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Monday, February 21, 2011

World Cup 2011 - India thump Bangladesh

Virender Sehwag , Jat from delhi.The Indians extracted revenge on the Bangladesh team in Mirpur in a convincing fashion, ensuring that their loss against the same team four years ago remained a distant dream. One player who had faltered then, took upon himself to play a very large percentage of the overs. In doing so, Sehwag's score alone was the joint-fourth highest of the World Cup history. It was probably the first time he has played the Batting PowerPlay since it was introduced. Even though he was hampered during the latter phase of the innings, he understood the vagaries of the pitch very well and adjusted his shots accordingly. Viru had, in his pre-match conference, suggested it as a revenge match and that looked to be on his mind throughout the innings. He changed gears on will and willed the non-strikers to play their game confidently. The only blemish from his side was the running out of Sachin Tendulkar - the evidence of not having played together for a long time showed in their calling not just in the dismissal but even during the time spent on the field as well. No wonder his Castrol* Batting Momentum was an amazing 289.

The Indians motored along without any care in the world and also without much of its batting ammunition (Yuvraj, Dhoni and Yusuf) not used - such was the domination. Kohli, as expected, made the playing eleven ahead of Raina and has retained the position after scoring a century. Kohli has played many an innings while batting second but this was an opportunity that came to him on a platter - a mediocre bowling attack and a destroyer at the other end of the crease. With such a cushion, Kohli had to bide his time, take the singles and start playing out the big shots at the end. This was exactly how he executed his stroke-making by the side of Viru, matching the opener with a century that was conjured with less than hundred balls. Yusuf came in with just a few balls to score and could not make much of an impact - in such situations, Yuvi or MSD are better players who can tonk the ball around right from the word go.

The Indian bowling was nowhere near its bowling. Sreesanth came from outside the squad, right into the bowling eleven. This was a chance he should have grabbed with both hands - instead, he was trying to keep Bangladesh in the chase of the large target on hand. He did trouble the batsmen with few balls but that was more like a mirage rather than the norm. I would be surprised if Dhoni goes with Sreesanth or with a three-pacer strategy in remaining matches. In the conditions where the matches are played, it looks a safe bet for India to go with two specialist spinners (Harbhajan and Chawla). The part-timers (Yusuf and Yuvraj) also did a fair job with their bowling. Munaf Patel, as has been his wont recently, made a good impact with the ball (his Castrol* Bowling Efficiency was 110).

A good start for the Indians which has more or less put them through to the quarter-finals (provided they win at least the matches against the other two minnows in the group). At no stage of the match, did Bangladesh (with a Castrol Index of 120) try to catch up with the Indians (Castrol Index of 235). With the ICC further making the home teams stronger by allowing them to play their knockout matches on home-soil, the Indians will play their Quarter-final match at Ahmedabad. Who will be their opponent be? Let us hope it is the No.4 team from the other Group.

* Castrol has come up with various indices to track the performances of the players during the World Cup and that makes it interesting reading. Check this site for more details on how they are calculated.
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