Cricket: How India won the cup

Dhoni leads India to bring home the unicorn. It was first among, many in the sense; it was the first time the host country won the cup. It was just the third instance that a team won chasing the score. It was the first instance that a batsman had scored a century and found himself on the losing side. It was an awesome win. The memories will remain quiet fresh for a long time. The celebrations and the joys were for all to see as Holi, Diwali, X-Mas, Eid, Independence and republic Day had come together. It was a joyous moment for us all to cherish, beyond the seas, as FB and twitter were updates by friends beyond the good seven seas. Indian team won the world cup in style defeating pervious world cup holders in sequence, West Indies, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the precise order in which these teams won the world. This was just for trivia, surreal but incident.

Toss goes for a toss – along with selections.

This was a first of sorts in the matches I have seen, two tosses Crowe didn’t hell Sanga’s call and the toss flipped again. The jury is still out on who won the toss but then it doesn’t matter any more.
Dhoni replaced Nehra with a lucky charm of sorts, Sreesanth, what he did was to add charm to Lankan score. Lankans on their part were forced to make four changes. A couple of changes made sense, but four changes in the final? Angelo Matthews was injured forcing the Lankan side to be over balanced with a longish tail. Thisara, Kulasekara, Kapugedara, Randiv were replacing Mendis, Matthews. Mendis not playing was a bigger blunder, he can run through a middle order is pretty accurate bowls to attacking fields. A few Indian batsmen would have thought their prayers of not wanting to bat against Mendis were answers. Its tough to say what Mendis would have done, but if anyone saw India-Pak match, the Indians bats most competent against spin had no clue what Saeed Ajmal was bowling. Afridi too him out of the attack and that was the turning point of the game. I think Mendis would have fancied himself against Indian batsmen. He would have done better then Randiv on most accounts.

Indian bowling in rhythm and control

Zaheer bowled three maidens in his first five overs. It was not until Sreesanth was bought into the attack did he charm Lankan batsman into making runs, otherwise Zaheer had kept the Lankans batsman quiet. The fielding was superb, it was not only the best fielding effort in the tournament it was one of the best fielding efforts in last 50 games or so. Yuvraj Singh could do no wrong, diving and attacking and cutting the angles down. This helped Indian bowling to look more incisive. It was for our fielding that we saved 20-25 runs or we would be chasing in excess of 300 runs.

A single problem that haunts every single time.

Bhajji bowling round the wicket to right-handers doesn’t help him one bit, Dilshan’s wicket was a bonus rather than coaxing the batsman into a false stroke. Bhajji bowling round the wicket actually helped Sanga and Jayawardene to get in and have a partnership going. Bhajji bowling round the wicket negates a few modes of dismissals the classic bowled though the gate, the edge of a straighter delivery and the LBW. Jayawardene and Sanga who are class acts and classic touch players would have smiled to themselves as they knew only way getting out was to fool themselves. A steady partnership paved way for an imposing total; bowlers were changed and rotated adding resolve to Lankan batting. Yuvraj meanwhile did get Sanga after he edge one to Dhoni. The best part of Indian bowling was now a thing of the past.

Jayawardene pulls in his weight in with a ton.

Jayawardene is one of the last classic touch players in the power hitting game of today. There was no bowler to challenge him, there was no one who made him think and wanting to get off strike and think to do different. His play proved once again the brain still commands a premium when viz a viz to brawn. It was for the first grit and indomitable will was on show. Jayawardene kept stringing some effective and vital leadership. The Indian bowling seems to break step and wither against touch play of Jayawardene. The shots he seems to hit were nothing more than changing the direction of the deliveries and guiding them into the empty spaces. The lower end batsmen used the long handle and the crease really well while Jayawardene shepherd them at the end. His 10o was a glittering achievement. His innings ensured Indians had their task cut out and forced them to put their best foot forward.
Blink and blank

Sehwag forced of to the back foot by Malinga straighter delivery. He was wrapped on the pads and was plumb in front. His dismissal caused many fissure in Indian hopes of chasing a gallant score. It was the second delivery f the innings that claimed Sewage, a rare ducked. Sehwag’s world cup had started with a valiant 175 ended with a cipher - touching a sky and crashing landing. Gambhir tough kept the trend of staring the Indian scoring with a boundary, that shot would have given him a feel good factor. Malinga was assisted with Kulasekara at the other end. Tendulkar decided to cut loose few boundaries and few dot deliveries a story in the making of a thrilling encounter. Tendudlkar edged one off Malinga and Sanga did the rest, India 31/2. The method and the madness both back in the hut. Kohli and Gambhir had a massive repair job to do.

Serene and Serious Gautam Gambhir.

At 31/2 and a competitive bowling line up to face Gambhir and Kohli started cautiously. A flurry of boundaries and changing strike with singles helped string partnerships and that gave enough momentum to the side. Virat got out to a very sharp return catch accepted by Dilshan a good 80 plus run partnership soothe a lot of nerves. This partnership ensured that the run rate required was never too daunting. A run rate of six was manageable, as Dhoni and Yuvraj along with Raina would give it more than a chance. The sign of things to come, a change in the tide

Kohli dismissal got Dhoni to the crease. Dhoni the captain self promoted himself to negate the spinners. The Indian captain is a better player of spin then Raina and Yuvraj put together. A left and right-handed effort negated the advantage of Lankan spinners. Murali was bought on the attack pretty much like an after thought. A slow start by Dhoni and Gambhir. Their effort showed the indomitable will for the second time in the match. The second doggedness would prove too good for Lankans. Gambhir and Dhoni flayed the Lankans like King Viv and Collins King in 1979 final. They didn’t quiet match Viv and Kings swagger but Collin Kings would have felt good seeing Dhoni bat. He hit some powerful extra cover drives and Murali was clueless, he started slow but caught with a run a ball rate by the time he stuck his half century. Gambhir and Dhoni almost sealed the game, and when Indians crossed 200, it was a matter of time before the cup was lifted.

Gambhir goes, Yuvraj enters.

Gambhir played a tired looking shot and saw the stumps shattered. Yuvraj came to the crease and struck the fourth ball he faced to a boundary, India was four runs closer. Dhoni and Yuvraj ran quick between the wickets, Dhoni had a close call but was saved by just a frame, the game also saw some nervous moments and then floodgates open and Nuwan Kulasekara and Malinga were dispatched all over. Dhoni was on strike when India was a hit away from a famous win. He hit one out of the park that celebrated chaotic celebrations across the country.

Indian high on MSD

He is the man of the moment. He is the captain who whose team won the world. There is a lot of adulation that he deserves. He leads a team who are ODI World Champions and Numero uno in Test matches no wonder we the fans are grinning year to year. This man has just started his journey there are more peaks for him to conquer.

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