Brain Charles Lara lights cauldron with priceless ton

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Monday, February 10, 2003, 3:56 [IST]
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Bangalore: What a match for a lung opener! World Cup 2003 could not have asked for a better lift off - in fact it is a blast.

Following close on the heels of a vibrant and breathtaking opening ceremony, the opening game was indeed a showpiece.

Although the South Africans would have loved a victory for the home team they could not have asked for more in terms of a 'classic' tie to set the ball rolling and who better than the number one showman to inaugurate the proceedings. Yes, Brian Charles Lara has lit the cauldron with a priceless century.

West Indies on Sunday proved that its resurgence, marked by its series victory in India, was no flash in the plan and has sounded out a definite warning in typical calypso style.

While it is hugely disappointing for South Africa, fortunately, it is not the end of the road - like it has been in the past. The South Africans normally win all their matches and then when they cannot afford to lose one end up losing, which invariably is the end of the road.

This time around they have stumbled at the beginning, which means they have an opportunity to regroup and give things another shot. It indeed could end up doing them more good than they realise at this point in time.

However, Sunday's match proved one thing that it certainly is not wise to tag anybody as favourites in this World Cup and that it indeed is a tight competition. There are too many good teams out there and anybody could turn the tables on any given day and at any given moment.

The only solace for South Africa from this match is that Klusener is back in his saddle and could prove a key customer in future encounters. But its bowling department certainly needs a serious look in. South African bowlers better pull themselves up. The earlier Donald can shrug off today's bowling performance the better and some of the others also need to tighten things.

For the West Indies it must be very heartening to see a solid chunk of its batting order fire and live up to expectations. What, with Samuels still in the wings?... the batting department is definitely looking very healthy for the Caribbean outfit.

If today's performance is anything to go by West Indies is the team to watch out for; it could be glory days again.

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