Wednesday, March 30, 2011

India vs Pakistan - Hype Led to Substance

Post match thoughts from the India vs Pakistan match
  • This match was considered to be a battle between the strongest batting side against the strongest bowling line up. It turned out to be one between the weakest bowling unit (which performed admirably) and the weakest battling line up (which performed miserably).
  • If I were to summarize the match succinctly, I would use the age-old cliche in cricket -- "Catches win Matches."
  • Indians did not bowl a SINGLE wide or a no-ball till the 37th over, and only 1 wide till the 40th over. They bowled a bunch of that in the last ten overs, but the match was virtually over by then.
  • I am finally starting to admire Dhoni's captaincy. After his lackluster performance in the league stages, he has been proactive in the field with his bowling changes, field placings and energy factor (normally cool and calm on the field, he showed tremendous excitement on every Pakistani wicket that fell down, it helps). Against Australia, Tendulkar got away even after bowling three full tosses. That happened just because Aussies had not seen the Little Master bowl for I-don't-know-how-long.
  • Two moments made my day. Munaf Patel sprinting from fine leg towards deep square leg, and restricting Pakistanis to just a single. And Ashish Nehra diving full length and deep mid wicket and almost managing to take off a spectacular catch (the ball bounced just in front of him). I mean, if the worst two fielders of the side were showing such athleticism ...
  • Speaking of which, they both pleasantly surprised with their bowling. Munaf's leg cutter to bowl out Razzaq reminded me of Wasim Akram special to dismiss Alan Lamb in the WC '92 Final.
  • It was great to see Yuvraj back at backward point, diving to save a certain boundary. Moments later, though, he missed a regulation run out of Umar Akmal of his own bowling. His 'knack' is coming back, but it'll take some time, some more runs, and some more wickets.
  • A great read at cricinfo about Sehwag's crucial cameo, and Misbah's utterly useless innings.
  • Never a fan of Yusuf Pathan. Suresh Raina further justified the elder Pathan's exclusion.
  • Despite this being an Indo/Pak match, I still found the Ind/Aus match more 'absorbing' and felt happier after that victory. Victory against the world champions count for more than a victory against the political enemies -- at least to me.

India vs Sri Lanka
  • Both have won one World Cup, and have been in one other final. Both lost to Australia.
  • Prepare a seaming track. Exclude Ashwin again (those guys practice against Murali and Mendis!) and keep our three-pace attack + Bhajji and Yuvraj.
  • Note to Dhoni: If you win the toss, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't field first, no matter how overcast the conditions may be, and no matter how green the wicket turns out to be. Just remember WC '87 SF (England) WC '96 SF (SL), WC '03 F (Aus), WC '07 league match (SL).
  • India needs to get expose Sri Lankan middle order quickly. Their middle order is brittle, and not yet exposed in the tournament.
  • The final in Mumbai will hurt SL. They are yet to play a game outside SL in this tournament.
  • As a Sachin Tendulkar fan, can't help but mention this. It can be a dream come true. Sachin scores his 100th 100 in his final ODI match and ends up winning the match, and the World Cup.