Where’d That Week Go?
The Deuce staff apologizes for its weeklong absence. Suffice it to say that we simply didn’t have time to blog, given that we were spread across the planet on critical missions. One of us was called in to work on a top-secret investigation in the Caribbean — and Mustafa’s remarkable knowledge of snake venoms has never been of such practical use. The Code Monkey was meditating with Agent Zero and Caron Butler in Cleveland, in a futile attempt to hypnotize them into playing shape. And I was in Dehli, seeking to thwart the most brazen attack on the people of the Indian Subcontinent since the Sino-Indian War.
So the World Cup semifinals start in about two minutes, and I’m sure you’re waiting for the Deuce’s official predictions before you head over to Bet 365. Well, here you go:
Tuesday: Sri Lanka v. New Zealand at Sabina, Jamaica
Prior to the tournament, I predicted that Sri Lanka would join Sethaffrika and Australia in the semis. I didn’t see New Zealand making it — though their attack was undeniably strong, I couldn’t imagine that the batting would be consistent enough to make it through the Super 8s. Of course, I didn’t imagine that India would shit the bed in such spectacular fashion.
But the Kiwis have been consistently excellent, with Scott Styris the anchor of the batting, and Shane Bond leading an attack that has performed even better that one could have expected at the beginning of the tourney. And as many have noted, the fast, hard pitch of Sabina — denuded of the grass that so flummoxed Pakistan against Ireland — will be fun for Bond. But it’s going to take more than Bond to beat Sri Lanka, because Sri Lanka aren’t just consistent. They’re brilliant. The varied attack — with the conventional pace of Vaas, the freakish deliveries of Malinga, and the genius of Murali — complements a strong batting order. In the end, while NZ is a very good team, SL is a special team. They just have the extra intangibles necessary to win a match between two talented sides. SL by 45 runs.
Wednesday: Australia v. South Africa at Gros Inlet, St. Lucia
When de Villiers and Smith were at something like 0/130 (and batting ahead of the required run rate) against Australia in late March, they really had a chance to beat the champs. Then they lost a cheap wicket, and collapsed in a mire of Jacques Kallis cautiousness. They won’t come nearly as close this time, as the Aussies have just kept improving, and as the Saffers attack lacks the variety to really trouble the Aussie bats. As obnoxiously arrogant as they may be, Ponting and his boys will cruise to a fascinating matchup with Sri Lanka on Saturday. Australia by 5 wickets/75 runs.
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!