Monday, March 21, 2011

World Cup 2011 : India vs West Indies...

India met West Indies at Chennai, for the last match of the group league. The outcome of the match was to decide the quarterfinals line up, & also build in the necessary confidence going into the knockout stage.
Having won the toss on a pitch that was expected to take spin later in the day, India decided to bat first. With Sehwag rested & Ashwin included in place of Nehra, Sachin strode in along with Gambhir.
On the other side, the Windies had surprisingly rested Gayle & Roach, two of their potential match winners & fielded Edwards & Ravi Rampaul. 
Sachin went out early, to a thin nick off Rampaul......he actually walked, despite the umpire giving him not out. An excellent gesture towards sportsmanship, as the crowd went silent. Yuvi batted with purpose along with Virat & together they set up a 122 runs partnership, which took India to safety. Yuvi made the most of the two missed chances, as Sammy dropped him twice, once at 9 & the other at 13, and went on to make a scintillating century, as India posted a total of 268 runs. From a score of 218 for 3 in 42 overs, India collapsed to 268, with the last 7 wickets falling for just 50 runs. The batting powerplay yielded only 28 runs for the loss of 4 wickets, which is obviously a worry for the Indians. Rampaul, made best of his return to the sidein place of the injured Kemar Roach, & bowled excellently to claim 5 wickets for 51 runs. He would certainly now be in contention for the team in the knockout stage.
In reply, buoyed by a good finish with the ball, the Windies came out to bat very positively. Devon Smith led the chase & runs kept coming at a fast clip, as the total reached a commanding 146 for 2 in 27 overs, without any worries. In fact the Indian camp looked hassled & frowns were becoming wider, as Dhoni looked for inspiration form his two front line bowlers, Zaheer & Bhajji. Reposing the confidence, Bhajji managed a maiden over & the Zaheer struck, getting the dangerous Smith out bowled for a brilliant 81. The rest of the batting panicked, & as has been the bane of the Windies batting in recent times, they lost the last 8 wickets for just 34 runs, as India in the final context, won the match by 80 runs. The Windies, had once again made a mess of the chase & lost, as they had conceded the match to England a few days ago. I think, sending Pollard up the order was a bad move, as his early loss cost Windies the match. Maybe a Thomas at that stage would have held the innings well with Sarwan & then Pollard & Sammy could have come in with about 50 -60 runs to chase, & got home with a victory.

For India, the worry has been their batting, the strength are, not sustaining for the full 50 overs, putting enormous pressure on the bowling & fielding, which is not the best in business. The inclusion of Ashwin, would however give Dhoni reasons to cheer, as the off spinner did well in this encounter.
India now faces Australia in the quarterfinals at Motera, Ahmedabad on thursday, & West Indies take on Pakistan on Wednesday.

Man of the Match : Yuvraj was the automatic choice with his 113 runs while batting & also 2 for 18 while bowling. A truly inspiring contribution as an all rounder.