Cricket World Cup: The mad, the bad, the brilliant

The World Cup Diary Awards
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The Independent Online
THE LONGEST World Cup of them all - it has lasted 40 days, or, in England's case, 16 - reaches its climax at Lord's today. It will be 16 years, perhaps 20, before it passes this way again. Here are some memories to mull over during the wait, to which can be added those created today.

Tosser

Best: Alec Stewart, who won the toss in all five of England's matches. Look where it got him.

Worst: Steve Waugh, who lost it in all the Super Six matches and the semi-final. Look where it got him.

Top Shot

One: Sourav Ganguly, 42nd over, India v Sri Lanka, Taunton. Sashays down the pitch to Muttiah Muralitharan, no less, and launches him over long- on for six. Two balls later he repeats the jig and puts him over the sightscreen - 18 off the over.

Two: Lance Klusener, 46th over, South Africa v Pakistan, Nottingham. Stands his ground against Shoaib Akhtar and with brute force smashes length ball for six over midwicket to keep his side in it - 17 off the over.

Three: Steve Waugh, 50th over, Australia v South Africa (match one). Thick edge past wicketkeeper for the single which gives him his 120th run and wins his side the match from 48 for 3, chasing 273.

Unplayable Ball

One: Glenn McGrath, ninth over, second ball, Australia v West Indies, to Brian Lara. Swings late, pitches middle, seams, hits off.

Two: Shoaib Akhtar, 34th over, fifth ball, Pakistan v New Zealand, to Stephen Fleming. Yorker delivered from round the wicket, wide of the stumps, uproots left-hander's leg pole.

Three: Shane Warne, 13th over, second ball, Australia v South Africa, to Herschelle Gibbs. Drifts late, pitches outside leg, grips, hits off stump.

Shock drop

One: Jonty Rhodes, South Africa v Pakistan. Fielding as usual at backward point he spills straightforward, shoulder-high chance from Saeed Anwar.

Two: Paul Reiffel, Australia v South Africa (match two), 49th over. Deflects Klusener drive over rope for six at long on with South Africa needing 16 to win.

Run Out

One: Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan v Australia, 47th over. Hit on toe by yorker, folds in a heap. Wasim Akram dashes for single, Inzi tries to move, fails.

Two: Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan v South Africa, 36th over. Dashes for sharp single, makes crease but fails to ground bat.

Banner: Pakistan v India. "Inzamam will hit a ton if he doesn't have to run."

Pre-match verdict: Bob Woolmer, coach, South Africa v Australia (match two). "This is almost a home game for us. Some of us know Edgbaston very well."

Post-match verdict: George Salmond, Scotland v West Indies. "I thought we would be much better batting first so we could set them a target." Scotland were all out for 68.

Forgotten gadget: Earpieces, South Africa v India. Used by Hansie Cronje and Allan Donald for the first 17 overs. Big Al could probably have done with one at Edgbaston on Thursday to advise him when to run.

Decision maker: Ken Palmer, third umpire, South Africa v Sri Lanka. With video evidence, gives out Shaun Pollock for catch to bowler which might, or might not, have rebounded off a fielder, and then decides Darryl Cullinan has been caught by Chaminda Vaas, who throws ball away before falling over boundary.

Outstanding umpires

One: Peter Willey. If only because during every match in which he officiates some commentator says: "And there's umpire Peter Willey, strong as an ox, not a man to argue with."

Two: David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor, who are standing today. They also stood in the final of the sixth World Cup and thus join Dickie Bird and Barrie Meyer in doing two consecutive finals. Bucknor joins Bird in umpiring three in all.

Golden duck specialist

One: Lance Klusener. Dismissed Tom Odoyo of Kenya and Alistair Campbell of Zimbabwe with the first ball each received.

Two: Jonathan Blain of Scotland. Gained first-ball lbws against Aminul Islam of Bang-ladesh and Stuart Williams of West Indies.

Forgotten man: Mushtaq Ahmed, Pakistan. One of the world's most accomplished leg spinners, he is the only player among the 30 who make up the finalists' squads of 15 not to have played in a match.

Forgotten men: Duckworth-Lewis, whose system has not been required. If that is not to tempt fate.

THE CARNIVAL CAPER

IMAGINE THE tension: World Cup semi-final reaching the wire, Damien Fleming bowling the last over, first ball despatched for four. Next ball, opposition attempt suicide single, run out ensues and soon after Australia win. Not Birmingham last Thursday, but Mohali 1996, the Aussies' last semi-final, against West Indies. So Fleming had seen it all before - though there were two boundaries this time. They lost the final.

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