An India-Pakistan encounters in the final of the World Cup would be the perfect climax to the mega event in the subcontinent © Getty Images



By Tim Holt 


The World Cup is but a sleep away, and what everyone yearns to see unfolding in the days ahead depends on individual biases related to players and nationality. However, there are a few things that will fans from all sections might agree.


1. Australia NOT winning the World Cup


Apologies to Aussie fans who would be hoping for a miraculous victory by Ricky Ponting’s team for a fourth triumph in a row. Australia’s stranglehold on the World Cup has become boring for objective cricket fans. A change in fortunes will inject much life, similar to England turning the tables on Australia in recent Ashes series. Now that Australia aren’t the dominant force they undoubtedly were till not long ago, there is every chance of seeing the emergence of a new champion team in the 2011 edition of the World Cup.


2. India meeting Pakistan in a key game


An encounter between the two iconic rivals in the final of the World Cup would be the perfect climax to the mega event in the subcontinent. It will be a spectacle that will be charged with unbelievable electricity… just what the marketing gurus would have liked to see and the fans to feast upon.


3. A team score of 500 


It’s a distinct possibility that this milestone will finally be reached, possibly by a potent batting side against one of the minnows. The batting-friendly pitches of the subcontinent provides the perfect platform to make that happen. Considering how dreadful New Zealand‘s bowling looked the other day, even they could be at the receiving end.


4. Innovation with Powerplays


For Christ sake, someone need to show some innovation with Powerplays – batting or bowling. Why have a batting Powerplay in the latter overs when you could utilise it better earlier in the game? Why use the bowling Powerplays in the same way everyone else does when you could be revolutionary and gain a possible edge? I think, captains need to do some out-of-the-box thinking.


5. Ireland beating England in the Group stage


We Irish are great at using wooden things against the English. I mean throughout our history we’ve used Shillelagh’s with great ‘dexterity’ against them. Why not wield another form of willow against them and pull off an iconic victory? It will be great for the Irish economy, especially in the Temple Bar Zone of Dublin!


6. The full colour of the Sri Lankan crowds


You can’t beat the crowds in Sri Lanka for their splash of colour and exuding euphoria, and happiness. Their sense of enjoying cricket is with live orchestra, girls dancing and smiles all around. It’s truly magical. Political unrest took away much of the islanders’ joy in the 1996 edition of the World Cup, but with peace in Sri Lanka, the stage is set for a great atmosphere.


7. An Individual score of 250


Like the team total of 500, an individual score of 250 is very much in the realms of possibility with some of the maulers at this World Cup.


8. Bangladesh making its mark on world scene


The precocious talents from Bangladesh have been showing signs that they are ready to leave a mark in world cricket. There is no better platform to do that than the World Cup.


They have match winners in Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal and a few others. Familiar conditions will be to their advantage. What could let them down is only lack of self-belief and self-discipline.


9. The Revolutionary Shots!


The Dil Scoop


The Reverse Sweeps for 6


The Windmill Shot


The Switch Hit


All great theatre …and who knows what new ones we will unfold in this edition of the World Cup!


10. Crucial games won by teams and not by weather or calculations!


The last thing you want is an epic game on knifes edge won by intervention of weather or Duckworth & Lewis system. Mother Nature, please be kind to us in this World Cup!


11. The big hitters smashing huge sixes


Every team has these bludgeoners who love to see in full cry. The sound of willow hiting the meat and disappearing in the night skies is thrilling, to put it mildly. The Powerplay carnage is what fans drool over.


(Tim Holt was born in Northern Ireland in 1952. He found his love for cricket when he was sent to South Africa between 1964 and 1966. He is an unashamed cricket purist who feasts on Test cricket. His passion for the game cuts across geographical boundaries and into the domestic competitions. Tim, who has a background in journalism and teaching, has lived and worked in many places across the world)