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Saturday, May 01, 2010

T20 World Cup - India cross the Afghan hurdle

The Indians came up with a clinical performance to defeat the Afghanistan team, though the newcomers did not disappoint the viewers with their performance. The typical dismal shows put up by the Qualifiers in earlier World Cups was not on view with the Afghan putting up a good fight given their constraints.

The World Cup is different from the IPL in many ways more than the obvious ones. The larger grounds, slower out-fields and pitches make the scoring more difficult. Boundaries are no longer assumed to be the case when the ball crosses the inner ring. Batsmen are expected to run twos and threes, which they might have forgotten during the IPL. The target scores will be also less than the average of 180 seen in the IPL. Spin bowlers have made a comeback in this years IPL and this World Cup is also no different. Off the field, the commentary is much better than what we have noticed - no longer the Maximums or the Kamals - we are back to sixes and catches!!

MS Dhoni opted to bowl first because of the early start (catering to the Asian audience for a larger advertising pie) and the fact that he was not aware of what to expect from his opponents. Very soon in the match, Nehra and Zaheer realized that the Afghans were not so comfortable with the short-pitched ball. This led to early wickets but a good partnership in the middle prevented a complete wash-out. All the Indian bowlers had a decent bowl with economic returns, except Yusuf Pathan probably. This match must have given the bowlers a good practice for the next big match.

Afghanistan tried their best which was, as mentioned earlier, much better than what other teams have done previously. In the bowling department, apart from the first over, the Afghans pegged the Indians with their line and length. Some obvious deficiencies were visible in their effort but that will be overcome with more exposure.

The chase was very easy for the Indians thanks to the required run-rate. Gambhir and Raina got out early but Vijay took this opportunity to make a good start in his T20 career - of course, who would not mind a free-hit as the first ball? Yuvraj scratched around and does not seem to be in any form of substance - hopefully, the time spent at the crease will help him against the Proteans. Of course, the Indians will be happy getting into the next round (unless a spectacular turn of events happen. They need to win the match tomorrow against SA to get into a good confident mould as a team.

Well played against your heroes though, Afghanistan. Good job.

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