10th over: West Indies 71-2 (Gayle 49, Pooran 6) Gayle mistimes a swipe down the ground off Wahab. Six runs. He follows that with consecutive fours, but hurts his back in the process and almost keels over while taking the slowest leg bye in the history of cricket. He has 49 from 31 balls.
9th over: West Indies 56-2 (Gayle 35, Pooran 6) When Amir drops short, Pooran gets his first boundary with a tennis shot through mid-on. The next ball is edged through third slip at catchable height. Pakistan might as well have eight slips now; a Test-match collapse is their only chance of victory.
“Oh, I don’t know,” says John Starbuck. “If you were Hassan Ali’s blood pressure you’d be pretty high and what’s wrong with that?”
7th over: West Indies 48-2 (Gayle 33, Pooran 1) “Morning nap?” sniffs Robert Wilson. “Bonus nap? How many napping options does your life-style quiver contain? The Drinks-Interval forty winks? The in-between-overs kip? Under-the-shower shuteye? Have you ever caught a few ZZZs while brushing your actual teeth? You’re a model for the kids in these hard times, you feckless Dormouse.”
This feels as good a moment as any to formally my announce my candidacy for prime minister.
WICKET! West Indies 46-2 (Bravo c Babar b Amir 0)
A second wicket for Mohammad Amir, who has bowled beautifully. Bravo fences a seaming back-of-a-length delivery to first slip, where Babar Azam takes a simple catch.
5th over: West Indies 38-1 (Gayle 25, Bravo 0) The new batsman Darren Bravo sets off for a quick single, notices Chris Gayle hasn’t moved a muscle and scampers back.
WICKET! West Indies 36-1 (Hope c Hafeez b Amir 11)
Pakistan have Hope with a capital H, but only with a capital H. Shai Hope drives Amir high over extra cover, and Hafeez charges round from mid-on to take a good running catch.
4th over: West Indies 32-0 (Gayle 24, Hope 7) Kapow! Gayle launches Hassan Ali miles over mid-on for six. Blam! Gayle smears the next ball back over the bowler’s head for six more. Sixteen runs from the over. I wouldn’t like to be Hassan Ali’s blood pressure right now.
3rd over: West Indies 16-0 (Gayle 9, Hope 6) The only time Pakistan won the World Cup, in 1992, they started with a 10-wicket defeat to West Indies. Hope clumps a pull over midwicket for a couple, with Chris Gayle reluctantly turning for a second, and then pops a leading edge just short of mid-on. An excellent over from Amir ends with Hope being beaten outside off stump.
“Pakistan’s batting performance reminds of a club cricket dilemma that occurs when a side is bowled out early in the day – whether to take an early tea, or to start the 2nd innings and take tea halfway through it,” says Phil Russell. “Most batting captains would prefer to have an unbroken innings, although you do find the occasional player who would like to tick ‘not out at tea’ off their cricket bucket list. Likewise the side that has collapsed often think that a short and focused session before the interval is a good way to try and get back into the game. In theory the umpires are the sole arbiters of this. In practice of course the decision is made by the tea lady (tea gentlemen are also available), as if the tea is ready now no umpire in the land can withstand the stare of disapproval that comes with saying ‘we’re going to go back out for 20 overs, thanks anyway’.”
It’s no fun to OBO, either. I had to postpone my morning nap when I saw Pakistan were seven-down.
2nd over: West Indies 10-0 (Gayle 9, Hope 2) Hassan Ali, who looks throughly radged off at the crap he has been given to defend, bowls the second over. His mood doesn’t improve any when Gayle top-edges a stiff hook stroke over the keeper for four. Gayle played that stroke in instalments. The next ball is edged for four more, this time a lumbering drive that flew high over the slips, and then Gayle survives a desperate LBW appeal. It clearly pitched outside leg stump.
“Chris Gayle always reminds me of a pet rabbit that we built into the rules of cricket in our particular backyard,” says Danielle Tolson. “We did the standard ones (hits the side of the house: out; back fence: six; over next-door’s fence: six but you’re out). Pet fielding rules were determined by which dog was playing & if the cat deigned to be involved, but playing with Peter the rabbit was a different story.
“If Peter was out on the grass & either got bumped by the (tennis) ball or had a go at arguing with the dog about which took the catch, you were caught out. If he was in his hutch out on the far corner of the section & it was hit, momentarily ruffling his cool, making him shuffle around a little, you were also out. No need for DRS here. A cricket powerhouse fuelled by veggie scraps and pellets from a sack.”
He’d have been worth millions in the IPL.
1st over: West Indies 2-0 (Gayle 1, Hope 1) This shouldn’t take long. Mohammad Amir opens the bowling to Chris Gayle, who wheezes through for a single to get off the mark. Shai Hope does likewise, minus the wheezing, off the final delivery.
“Afternoon Rob,” says Kim Thonger. “I need OBO readers’ help. I’ve started a petition to name storms after England bowlers in this World Cup year. It will only go live if five people add their email addresses at this link.”
