Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Strong Statement...

India Vs South Africa

With 130 runs win over South Africa, India made a strong statement. Yeah, we are not pushovers in this WC. More importantly, we are here to defend it !!!

I had my judgment reserved despite resounding victory over arch-rivals Pakistan. After all, Pakistan isn’t a great side in this this edition and India defeating Pakistan was always on the cards. But India defeating South Africa wasn’t expected. I’m sure even the most optimistic supporter would buy me. And here, India beat South Africa (one of the favorites to win this edition of the tournament), very convincingly. The message is now very loud and clear. From here on, it’s all about how any other team can snatch the trophy from India.

Coming back, India played extremely good against South Africa. After the early loss of Rohit Sharma to a poor run out, Kohli walked in to join Dhawan. Kohli curbed his aggressive instinct only to stitch a 120 runs partnership with Dhawan that laid the foundation for India’s big total. Kohli played a classic anchor for his 46 that included just 3 fours, which is very unusual of him. On the other hand, Dhawan, was altogether playing in a different planet. Did I crib before for selecting Dhawan? Well, I’m here happily chewing my words. That was a classic Dhawan show. Upper cuts, smashing square cuts, gorgeous cover drives, thudding pulls… he was truly on a zone to pile 137 runs. If that wasn’t enough, Rahane delivered a beauty towards the latter half of Indian Innings to score quick fire 79. For the solid foundation laid by Dhawan, Kohli and Rahane, it would have been fitting, if India ended up with a total of 325+. Never mind, 307 isn’t small total on MCG.  South Africa losing was only a formality. But the way India pushed South Africa to surrender inside 175 is THE STATEMENT. India is the team to watch out from here!!!

Pakistan Vs West Indies
Good to see West Indies win this match and come back into the tournament strongly. Pakistan on the other hand put a very pitiable display. I wish Pakistan take these defeats into stride and put better show in the remaining encounters. Honestly, it is difficult to stay optimistic on Pakistan chances. There is no point in Pakistan playing with fear. It is time to overcome the anxiety and start playing Akmal - Afridi at the top for any change of fortune. Without any rearguard action, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pakistan finishes behind Zimbabwe. Hopefully they turn into party poopers at some point in the tournament. 

West Indies Vs Zimbabwe
At the time when Gayle was criticized for no show, here he delivered the first double century of the WC. A rampage that started late after 35 overs when Gayle just reached the century. Samuels gave good company and he made his presence felt with a century. Good to see West Indies reclaiming their composure after the upset over Ireland. It would be very interesting to watch West Indies Vs South Africa. I’m not sure if Bravo is ready by then.  

New Zealand Vs England
Nobody expected this game to be so one sided. England fell like a deck of cards to Southee’s late swingers. No batsman was willing to put their head down and support Root at the other end. In the end, England bundled to a paltry 125.  After Southee’s swingers, one would be tempted to expect an Anderson magic. McCullum completely took him to cleaners was a laugh riot.

I would say, it is little harsh on England to start their campaign against Australia and New Zealand, the two top sides of the pool. So defeats in these two matches were expected. The manner in which England were defeated was a tough pill to swallow. With Bangladesh game against Australia washed out, Bangladesh earned a point which they were supposed to lose. The game between England and Bangladesh will more or less decide who will proceed to the playoffs. Both pools have started to excite with each game making a purpose.

Thanks to associates for producing nail biters. Ireland Vs and UAE and Afganistan Vs Scotland and also the good fight by Afganistan against Sri Lanka.

Games to watch

New Zealand Vs Australia

West Indies Vs South Africa

Dinesh

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