Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Sri Lanka to face Pakistan in Twenty20 final

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Chris Gayle’s magnificent best was not enough to prevent Sri Lanka beating West Indies on Friday night and making it through to the World Twenty20 final, where they will face Pakistan.

Tillakartne Dilshan gave Sri Lanka a total and West Indies were undone by an astonishing first over that saw them lose three wickets…. There’s no coming back from that against a team that bowls as well as Sri Lanka. What an extraordinary tournament this has been, to provide something unexpected almost every game…

So what do you think? Pakistan or Sri Lanka? If Pakistan play like they can I think they’ll win, but if this tournament has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected…

Let us know what you think…

PHOTO: Spectators try to catch a Chris Gayle six during the ICC World Twenty20 cricket semi-final match between the West Indies and Sri Lanka in London June 19, 2009. REUTERS/Philip Brown

Pakistan stun South Africa to reach Twenty20 final

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Pakistan bowled superbly to clinch an outstanding victory over favourites South Africa on Wednesday and reach the World Twenty20 final.

So, more disappointment for South Africa at the semi-final stage and further evidence that Umar Gul (the heroics of Afridi notwithstanding) is the best “death” bowler in this tournament. His spell at the end of the South Africa innings was beautifully delivered and certainly too good for the South Africans … and once again, it was the penultimate over that effectively decided this contest.

Will Symonds ever play for Australia again?

Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds is being sent home from the World Twenty20 tournament in England for disciplinary reasons, Cricket Australia (CA) has said.

CA chief executive James Sutherland told a hastily-arranged news conference in Melbourne broadcast on national television that Symonds had been ordered home for alcohol related issues.

Twenty20 is about entertainment, not the result

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If the result of a cricket one-day international is forgotten by most fans within a week the shelf life of Twenty20 memories must be measured in Mayfly proportions.

However, that does not mean that there is no value in the smash and crash of cricket’s newest format. Quite the opposite.

Will the Mongoose rule at the World Twenty20?

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mongooseCricket never had much of a reputation for embracing innovation but now the stately rhythm of the five-day Test is being elbowed out of the way by the hell-for-leather scramble of Twenty20 perhaps it’s no surprise that the Mongoose bat Stuart Law used on Tuesday has generated hardly a whimper of protest.

Midway through his innings for Derbyshire on Tuesday, Law switched to using the new Mongoose T20 bat, which, we are told, has a handle that’s 33 percent longer than the standard bat, but with hardly anything in the way of shoulder.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Pushing back cricket’s boundary for Israel’s bedouin

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For decades, the small number of cricket followers in Israel has been trying to clear up what is so far an unsolved mystery: Why the sport never took off in the country after the British lowered the Union Jack on pre-state Israel in 1948. 

Cricket, along with golf, is probably the most enduring bequest of the British Empire to its former colonies, but definitely not in the Jewish state.

Hoggard deserves better

I saw this story and was very surprised. The usually mild-mannered Matthew Hoggard has hit out at his treatment after being dropped by the England cricket side 13 months ago.

“My contact with the ECB has been zero and so I’m completely and utterly not even thinking about a recall,” said the 32-year-old pace bowler, who was part of the attack which beat Australia in 2005.

The age of fat cricketers is over … sadly

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Shane Warne didn’t conceal his contempt for coaches during his playing days. Coaches, Warne reckoned, were needed only to transport players to the ground.

In retirement, the great leg-spinner has not modified his views and is scathing, in particular, of the modern obsession with physical fitness.

Sports photo of the week

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Here’s Sports Pictures editor Greg Bos’s view: Photographer Phil Brown captured a superb action moment from the cricket match between England and the West Indies. He’s got the ball in the frame, the player with both feet off the ground and a clean dark background to make the image standout.

ORIGINAL CAPTION: West Indies’ Lendl Simmons reacts to an Amjad Khan bouncer during their cricket test match against England at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain March 8, 2009. REUTERS/Philip Brown

Rashid omission shows England are still behind Aussies

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While England’s opponents for the famous urn this summer used their last test match to bleed new talent before the Ashes, it comes as no surprise that England spurned the opportunity to do exactly the same with leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

Australia, visibly in decline after a spate of retirements, started the first test match at Johannesburg against South Africa, one of the top test nations, with three debutants.

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