"How shit you must be if I got you out twice!"
-Paul Harris to Andrew Symonds, Perth 2008

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sequels always disappoint anyway

Last year, the match between Pakistan and South Africa was one that people were looking forward to. Everybody wanted to know if the Saffers were going to choke or finally make it to the finals of an ICC tournament. If they were going to choke it was going to be good comedy, if not then it was going to be good comedy as well...considering the other team was Pakistan and the events that usually unfold after almost all their tournament exits. Either way, it was a game we were going to enjoy and we knew it.

Saffers lost, people laughed and eventually Pakistan went to win the World Cup. High drama, tension, crazy Afridi moments, unpredictability and even a heroic attempt from Jacques Kallis. All the characteristics of the perfect summer blockbuster.

This year when the sequel inevitably came out, people were at two-minds about it. Neither the Saffers nor the Pakistanis were in form. Both teams were missing the point (the point being winning helps), both teams were being captained by unimaginative, hairy people but both teams were in a do or die situation. Saffers were slightly on top, as winning the match would at least give them a fighting chance regardless of who won the next one. Pakistanis needed to win AND have England win theirs.

Too many ifs, buts and whatevers. Too many players acting like they were auditioning for matches, rather than playing it. Too much green.

But people still hoped for a good match. Some were sure Pakistan was going to own SA again, others thought even a stuttering SA was too good for them. Yet others thought, why try to beat Pakistan when Pakistan can beat themselves?

Pakistan won the toss and batted first, like last time. They even started terribly. Then they consolidated and eventually reached a respectable score. The match was different, yet there was some familiar bits and pieces. Only, Botha didn't bowl like a dodo bird (ROFL replaced him) and Charl played Parnie's role, but better. Overall, the Saffers did more than okay with the ball, despite Umar Akmal trying to fluoroscent his way through the attack.

Then the chasing began and here was the difference between last summer's blockbuster and the sequel. Within the year Saffers had forgotten how to bat, specially their top three. AB replaced Jakes as this summer's hero; he even swore. But then, like every Saffa batsman these days, he got out the minute he started to clear the boundary. To the 'shitscoop' too. At least that's what Dilshan seems to have taught him.

JP got out before someone could blame him for slowing down his team again and the Saffers fell to yet another spinner, only it was Saeed Ajmal. Ultimately they lost and people happily called them chokers despite the fact that they have been doing the exact same thing in limited overs for about seven months now.

Yes, the differences had a familiar tone in this sequel. Hence, the changes didn't work, nobody was super excited and the match was not a blockbuster. Specially if you are a Saffa fan. But then the Kiwi-England match happened and people could happily forget the disappointing sequel.

Now the unpredictable Pakistanis are in the semis and still have a chance to retain their cup. If that happens, then there is sure to be a third part to this story, which will be even worse.

Remember the Matrix Revolutions?


Suhas said...

"Too many players acting like they were auditioning for matches, rather than playing it."

That sums up exactly how I feel about this group. I don't think Pakistan are worthy semifinalists, but neither were NZ or South Africa probably. Of those three teams, Pakistan were the only ones yesterday who looked like they knew they were in a knockout game and desperately wanted to go through.

I don't suppose there's any consolation in the fact that three South Africans at the top of the order have played a big role in England getting through?

Wes playforcountrynotforself said...

No, the Kiwis deserved to get on.

I <3 sheep

~ Wes ~

Unknown said...

I think that Kiwis would have been the best choice for the semi-finalists. Simply because they were the best placed team to challenge the Aussie juggernaut.

An Aus-SA final would have been good, but predictable (maybe, Australia might have won it in the Super Over after Dale Steyn getting run out requiring 1 to win and Albie Morkel at the other end).

Pak-Aus final is even more predictable. Going by what happenned in the last Aussie summer, I guess that Pakistan have another severe beating to look forward to.

Wes playforcountrynotforself said...

Pu, ROFL was in for Morne, Botha played... I thought it was very moanworthy to replace a blitz with, well, ROFL but maybe it didn't matter anyway, GB blames it on the crappy top order, and I am slowly losing my affection for Smithy.. a hollow feeling, that.

Purna said...

Suhas, no, no consolation. UGH!

Kiwis were worthy semi-finalists I feel. Other than Rossy Taylor most delivered, more importantly, they were injury free!

Wes, it WAS the top order. And thank god for that!

Unknown said...

NZ were the more worthy semi finalists. They have won 3 games in the tournament whereas Pakistan have only won 2. Thanks to a stupid format it doesn't reward NZ for that extra win.

People call SA chokers no matter what the circumstance. Who needs to pay attention to facts when making fun of people on the internet after all.