Cow Corner

The most disgraceful quarter-final showing ever?

Cow Corner

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We were all promised something special in the World Cup quarter-finals, and we certainly got it.

West Indies turned out perhaps the most dismal showing in a knock-out match in living memory, and it was an 'I was there' (well, for the full 63 overs, at least) type of spectacle.

This was the side which England 'valiantly' overcame to reach the quarter-finals, but Darren Sammy's side's lethargic, uninterested, sluggish, shambolic and downright shoddy display emphatically devalued the status held by the fixture.

While former players must have been spitting their dark rum out in disgust, the likes of Ireland and Bangladesh will have been left to wonder how a place in the last eight stage, which they battled so fiercely to reach, could have been so passively squandered.

West Indies could only muster the second lowest total of all time in a World Cup knock-out match, closely eclipsing England's pitiful 93 all out against Australia back in 1975 when Mike Denness top-scored with a 60 ball 27.

Kemar Roach (pictured below) was badly off the boil, and appeared to have his mind on other things after he whipped off his shirt before the start of play and did an impromptu Mr Motivator impersonation in front of a bewildered early bird crowd.

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Meanwhile, West Indies showed their focus and application ahead of the start of play with a warm up which defied belief in terms of its lack of intensity and lack of, well... anything.

Here, Chris Gayle embarks on more idle chat with his team-mates while others stand around aimlessly looking at the ground, drinking what looks to be cloudy cider and contemplating which beverage to strap into after stumps.

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As for Pakistan, they cannot play cricket at home, they cannot escape allegations and accusations, they cannot receive full credit for their performances, but they are the first side into the World Cup semi-finals.

They may have a wicket-keeper who doesn't quite know how to use his arms properly and a team of very mercurial and temperamental players, but the spirit within the camp appears to be the best of any side.

As regular readers will know, Pakistan do very little training besides playing football and cracking jokes while sat on ice boxes, but Shahid Afridi's men all have incredible belief in their own abilities and a tremendous camaraderie.

One thing is patently clear: do not count against a Pakistan side who are brimming with confidence, bristling with determination and a desire to confound their critics, and with an extravagant, inspiring leader at the very top of his game.

What did you make of West Indies' epic fail today, and do you think Pakistan can go all the way? Leave your comments below...

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Meanwhile, England seamers James Anderson and Jade Dernbach locked horns in a 'bowl off' overseen by bowling and eating coach David Saker.

The results of the contest have not been released, but suffice to say that Andrew Strauss was struck on the lid by both pacemen, eager to impress all but the England captain himself.

As you can see pictured below, it was not an encounter for the faint hearted, and both bowlers were left emotionally and physically drained by the ordeal.

Saker, meanwhile, was left with a broad grin and a bottle of Castlemaine XXXX.

Who do you think England should pick for their pace attack? Post your views below...

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SHOT OF THE DAY: He may be the worst international (or county, come to think of it) wicketkeeper in living memory, but Kamran Akmal's searing drive on the up through extra cover off the 90mph bowling of Kemar Roach was a sight to behold.

TATTOO QUOTE OF THE DAY: No one can say that Dernbach does not have a wider perspective of life beyond stud earrings, body paint and inswinging yorkers. Pictured below is all the proof you need...

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STAT OF THE DAY: Afridi further consolidated his status as the tournament's leading wicket-taker after he took another four wickets to take his overall tally to an extraordinary 21. In so doing, Afridi surpassed Imran Khan's Pakistan record at a single World Cup.

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TWEET OF THE DAY: "Liz Taylor and Fred Titmus both died today. Both born in London. Both born in 1932. Both talented. Titmus gave it a bigger rip though..." (cricket red top journo Dean Wilson provides his perspective of the sad news involving the England legend today.)

USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "This has got to be the strongest run Pakistan have ever had at a World Cup now. Even in 1992 the run-up to the final was shaky at best. Winning five of their six matches in the group stages, plus this quarter-final win has got to send a strong message to the rest of the teams left in the competition. Dare I say it - the next champions?" (Hamid dares to say it, and who can blame him for that?)

COMING UP: Could this be Ricky Ponting's final game in charge of Australia? His side take on the might of co-hosts India in the second quarter-final at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad with a place in the last four at stake.

CAPTION COMPETITION: Njc.design wins the caption contest from yesterday's blog, while below is today's Ponting-related offering. You can enter the competition by simply commenting below...

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