Minnows rely on individual brilliance to cause upsets (World Cup Countdown)By Bharat Sharma, IANS
Thursday, February 3, 2011
NEW DELHI - Minnows have always sprung a surprise in the cricket World Cup, inspired by individual brilliance. Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Canada are again looking to players who can change the course of a match single-handedly.
Some of the game changers are:
Niall O’Brien: The left-hand batsman was the team’s most consistent batsman in the Caribbean World Cup in 2007 and is expected to deliver again in the sub-continent. He single-handedly took his team to victory against Pakistan with a valiant knock of 72. His second 50 in the competition came against England.
Ed Joyce: His return to native Ireland after representing England in 17 One-day Internationals will certainly strengthen the batting. His batting average of 27 may not be impressive but the experience of playing with a top team will certainly help the Irish.
Boyd Rankin. The right-arm fast bowler with 12 wickets was the team’s highest wicket-taker in the 2007 World Cup. His inspired spell of three for 32 was instrumental in Pakistan being bowled out for a paltry 132 in the Caribbean.
Ryan ten Doeschate: The all-rounder is easily the stand-out player in the side courtesy his fantastic record in ODIs. The South African- born cricketer has a staggering batting average of 68.55 in 27 ODIs and has taken 48 wickets at an average of 20.93.
Doeschate has been in brilliant batting form of late with three 50s and a century in his last five ODIs. He was the only Dutch player to be bought in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ auction by Kolkata Knight Riders for $150,000. He was the second-highest run getter in New Zealand’s domestic HRV Cup. He also plays for Essex in England and Tasmania in Australia.
Bas Zuiderent: The right-hand batsman has featured in all World Cup games since 1996 and has been the mainstay of the batting order. He came to prominence by scoring a half century against England in 1996.
Steve Tikolo: After the downfall following Kenya’s success in the 2003 World Cup, the all-rounder has come out of retirement to guide the youngsters in the side. Playing in his fifth World Cup, he is already an ambassador of the game for his country. He has scored 3,377 runs in 129 ODIs and has 93 wickets to his name.
Seren Waters: The 20-year-old right-hand opening batsman could be the surprise package for opposition sides. He was the only centurion in Kenya’s recent preparatory trip to India.
Brendan Taylor: The right-hand batsman has scored 3,000 ODI runs and is a backbone of the batting line-up. His 145 not out against South Africa last year is rated as one of the best innings by a Zimbabwean.
Tatenda Taibu: The former captain and the youngest in Test history is a valuable player in the middle order. The wicketkeeper-batsman is also the senior most member of the team with 130 ODI appearances.
Ray Price: The left-arm bowler has been Zimbabwe’s frontline spinner since the departure of Paul Strang. He has taken 80 wickets in 83 ODIs and could prove more than a handful on the slow and low wickets of the sub-continent.
John Davison: The all-rounder marked his arrival at the big stage with a cracking 111 off 76 balls against the West Indies in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. His 52 off 31 balls against New Zealand in the 2007 edition only reaffirmed his status as an explosive batsman. Davison also bowls gentle off-spin that has fetched him 31 in 27 ODIs.
(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)