Petition or no petition, Storm Jofra’s a-comin’ to Nottingham on Monday.
“Gee gosh I love stick ball,” says Henry Demaria. “Following in pret whilst writing my annual work performance self assessment. Turns out I’m doing less well than Pakistan. Idiot question I can’t find the answer to on Cricinfo – what’s the system on who goes through to the next round? Is it wins, points, some confusing algorithm or karmic law? Have a lovely afternoon.”
I will now. If Chris Gayle gets going I could be having a bonus nap by 3pm. As for the league positions, they will be decided by: points, obvs, then wins, net run rate, head-to-head results, pre-tournament seeding and a Sopranos-themed quiz.
An early theme of this World Cup has been the discovery of old tweets. Not in the those-views-do-not-reflect-the-person-I-am-in-2019 sense, thankfully. Yesterday we had Jofra Archer’s the helmet salesman; today we have Kagiso Rabada the fanboy.
(I’m assuming these tweets are real. I have no idea how that thing works.)
More interval reading, which has in no way posted here solely because I wrote a third of it
Thanks Simon, hello everyone. That was a serious statement of intent from Pakistan, whose four victories in global tournaments have all come after effigy-inspiring defeats in the opening game. They put down a marker with an immaculate collapse at Trent Bridge, where they were bounced out in just 21.4 overs.
But seriously folks – because sometimes the banter has to stop – West Indies are genuine contenders to win the World Cup for the first time since 1996, and the world is thus a better place.
And with that I’m going to hand over to Rob, who will cover the anticipated Gayle-related carnage. Everybody knew that the West Indies boast a fine batting line-up, but their bowlers have just made a hell of a statement. All emails to him here, please. I leave you with a bit of interval-shaped reading. Bye!
“God, thanks for this, the Windies bringing it makes me absolutely euphoric,” writes Robert Wilson. “It doesn’t just make me feel young again, it makes the sun shine and the birds sing. It brings back mass literacy and political hope. It reorients the poles and the Van Allen Belt. Old people’s homes are in tumult today, as crumbling grandfathers dance insanely around the car park in their Viv Richards pyjamas. Holder is quite simply the best captain in world Cricket. And a total mensch to boot.”
21.4 overs: Pakistan 105 all out In other interesting news from that two-thirds-of-an-over, Thomas gave away another no-ball, which wasn’t actually a no-ball at all but at that stage Pakistan really needed some freebies. Mohammad Amir only gets a single from the free hit. Russell stoops to pick up the ball, and somehow manages to injure himself doing so. As the innings comes to an end, the bowler whose two early wickets set Pakistan on the road to ruin is off the pitch receiving treatment to a jarred knee.
WICKET! Wahab b Thomas 18 (Pakistan 105 all out)
And that wraps it up! Wahab Riaz shuffles backwards to give himself some room to clout the ball, doesn’t clout the ball, and is cleaned out!
21st over: Pakistan 103-9 (Wahab 18, Amir 2) Six! Six runs! Holder bowls short to Wahab and he nails this one, hoisting it over midwicket! And then four over cover, followed by another massive six over square leg! Pakistan finally reach triple figures, and in quite some style!
20th over: Pakistan 86-9 (Wahab 2, Amir 1) Thomas bowls the noest of no balls, overstepping by a massive margin, but the free hit, a slower short ball, goes unhit. “This is a bit of a sorry shambles,” says Guy Hornsby. “I do have a real soft spot for Pakistan, but you have to wonder how damaging the series against us was for their confidence. Their bowlers are quality, but they’ll have nothing to defend if they give it away like this.”
WICKET! Hafeez c Cottrell b Thomas 16 (Pakistan 83-9)
Another short ball, another wicket! Hafeez gets his body out of the way but forgets about his bat, and accidentally lifts the ball to deep fine leg!
WICKET! Hasan Ali c Cottrell b Holder 1 (Pakistan 81-8)
And another one! Short of a length again, and it’s top-edged straight to mid off!
18th over: Pakistan 80-7 (Hafeez 14, Hasan 1) This is carnage. Thomas bowls into Hasan Ali’s body, and he desperately fends it into the air. Short leg would have had the easiest of catches, had he existed.
WICKET! Shadab Khan lbw b Thomas 0 (Pakistan 78-7)
A rare full delivery and Shadab is caught by surprise, gets nothing on it and is totally plum!
17th over: Pakistan 77-6 (Hafeez 12, Shadab 0) Two runs and two wickets from the over as West Indies’ diet of bounce continues to pay dividends.
WICKET! Imad Wasim c Gayle b Holder 1 (Pakistan 77-6)
Another short ball, another wicket! This loops into the air off Imad’s glove as the batsman mistimes a pull, and Gayle runs backwards and to his right to take a simple catch!
WICKET! Sarfaraz Ahmed c Hope b Holder 8 (Pakistan 75-5)
… And they were right to do so! There was certainly a little tickle, off either the top of the bat or a glove, and another one’s gone!
REVIEW! Has Sarfaraz been caught behind here?
The umpire didn’t think he got anything on it, but the fielding team disagrees …