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Highs and Lows

Fake Pakistanis and fake bloggers

Plus clogs, clots and pro-wrestling - all part of our highlights from the first week

Xavier Marshall drops a catch and concedes six, Australia v West Indies, ICC World Twenty20, The Oval, June 6, 2009
No Citi moment of success for Xavier Marshall as he concedes a DLF Maximum © AFP

Best thing about the opening ceremony
That it didn't happen, given England's track record with such things.

Headline of the week
"Cricket is no longer so boring": a Dutch newspaper the day after Netherlands beat England. Well said, though it forgot to add that neither are the Dutch any longer a bunch of clog-wearing, pot-smoking, tall, blond, pancake-eating, flatlands stomping, fjords-traversing, road-cycling, bread-baking people.

Headline of the week II
"Clogs 1, Clots 0": The Sun, as ever, takes the narrower, short-term perspective.

Greatest contribution to the 80s revival
Rubel Hossain, of Bangladesh, who not only thinks this is the 80s, but also thinks he is West Indian. Else, what is with the bouncer barrage?

Reorientation of the week
Undergone by all viewers who suddenly, rudely, realised there are no such things really as "DLF maximums" or "Citi moments of success". In the real world, they are called sixes or great catches and run-outs.

Are you a Pakistani in disguise?
Stuart Broad's infamous last over against Netherlands embodied two time-honoured Pakistani traits. The young Broad hit a magnificent yorker length, preventing any boundaries and keeping Netherlands under pressure, much as the two Ws so often did. Unfortunately, in missing three run-outs and dropping a catch in six balls, he also fielded like a Pakistani.

No, we're Pakistan
Incensed that young Broad had stolen their thunder - and West Indies had tried to against Australia - Pakistan roared back against England to prove that there is no worse fielding entity in the world. Their fielders were nutmegged by a bloke 70 yards away, they were beaten by spin, they dropped five catches, and turned ones regularly into threes. Had they not taken the field at all, they might have conceded fewer runs.

Cricket Australia's loss is
The AAA's (Australian Anglers Association) gain.

Andrew Symonds arrives at Brisbane international airport after being sent home from the World Twenty20, June 6, 2009
Go fish © Getty Images

Bling innings of the week
Chris Gayle, for smashing Australia all over and out of the park and making Brett Lee feel and look as quick as Mark Ealham. Gayle's boundary-heavy 50-ball 88, including one monster six to monster all others, all but took West Indies to the second round. In all fairness, though, Gayle could have been bowled for a first-ball duck and it'd still be the most bling innings of any week.

Bling innings of the week II
Not to be out-blinged by mate Gayle, Kevin Pietersen hit back against Pakistan. Having missed the first-game loss to Netherlands, KP put pain and injury aside and country ahead by putting Pakistan to the sword with a 38-ball 58 to set up a crucial win. A painkiller-fuelled Ashes awaits as a prize, as does, surely, a knighthood.

Conspicuous absence of the week
Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty, Katrina Kaif: doesn't Twenty20 come with Bollywood stars free?

Comeback of the week
Fake IPL Player

Quote of the week
"It would be sad if we don't make it, but I have never attached too much importance to Twenty20 cricket, as it is fun cricket. I mean it is more for entertainment, even if it is international cricket. It is all for the crowd."
Younis Khan puts the loss to England into perspective. Unfortunately, it's the wrong perspective.

Quote of the week II
"In this form it is better to take it easy and have fun. It is like WWF."
Younis tries to explain Twenty20 some more. Exactly like WWE, in fact, what with the steroids, the pumped-up bodies, the crazy soap-opera storylines, the fixed matches, crazy chairmen with no qualms about nepotism... oh wait, did he mean Pakistan cricket or Twenty20?

I've seen the futureā€¦ and it is shorter
Scotland's "match" against New Zealand, which was reduced by rain to seven overs a side.

Glass-breaking moment of the week
Ireland's six-wicket win over Bangladesh, to guarantee their spot in the Super Eights. They have now beaten Bangladesh in a Twenty20 international and an ODI. What chances of a Test win within the next two years?

Background lurker of the week
The Ashes

Triple H and Randy Orton fight in Wrestlemania, Houston, April 5, 2009
Now that's the Twenty20 action we want to see © WireImage

Spell of the week
Ajantha Mendis' three-wicket spell against Australia, which not only knocked out the Aussies, but proved that they play spin as well as the English do opening ceremonies.

Wicketkeeping spell of the week Kamran Akmal has had an awful couple of years behind the stumps where he has struggled to catch even a cold. But since Younis has taken over, his keeping has steadied: so much so that a man who was averaging a drop a game, has not missed one for at least eight international games now. And a record four stumpings against Netherlands - including an outstanding one off a Shahid Afridi faster ball - suggest he may be getting his 2005 sheen back. All Pakistanis, touch wood.

The fastest bowler in the world this week
Was a Dutchman.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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