ICC CWC 2007 'Super 8' Begin Battle For The Title

It’s been highly anticipated for months, weeks, days and – starting tomorrow at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua & Barbuda – the Super 8 series of ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 begins. For the next month, the eight teams which have fought their way through the Group Stage will vie for the four Semi-Final spots and, ultimately, at chance to lift the coveted ICC Trophy – the symbol of One-Day International supremacy. A potentially heavyweight epic is being served up as the appetiser with the host team, the West Indies, tackling the might of defending champions, Australia, at a spanking new stadium, fittingly named for one of the sport’s greatest giants. “We are World Cup ready!” declared a busy George Goodwin, CEO of the Antigua & Barbuda Local Organising Committee (LOC), pausing to give an update amid a hectic day. “There are the usual last-minute things, like getting all the overlay elements in place, but the stadium is ready, the pitch and outfield are fine and the teams have practised – so we are ready to go.” By all accounts, fans too are ready for the showdown with long lines curving around the outside of the ICC CWC 2007 Official Ticket Centre from early this morning, keen to ensure they are up front and centre tomorrow. The crowd is expected to be tightly-packed into the 18,000-seater stadium with three-quarters of the match tickets sold. “There’s limited availability in the North and South stands and there are less than a hundred tickets for the Party Stand which holds 2,500 persons,” reported LOC Communications Consultant, Brenda Lee Browne, adding that the Ticket Centre and the Perimeter Box Office will both be open tomorrow. Goodwin disclosed that the Ticket Centre has been inundated with requests for tickets since last week. “Clearly, the confirmation that the West Indies would be playing here in Antigua, has heightened interest even more,” he noted, adding that the Government’s declaration of a Public Holiday would also have been a factor. Stating that he feels a great “sense of satisfaction that, despite all of the trials, we have reached this point”, the CEO is overwhelmed by the fact that Antigua & Barbuda can “virtually see the first ball coming down the pitch at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground”. Meanwhile, Guyana too is getting ready to step forward and deliver its share of the ICC Cricket World Cup pie, commencing Wednesday with another massive feature match as the savvy Sri Lankans take on top One-Day outfit, South Africa, at Guyana National Stadium. “They are the number-one ranked team so everyone wants a piece of them – and we do as well,” stated Sri Lankan skipper, Mahela Jayawardene, in a Press conference earlier today. “We’ve done well against them before…and we must make sure we maximise on any opportunities.” The first half of the Super 8s will see six matches being played in both Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana and promises thrilling cricket action such as England versus Ireland in Guyana on Friday; Sri Lanka against the West Indies on April 1 (Guyana also); New Zealand opposing the West Indies on Thursday in Antigua and Australia battling England on April 8 at the same venue.