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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

World Cup 2011 - India end up 2nd in group

West Indies had not won a match against teams other than Bangladesh (or lowly ranked teams) for almost 2 years. India is currently the second-ranked ODI team in the world, going into the World Cup. Of course, they were one of the favorites to win the tournament at home. If one sees the scorecard after 2-3 years, the first thought that will come to mind is that it was an easy win for the Indians with 80 runs separating the two teams. Castrol Index also suggests a 34 difference between the 2 teams (165-131)

But that was not the way the match went. India started on the back-foot thanks to the perfect ball from Ravi Rampaul, who is another bowler who fancies taking wickets against the Indians. Gambhir threw his bat at a wide one to be taken on the boundary. Virat Kohli and Yuvraj then started a rearguard action to get the batting back on track. Yuvraj was lucky to be dropped twice by Sammy in two consecutive overs, both difficult chances. Kohli was his usual self, scoring runs at a confidence that seems to be growing every match.

Yuvraj was suffering from 'stomach cramps' (as he mentioned in his speech) and it was difficult to understand why the team management did not ask him to come back. He is invaluable now in his bowling avatar and one did not know whether he will get well for the second innings. He continued and stuck to his job gamely while Kohli decided to throw his bat at an inopportune time. The long batting order has somehow given the Indians a sense of over-confidence on the next set of batsmen to follow. Hence, those who are settled feel that they should start taking more risks with the sense of security based on the lineup on paper. This game, the batsmen were a bit careful while the overs were running away but even then, could not help in avoiding the collapse.

Dhoni had mentioned in the previous match that batsmen should not play for the gallery but one could blame him for the same error in this match. Bishoo was bowling so well that either he or Yuvi were not able to get him away. MSD thought that he could do his skip down the track like yesteryears and hit him off the line. But, he was second best this case. Raina fell sweeping and Yuvraj was out just before the Batting PowerPlay was supposed to start. Familiar tale once again - Pathan was yorked by Rampaul while Harbhajan was dismissed by a great catch by Pollard. Ashwin threw his bat around but the others did not stay with him again. Here is where the attitude of Munaf Patel was irritating to say the least. He deems that he is in the eleven to bowl only and hence need not contribute with the bat or field - once this campaign is over, the first thing the selectors have to do is to dump him.

The presence of Ashwin in the team gives Dhoni an opportunity to use him in PowerPlays along with Zaheer Khan, something he promptly utilized. Patel was not to be seen even after 25 overs. Harbhajan was bowling as usual but things were looking good for Windies with Devon Smith and Sarwan rotating the strike and scoring runs quite easily until Zak was brought back to make use of the reverse swing.

Once the breakthrough was obtained, the innings went on a downward spiral - Dhoni attacked with the spinners at one end and pace at the other to pick up wickets frequently. Yuvraj again picked up wickets with his loop and spin, something that is missing when Bhajji bowls! The fielding was decent and the Indians did not need any further invitation to win the match.

Ashwin performed well and that meant that the Indian team has another wicket-taking bowler to its arsenal. How it utilizes him and the others in the Quarter-final remains to be seen.
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