your MicroPREDICTION. If your prediction come true, I will see that you get a change to meet me before next world cup.....Best of Luck buddy.

  • Ahsan on March 30, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Quiet an analysis from you zaltzman... would love to see your face when your prediction goes wrong....

  • Nawaz Ahmed on March 30, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    I wish and pray to God that this match goes well. Whoever wins no problem. By the grace of Allah the Almighty it will be an asian team. This is excellent in many aspects. After 70 years of age and an enthusiastic fan of cricket, I will suggest both to India and Pakistan concerned authorities, please start playing with each other as a game of cricket to improve their game. I am 100% sure that if India and Pakistan start playing cricket like Ashes series, no one will dare to born in the whole world who will defeat them. Players and the people should love each other as they love cricket and should think about playing each other and improving the game of cricket and then for many many years the world cup will remain in Asia.

  • AB on March 30, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    All the best Andy. I haven't got a friend to watch the match either, and am going to sweat it out all alone tonight here in Canada. I can't even imagine the experience to be in India or at Mohali at this very moment....or, I may just go ahead and wake my wife and force her to watch the match with me...going to get my popcorn now..