Seeking close games, open skies

Published on Sep 16, 2004 01:47 AM IST

The past few at the Champions Trophy have moved from boring (because of the differences between the teams) to harrowing (because of the weather), writes Kadambari Murali.

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PTI | ByKadambari Murali, Birmingham

Rain, rain and more rain. Empty stadiums. Lacklustre coverage in the local media. No one really knowing or caring that the mini-World Cup is on. One-sided matches. Hopefully (and this is said with fingers firmly crossed) all this will suddenly change when the real Champions Trophy begins on Thursday, when Australia meet New Zealand in the first of the virtual quarter-finals.

"In England, we don't have seasons, we just have the weather," said Richard Champion, a Birmingham native, after the Pakistan-Kenya match was abandoned for the day on Tuesday. But Wednesday was warmer and rain gods willing, we'll have a match on our hands on Thursday at the Oval.

Everyone (who knows that the Champions Trophy is happening that is) is looking forward to the next few days. The past few have moved from boring (because of the differences between the teams on the field) to harrowing (because of the weather and the above mentioned differences between the teams). Other than Tuesday's Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe match, in which Lanka --- coming into this tournament with a 5-0 whitewash over South Africa at home --- inexplicably collapsed before posting a four-wicket win, the other matches have been tough to watch.

England beat Zimbabwe by 152 runs, then New Zealand beat the USA by 210 runs, including a record 122 runs in the last six overs. After this India beat Kenya by 98 runs without seemingly trying anything much while bowling --- Ganguly said he wanted some of his bowlers to get some practice. Then South Africa beat Bangladesh by nine wickets, with Bangladesh making 93 and South Africa rattling it off in 17.5 overs.

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