The crowds were poor, the tickets were too expensive, 7 weeks was a couple of weeks to long, some of the facilities weren’t up to scratch, there was hardly any music at some grounds, the final ended with a muck of of note, and in the end the best team won. At least the Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies got one thing right – Australia are the best team in the world, and on this evidence, by a long way. They dominated from the first game, sweeping all before them, and often with gruesome efficiency. Though many neutrals hoped that they would be stopped at some stage, for the good of the game, they brushed away all challengers, including the much hyped South Africans and Sri Lankans. The manner of their victories must be a case for considerable worry to the rest of the world. Apart from a 20 over spell in the group match against South Africa, they were never really tested, and even then they had the knowledge that they had the runs on the board and were just waiting for a break through. In a shorter, more traditional series, the chasing teams, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, would have a chance, where the intensity is greater, momentum is more of a factor, and the chance of cashing Australia on an off day increases. Had South Africa played Australia a couple of days after thrashing the West Indies or England, they would have had a better chance, the momentum, intensity and confidence within the team would have given them more of an impact, but to have had to wait a week between their last Super 8 game, and their all important Semi Final, was to much, and to long a wait. The Australians went into each of their games knowing that their opponents had little chance. especially when playing cold, after the long waits between games. The form Graeme Smith showed during the first half of the tournament didn’t last, bar that destructive innings against England. Lasith Malinga carried an injury into the latter half of the Super 8’s and thus couldn’t push forward with the momentum gained from the first half. The New Zealand team that began the tournament were not the same team that ended it, they were jaded, tired, and inconsistent. The Australians seemed to get everyone on a bad day, they got South Africa in the semi after they hadn’t played for a week, got New Zealand in the Super 8’s after they began to look weary, and got Sri Lanka in the final with Malinga just coming back from missing the latter half of the Super 8’s. Having said that they used every advantage offered to them, be it physical or mental, and the emotional aspect of each game bringing McGrath to retirement, and used it to power past their opponents. There was no real weakness within the team, except maybe that they were being so dominant they had not been fully tested, their middle order hadn’t seen much batting, and Tait was the inexperience member of the bowling attack. Yet all their opponents knew this and none could take advantage. The top order needed to be knocked over to get to the middle order and this never happened. Tait, although expensive at times, did his job admirably, striking when needed, most often in his return spells. The Australians dominated this tournament, and looking past the shoddy organisation, the daft scenes at the end, the early exits of Pakistan and India, and the terrible loss of Bob Woolmer, that is what the World Cup should be remembered for – the total, ruthless, dominance of the worlds best team – Australia. Oh, and of course the Irish!
The Worlds Best