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Monday, April 04, 2011

World Cup 2011 - A team effort surely

We are the Champions of the World - Courtesy Castrol Cricket Site
The Indian team has been partying hard from the night of April 2nd - once MS Dhoni hit the winning six. All the team members played in a minimum of two matches in the tournament - no one was Valson-ed (for all the young bloggers, Sunil Valson was the lone player in the 1983 tournament who did not play a single match). A look at the statistics page reveals the contribution done but some of them go beyond just statistics. Let us look at their key moments in the tournament.
  • MS Dhoni. The captain led from the front, especially in the finals. He had his share of misses and hits with his decisions but as one could see, created the luck that got his team the World Cup.
  • Virender Sehwag. He hit such a high in the first match against Bangladesh that everything else paled in comparison. That his 175 came just after he announced his intention to play 50 overs was more than coincidental.
  • Sachin Tendulkar. Two centuries that took his tally to 99. A Man-of-Match in the semifinals against Pakistan that he would have not wanted. He would have given all of it away for the medal he received at the end of the tournament - Winner!!
  • Gautam Gambhir - the final brought the best of a fighter who had made small contributions in most of the matches. He is one vital cog in Dhoni's future team that will continue his dream. 
  • Yuvraj Singh. Even though he did everything right (only a perfect yorker could stop his run-flow), his innings against Australia was the high-point in this tournament. 
  • Virat Kohli. Like Sehwag, he scored a century in the first match of the tournament and failed to match it. Virat, though, contributed several runs by his agile fielding skills.
  • Suresh Raina. The fittest player in the Indian team, Raina played a critical knock against Pakistan in the final overs that helped in putting a decent score on the board. His contribution to the win against Australia was equally critical, if one can look over his fielding at all.
  • Yusuf Pathan. Another player of the future, who could not get a look-in because of Kohli & Raina's better fielding skills. He played a good cameo against Ireland that hastened the victory much earlier than what one anticipated it to be.
  • Harbhajan Singh. The wickets of Umar Akmal & Shahid Afridi would have to be the highlight of his bowling throughout the tournament. These two strikes were worth their weight in gold, catapulting the Pakistan team to defeat.
  • Piyush Chawla. He was given the confidence by his skipper and partly repaid it. He kept his composure and dismissed Shezad after being stuck by sixes. He was hampered by lack of international match practice, which showed.
  • Ravichandran Ashwin. There was a lot of crowd support for this lad that added to the pressure of Dhoni during press conference. He showed that he could be a good addition to the team with his diverse skills. His dismissal of Shane Watson against Australia started the slide.
  • Zaheer Khan. What can one say about this bowler? He was on a mission to prove that his performance in 2003 final was an aberration. His spell against England to revive the match was stuff that dreams are made of.
  • Munaf Patel. Often criticized for his uni-dimensional skills, Munaf delivered with the ball more often than not. His dismissal of Razzaq in the semis was well thought-out and executed to the point. Everyone is aware how dangerous the allrounder can be on his day - the slower leg-cutter of Munaf put an end to his aspirations. 
  • Ashish Nehra. Another uni-dimensional bowler who delivered on a pitch that was helping the slower bowlers more. His spell in the slog overs during the Pakistan match was superb.
  • Sreesanth. What can one say about this bowler? A gamble that was picked in the first and last match of the tournament - Sreesanth was the only one who did not contribute much - no wickets in the two matches. Economy rate of 8+. No catches taken in the tournament at all. Anyway, everything is forgotten, Sree. You were probably the lucky charm for MSD - one of the common links between the 2 World Cup victories under Dhoni.
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