Sunday, March 27, 2016

World Cup T20 : India vs Australia

A crucial match this at Mohali....a virtual quarterfinals....the winner goes through to the semis.
There have been a quite a few ups & downs over the last two days, & as we enter the business of the tournament, the billion plus India fans would be hoping for a favourable results.

Having won the toss, Smith, chose to bat interesting decision....good to put up runs upfront & then put pressure, but, also the fact that India are better in chases, with Virat, having an awesome record while chasing. The pitch looks good for batting, & maybe that must have inspired Smith, with the decision. Dhoni too was happy at the toss, as he too wanted to field.
Khawaja & Finch in first, with Nehra taking the ball..... first ball dispatched to the cover boundary, but Nehra coming back strong by beating Khawaja with variation in the rest of the over. The ball clearly assisting swing & bounce. Bumrah on the other end, came for some stick getting hit for 4 boundaries by Khawaja.....match on. Nehra too, was hit for a couple of boundaries in his next over, as the Aussies raced to 31 in 3 overs. Ashwin came in next, & got clouted for 2 sixes over long on by Finch giving away 21 runs. Fifty for Australia up in the 4th over. Something had to give in & Nehra bowling the 5th over, had Finch survive a skier, but Khawaja, got out caught behind in the next delivery..... the crowd going berserk. The over cost only two runs & got a wicket for India... super stuff, in a pressure cooker situation. Bumrah in for the 6th over, too bowled with inspiration, giving away just 4 was 59 for 1 after power plays......Aussies a shade ahead at this stage. Jadeja too looked sharp in his first over giving just 5 runs. Ashwin back in the attack was still struggling for the right length, & went for a boundary, but he beat Warner for an easy stumping, & India were back in the game.... it was 73 for 2 at the end of 8th over. Yuvi in the 10th over had Smith caught behind to a thin edge off the first ball, & India were looking solid.....74 for 3....end of 10 overs, 81 for 3, as the run rate came sliding down to under eight ( at the beginning it was going over 10). Big Max Maxwell in..... he can decimate any attack on his Dhoni brought in Pandya. It was 93 for 3 after 12 overs...with boundaries having dried out.... 28 deliveries since the last one, as India seemed to be slowly fighting back into the game. 100 came in the 13th over, when finally Finch smashed a mid wicket boundary..... but the very next delivery had him holed out in the deep, as Dhawan pocketed the catch. A set batsman gone for the Aussies....Finch making a sedate 43 off 34 balls. the first 50 runs came in just 22 deliveries, but the next one took 56 balls. At the end of 15 overs it was 114 for 4...the final slog overs coming up, with Maxwell & Watson trying to settle down.
Maxwell, hit a reverse six & a boundary off Jadeja, but got bowled out to Bumrah, just as he was beginning to look dangerous. It was 130 for 5. Next man, Faulkner holed out in the deep for just 10 runs, & Aussies ended their innings for 160 for 6. Nevill  got only two deliveries to bat & hit a boundary & then a six off the last ball, to gather 15 runs in the last over. A decent score, but certainly much lesser than it seemed after the power plays. India should be happy at this stage, to pull back things.

So much would depend on Virat's bat, as India begin their chase.
Rohit & Dhawan started, as Dhwan launched into Hazelwood, hitting a four & then a fabulously pulled six over midwicket..... at end of 3 overs, India were going merry at 18 for no loss. But Dhawan as his usual self got more adventurous & top edged a Coulter Nile delivery to be caught by Khawaja, as India lost her 1st wicket at 23 for 1, bringing in the key Virat Kohli in. In superb nick, he immediately dispatched two boundaries to settle the nerves in the dug out. But Rohit lost his cool & wicket, getting bowled out to Watson in the 6th over, as India started to limp at 37 for 2 at the end of power plays. Raina in next started shaky, but was settling well, but once again, needlessly went after a wide bouncer from Watson & top edged to the keeper, to leave India gasping at 49 for 3. Yuvi in next to join Virat, looked charged for the occasion as India reached 50 for 3 in 8 overs. But he got an edgy boundary & then started to limp for a serious pain...hamstring ???, medics rushed to the ground. This would certainly hurt the running between wickets, Strappings did reduce the pain for a while, as end of 10 overs India reached 65 for 3. Meanwhile, Virat hit a well judged six of Maxwell as 12 runs came off the 12th over. Yuvi too hit a loose delivery for six off Zampa to release the pressure building up. Finally however, Yuvi departed for a well made 21 off 18 balls, as Watson took a super diving catch to get rid of him in the 14th over. They both had added crucial 45 runs in 6.2 overs. Dhoni in next, with the run rate creeping up beyond 11. Both Dhoni & Virat, excellent in running between wickets, it was expected that India will up the ante, & they did, running hard to reach the total to 114 for 4 in 16 overs. It was now, 47 runs required off 24 deliveries. Match on for sure. Kohli, meanwhile reached his 50 off just 39 deliveries, as India reached 122 runs at end of 17th over. Then, Kohli at his imperious best, blasted Faulkner all over the park for 19 priceless runs, as India now looked in control as the score read 141 runs....just 20 to get. Both of them had already added 47 runs in just 4 overs. Kohli then took on Coulter Nile for 4 boundaries, as runs was a magnificent show with the bat. Only 4 runs needed in the last over, as Dhoni hit the winning boundary as usual, in the 1st ball itself. What a win for India, as everybody watching the game were treated to a fascinating display of batsmanship. Kohli remained unbeaten with 82 priceless runs off just 51 balls, as Dhoni hit 18 runs off just 10....both had eventually added 67 runs in just 5.1 overs. Smith would be left to rue his decision of batting first & falling short by some 15 - 20 runs. Virat maintained his incredible record of successful India coast into the semis. Absolutely surreal.
For the Aussies, it was once again, a stumble in this format....& for Watson, what a wonderful final game, as he announced his retirement.....a wonderful player & an ambassador for the game. 
As Virat said at the presentations that he would rank this innings at the top, as he came to take the Man of Match award. 
It would now be against the marauding Windies, the dark horse of the tournament.