Saturday, March 19, 2016

World Cup T20 : India vs Pakistan

India vs Pakistan at Eden Gardens.....what better settings, what better atmosphere, what better tensions ..... each player playing out of his skin....humdinger of sorts.

India won the toss & elected to field, in a rain restricted match reduced to 18 overs. The pitch looked good for spin, though promising good for the bat.
Pakistan started cautiously, & evidently so, having lost to India recently at the Asia Cup. The openers did not go for a balst, as Nehra, Bumrah & Ashwin kept a tight leash in the ground. At the end of the power plays, it was 28 runs only, but importantly no wickets lost.
The game changed thereafter, as part time spinner Raina, foxed Sherjeel into a false shot & it was 38 for 1. With pressure building up, Afridi & Ahmed Shehzad also got out holing in deep, with Pandya committing himself to a fascinating catch. Umar Akmal & Shoiab Malik gave some facelift to the batting with some good lusty hits, including a couple of sixes as the score ambled beyond a 100. Two overs by Bumrah & Pandya costed 28 crucial runs, but then Nehra, Jadeja & Bumrah managed to restrict Paksitan to a modest 118 for 5 off the stipulated 18 overs.... not a big one, but certainly a fighting one.....some runs for Afridi to fight with his bowlers. It was now Amir & co, on how they bowled. It was a bit surprising that Dhoni did not use Ashwin's full quota, though he was almost unplayable at the beginning of the innings.

for India, the chase meant, a good strong opening partnership from Rohit & Dhawan. But it was not to be as both the openers perished to poor shots, & Raina too bowled for a first ball duck, leaving India to struggle at 23 for 3 in the fifth over. Md Sami was suddenly looking venomous.
With India on the backfoot & the stadium going completely silent, it was upto Virat Kohli & Yuvraj in the middle to settle the nerves. They did so in style, just like they did in the Asia Cup, stitching a wonderful 61 runs partnership in 44 deliveries, getting India right back in the game. When Yuvraj got out trying to smack a six, in came Captain Cool Dhoni, & with Virat in imperious form, India were home & dry with more than 2 overs to spare winning by 6 wickets. It was vintage Yuvraj, belligerent Kohli & in the end Cool finisher Dhoni...... India maintaining a 100% win record against rivals Pakistan. Over the years, it has been indeed a complete domination. Virat Kohli was the obvious choice for the Man of the Match with an unbeaten 55 off just 37 deliveries, as he is playing beyond his age & grooming himself excellently as India's new age leader ahead.
For India, both the openers & also Raina, need to spur up against genuine pace in juicy wickets to succeed, as its getting tougher for them to make runs. Rohit, of course is a natural stroke maker & would certainly be back to boost the booty.
With this win, India should be back on track & would need to push themselves hard against Aussies & Bangladesh to move into semis.
This tournament is also becoming a chasers win of sorts. Windies against England, England against SA & now India against Pakistan.... big games going that way. Only New Zealand has been able to defend their totals till now. The tournament is really becoming interesting.