ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Australia v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad

Confusion with team sheets and some stubborn bails

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the World Cup, Group A match between Australia and Zimbabwe at Motera

Brydon Coverdale at Motera

February 21, 2011

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Brad Haddin survived though the ball rolled on to the stumps when he was on 16, Australia v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad, February 21, 2011
Brad Haddin breathed a sigh of relief as the bails stayed on © AFP
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Confusion of the day
The television coverage created some drama before a ball had been bowled, with the commentators discussing Australia's decision to leave Shaun Tait out of the team. There was only one problem: Tait was playing. It even sparked confusion in the Australian dressing-room, as the official team sheet was checked to ensure there wasn't a mistake. They breathed a sigh of relief when they saw Tait's name listed, and after several minutes of uncertainty the TV coverage rectified its team lists. The Zimbabwe side was also wrong - Greg Lamb's name was on the screen in the starting XI, but he was ill and was not part of the team.

Quick learners of the day
Zimbabwe had never before played in a match where the UDRS was being used, and the fourth official Simon Taufel spoke to the players in the lead-up to the game, to explain the finer details of how it works. There were reportedly some baffled looks around the playing group, and the only questions asked came from the always outgoing Ray Price. But when it came to the crunch, their captain Elton Chigumbura employed the system perfectly in the field, winning two overturned decisions from two attempts. An lbw appeal against Brad Haddin was denied by Asoka de Silva, but the replays showed Prosper Utseya's delivery would have hit the stumps, and later Graeme Cremer won an lbw wicket after Richard Kettleborough turned down a shout against Shane Watson.

Ricochet of the day
Haddin had already had a life. He could so easily have been back in the pavilion on 16 when he got an inside edge onto his leg and the ball bounced back to hit the stumps. However, despite clipping the wood with reasonable force, the ball couldn't dislodge a bail. Tatenda Taibu leapt in frustration behind the stumps, and Haddin could do little but raise his eyebrows in relief. He only added another 13 runs from a further 23 deliveries, though, and his habit of making starts without going on to post big scores will continue to be a source of bother for the Australians.

Throw of the day
The Zimbabweans aren't exactly renowned for their magnificent fielding, so it was understandable that Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke hustled back for two runs when Clarke clipped the ball to deep midwicket. But in one of those memorable moments of individual brilliance, Chris Mpofu fired the ball flat and fast towards the bowler's end, hitting the stumps from side-on and from three quarters of the way to the boundary. It caught Ponting just short and the throw had to be perfect - had it not been a direct hit, the bowler Sean Williams would hardly have had time to whip off the bails with Ponting out of his ground.

Regret of the day
While Australia's middle order was struggling to lift its tempo against Zimbabwe's spinners, reports were emerging from Perth that Michael Hussey had trained so well on Sunday that Western Australia wanted to play him in the Sheffield Shield match that began on Monday. Hussey was originally a key man in Australia's World Cup plans but was replaced due to a hamstring injury that they feared would not be fixed in time for Australia's opening games. There were also reports that selector Greg Chappell had told the 35-year-old Hussey he should retire, although Chappell has strongly denied the claim. Either way, Australia would have loved to have Hussey to tackle Zimbabwe's slow bowlers. As it turned out, he decided against playing the Shield match, choosing instead to stick to the recovery schedule originally set down for him by Cricket Australia.

Shot of the day
If Australia thought their all-out pace was going to frighten Zimbabwe's openers, they would have been surprised by Charles Coventry's early approach. It took only until the fourth over for Coventry to launch a flat smash over point off Lee, and he struck it so well that it easily cleared the boundary. The ball wasn't short, but Coventry lifted it with a square drive that could just about have killed if it connected with a member of the crowd. Sadly for Zimbabwe's fans, there wasn't much more in the armoury.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 10 
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Posted by BonyongoDestroyer on (February 22, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

"The Zimbabweans aren't exactly renowned for their magnificent fielding"

What utter drivel Mr Coverdale!

Whatever the state of Zimbabwe's batting and bowling over the years, they have consistentley produced top-notch fielding sides - and this is quite often in the face of a serious barrage.

I can recall numerous Zimbabwean catches over the last 15 years that - should they have been taken by an Indian or an Aussie or an Englishman - would be featuring all over youtube and on lists of "greatest ever catches".

Posted by dummy4fb on (February 22, 2011, 10:26 GMT)

"Baffled looks" yeah right! They fully understood and didnt need to say anything. They were probably saying yeah we know man! They went on to demonstrate!

Posted by coolio78 on (February 22, 2011, 4:49 GMT)

That shot by Coventry was really the Shot of the Day!!! Very stylish and full of class. I guess it's the best shot of the tournament so far...

Posted by FlowerPower on (February 22, 2011, 4:37 GMT)

Quick learners, yeah funny, except I think you are stretching the truth a bit. These are professional cricketers who watch at least as much international cricket as I do, and I am sure they have seen the UDRS in action before. Zim may not be an Australia, but trust me satelite TV and internet do exist in Zim.

Posted by David_Boon on (February 22, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

What do you mean "The Zimbabweans aren't exactly renowned for their magnificent fielding"? They are known for exactly that! Everyone knows Zimbabwe's fielding is world class.

Posted by smudgeon on (February 22, 2011, 0:04 GMT)

I wonder if this will set the tone for the tournament - three specialist spinners in the side, one of them opening the bowling. It was a bit of a left-field move, and I think the Aussies probably had to change tack a little. Price & co. bowled really well. Watto & co. gave them the respect they deserved - it would have been nice to see a bit more attack from the Aussie batsmen, but I guess when so many people want to see you fail, you do your utmost to make sure you don't. Make no mistake - Zimbabwe will be a competitive unit throughout this world cup, and I for one am looking forward to seeing Cremer, Taibu, and Price in whites.

Posted by Vilander on (February 21, 2011, 18:25 GMT)

i have lots of respect for Ray Price. And i think its SA's WC this one.

Posted by Brian_Indarjit on (February 21, 2011, 17:34 GMT)

That shot of the day was very special.......People who plays the game would know!

Posted by hatsman on (February 21, 2011, 16:47 GMT)

Hussey is not in australia's squad and that is not the regret of the day its the regret of the tornament as without Hussey in the team to tackle the fast and slow bowlers australia will struggle and that makes it easier for the sub-contenential team to add spin in their armoury so its going to be a real struggle for australia to go far in this competition without their main in-form batsmen.

Posted by couta-koppie on (February 21, 2011, 16:39 GMT)

I think Zimbabwe did awesome against Australia. India must be the favourites to win this year, or South-Africa I hope.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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