Dwayne Bravo: a good day in the field
Fine leg? Try finer Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith may have had them
dancing in the aisles, but Brian Lara was still a class apart. When Shoaib
Malik pushed one down a little quicker, Lara made the deftest of
adjustments, paddling the ball so fine that the man stationed on the circle
for the stroke didn't bother to give chase. The flat six off
Danish Kaneria was stunning, but this was something way beyond the ambit
of mere mortals.
King of Comedy No, he doesn't look like Robert De Niro, but Kaneria's
fielding is well worth a few laughs. The overthrow from mid-on that sailed
way over Kamran Akmal's head was hilarious, but just as funny was the
attempted sliding stop while running across from third man. It appeared
infectious as well, with the usually reliable Mohammad Hafeez also doing a
dying-swan act over a ball that sped on to the fence.
Doing an Andy Symonds may still be on the mend, but West Indies showed
today that they possess some all-round quality of their own. Dwayne Smith
first slugged 32 from just 15 balls, and then nipped out both Mohammad
Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq. The Man-of-the-Match adjudicators could have
taken a nap after that.
What a beaut The ball that got Yousuf was a peach that held its line and
bounced a little extra. The joyous celebrations in the stands were enough
to tell you that it was a game-turning moment.
Fetch that There were some big hits towards the end of the West Indian
innings, but none as eye-catching as the straight wallop that Samuels
produced off Rao Iftikhar. Rao had bowled three maidens by that stage,
with Samuels struggling to work the ball off the square, but with one
elegant swish of the bat, the shackles were shrugged off.
"Why did you have to throw a pie?" Presumably, that's what Inzamam was
saying to Rao after the last ball of the innings. After summoning up a
superb spell of controlled seam bowling, Rao decided to test Corey
Collymore's ability with a half-tracker. It was a rubbish delivery, and
Collymore gave it the contemptuous treatment it deserved. Inzi's outraged
reaction said it all.
Made in Jamaica Chris Gayle, of whom so much is expected, may have
failed, but there were other local heroes to cheer. Samuels continued the
renaissance that started with a one-day hundred in Pakistan last winter,
and there were probing new-ball spells from Daren Powell and Jerome
Taylor. And with the stakes as high as this, it bothered no one that Smith
and Bravo were from traditional rivals, Barbados and Trinidad.
No cable, no wireless Cable & Wireless, who have spent millions on this
World Cup, clearly don't have a good PR department. Just about every
journalist covering the event has a grouse about the connectivity and the
rip-off rates. A day's wireless connection at Sabina Park has been pegged
at USD$30, about five times what the grounds in India were charging during
the recent Champions Trophy. Most stadiums in the UK, Australia and India
offer free access, and Cable & Wireless may need to rethink this
Wags' day out No, we're not talking about Victoria Beckham and friends,
but about the West Indian fan who's never short of opinion or wisecrack.
The days of "Kill 'im, maan" and "Knock his head off, Mikey" may be long
gone, but there's still no shortage of quips and innuendo. "Pakistan be
out for 150 ... Taylor and Powell blow dem away" said one of the press-box
volunteers at the lunch break. Soon after, Jamaica's finest came out and
walked his talk.
Pump up the volume Indian fans may be more noisy, but no one does
celebration quite like the folk of the Caribbean. As the Pakistan wickets
fell, the noise levels built up slowly and by the time Bravo took a
sensational return catch to send back Umar Gul, the stands were rocking.
As Lou Reed sang, It's such a perfect day ...
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo