It started with a bang, but not as we thought. In a tournament in which runs were touted, 500 even, it was the bowlers who first made their mark.
West Indies bumped out Pakistan for 105 and New Zealand’s quicks skittled Sri Lanka for not many more the following day. It was exciting, it was unexpected and it lay the foundations for an exhilarating tournament to come.
On the opening morning of the men’s Cricket World Cup at The Oval, the queue extending from the adjacent underground station was encouraging. The bottleneck, however, was formed not by excited fans but by commuters, puzzled by the appearance of a large shiny trophy on a cardboard pedestal outside. Briefly obstructing their daily shuffle, it was an irritant, soon forgotten.
“You are meaning that that was an upset?” There was frustration, and a hint of anger, in captain Mashrafe Mortaza’s voice as he rebuffed the idea that Bangladesh’s defeat of South Africa should be anything other than expected.