Cricket: India takes out Pak

Did the match live up to the hype? No. It was an Ind Pak match everything was (so skilfully) charged up. Everyone from Heads of the governments, Head of the Head of the government, heir looms, ministers, sun baked, mascara packed artists, war criers, camera crew along respective dramatics, police security men, businessmen (sellers as well as ones who bought the tickets), local DJs, drum beaters, match officials, grounds-men and players arrived on Mohali to play this super built match. India won, everyone thought Pak would fight well but it never happened until the time winners were decided.

The right call made.

Dhoni often takes the right call in crunch situations in crunch selection matters. He is such instinct. But I guess Dhoni is in a happy run of fortunate days when he is winning tosses. How many times we have seen toss to be such a crucial factor of the game. He got this one going his way. One more toss and we all will be as proud of him as we ever have been. India elected to bat, rest; as they say, is history.

Blink and he is gone

Sehwag got off the mark with the boundary; I think this is the sixth instance in this world cup that he has opened his account by depositing the delivery to the boundary. He whacked five fours of Umar Gul and Mohali was roaring, sun was shining and Gul was panting. There was a bowling change. Wahab Riaz the newbie was bought on, bowled with verve got prize wicket of Sehwag. A review was invoked, one of things that still the Indians are reluctant about. The decision stayed, Sehwag had to go. This bought Virat Kohli to the pitch. It was increasingly felt spin would do the trick even though it is believe Indians players are best as playing spin.

Catch me if you can

Tendulkar kept fighting fire with fire, some bold stroke some tentative check drives, he kept the scoreboard ticking, and the heart beats racing. It was as scratchy an innings you would see from Tendulkar in a long time. He has been in such a supreme touch that even thinking he would struggle for runs was proving to be naive, not today. Saeed Ajmal had Tendulkar bemused. He was wrapped on the pads, when looking to play for a straighter one given out, reviewed and Sachin stayed, the very next delivery he played for the turn, got beaten on the outside edge was overbalanced and almost stumped. Saeed Ajamal was taking on the attack, perhaps one of the most crucial points of the game. Bhajji and Ashwin would do well to look at Saeed Ajmal's ten over from the previous match as well as one against West Indies, they do well to adapt some of his tricks.
Mendis and Murali, both of whom have ample mystery in their arsenal would have eagerly seen Ajmal bowl to Tendulkar. It was good to watch. Tendulkar rode his luck, to be finally caught by Afridi. I imagine Pak batsman found it the hard way why Tendulkar seem to be struggling. If only Ajmal was as to keep going at one end.

Playmaker is missing

Rahul Dravid was missing, we don’t have a playmaker any more, and we have seen Indian batting collapse for more than one occasion. There is no batsman at present who can keep ticking the strike over on a consistent basis, 4 an over seems to be daunting task. Dravid's presence saw the team set a record for most chases and while Dravid who keep ticking the strike, the likes of Dhoni and Yuvraj and others would utilize flatform provided and then look to seize the momentum of the game. Ideally, Dhoni is fit for the job but does his form permits. A serious thought must be given to how the team performs between overs 15 to 40, four an over and an odd boundary would fetch close to 120 runs a couple of wickets in the bargain is not a bad deal. Raina, Pathan and Dhoni himself and accelerate at the end.

The bolt in green gives a jolt

Wahab Riaz has all the qualities of a typical Pak bowler, swift in the air, ability to get it to swing both ways, a lethal Yorker and penchant for taking wickets. He accounted for Kohli and Yuvraj off consecutive deliveries. He caught India unawares. Dhoni joined Tendulkar had a little partnership but India kept loosing wickets, but since the start was rapid, Indians at times looked beyond 300 but Pak kept them in check and late flurry of boundaries helped India get to 260 which was enough runs on the board in the hindsight. He joins, Steyn Rampaul, Bresnan as pace bowlers who got 5 wickets in the innings against Indians. It is something that teams may want to look into next time they bat against Indians.

Pakistan response in chase of 260

Akmal started with two boundaries in a Zaheer over. They openers look good and Indian bowling tentative, Dhoni kept changing the bowlers, the dew may have been a factor. Zaheer came back in his second spell inside the tenth over and got Akmal to drive away from the boundary. The ball flew into Yuvraj’s lap, Pak had just gifted their first wicket. India draw first blood just when Pak where looking to consolidated. Hafeez looked compose. He tried to play a very interesting scoop of Munaf the toe edge off the bat and a lob catch to Dhoni who would have taken it unwillingly even if he had seen ghosts of Kamran Akmal's keeping. Pak two down.

Yuraj came in the middle and kept it tight. A quick arm ball smashed Asad’s middle stump and Mexican waves and Indian flags waving everywhere. Younis and Misbah came together and a required run rate of 5.5 scaled to 7.5 in their presence. Their batting, was a civil disobedience movement of sorts not wanting to score against any delivery. It put up a weak show. Misbah did strike in the end but it was too little too late. Younis went to drive Yuvraj and Raina held a regulation catch at short cover. Umar Akmal kept going and looked to consolidate, He took to Yuvraj and hitting him for couple of sixes and a four but wasn’t enough. Bhajji came round the wicket and got him bowled and Akmal failed to gauge the pace of Bhajji faster delivery. Bhajji now has 8 wickets in 8 matches and no more in the esteem company of Rizwan Cheema and Prosper Utseya in the leading wicket takers list. He joins Shakib Al hasan, Sellar and Nathan McCullum at wickets. He got Afridi though, but then Afridi isn’t a price wicket anymore. He looks to get out before you would decide how to get him out. Afridi batting is a major minus for Pak. He needs to look hard at his batting. Munaf got his second wicket when in foxed Razzaq. Razzaq looked as if he felt he was invited. He was bowled of a very good Munaf leg cutter. Pak were 6 down. Umar Gul tasted his own medicine when Ashish Nehra (finally) got the Yorker right. A couple of more hits when Misbah tried to pull out the rabbit out of the hat but then all that he had in his hand resembled a tattered gunny bag and few ragged scrap items.
As the Pak, batting got stoic and detached to the goal Indian fielding kept gaining prominence with an old looping throw/ Indian fielders add resolve to Pak batsmen civil disobedience movement of not wanting to score. A few runouts would have been such a fun
Ind vs. Pak matches aren’t high voltage drama anymore. There is a definite hype before the matches but then it doesn’t always reflect the hype. It is something like trying a buffet dinner in a nice restraint only to come out and savour the ice cream in the nearest ice cream parlour.India however are in teh finals where they meet Lanka who would be playing finals in consecutive world cups.

Coming soon Master, Murali, Mendis, Malinga, Mumbai and Ma

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