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Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 World Cup - India's campaign ends in semis

Hopefully, this is not the image that you want to remember as MS Dhoni's last walk back in a World Cup match. He himself has not ruled out a possible appearance in 2019 but let us see. Dhoni reminded me today of the Bollywood legend, Amitabh Bachchan in 1990's. Why is that?

When Amitabh made his entry into films, he made it big thanks to the combined efforts of directors (Manmohan Singh, Yash Chopra, Prakash Mehra), writers (Salim-Javed) and music directors (RD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal). Hits after hits rained from Amitabh because of this combination. Slowly script-writers split, directors lost their touch, music directors faded away - Amitabh continued to make his impact because of his skill and presence. In the 1990's, things came to such a stage that Amitabh was expected to carry off any role without any backing of script, music or direction. This led to movies which flopped and the halo of Amitabh started vanishing. The legend then went into a self-imposed exile and reappeared in a new avatar to continue his legacy. I wish MSD will also make a comeback in similar vein to take India to new horizons - a supremely fit India that does not fear any team, any where in the world and capable of emulating the 80's Windies and Australians (of the new millennium).

For Indian fans, the campaign came to a screeching halt thanks to one man who terrorized the Indians throughout their stay Down Under - Steve Smith. Without him, Finch would not have been able to settle down without worrying about the run-rate or the state of the match. Without Smith, the Australians would not have been able to build a platform that made the latter batsmen throw their bats around with gay abandon. Steve Smith also contributed to the DRS review of Ajinkya Rahane during Indian innings as well as a catch. What a thorn he has been for the Indians this season?

The Indian bowlers did a good job by picking wickets regularly in the final phase and restricting their target, without being able to replicate their 70/70 performance in the first seven matches. Some of the bad practices that were visible before the World Cup (one poor ball in the over going for a boundary) appeared back. Shami could not make any breakthrough despite a wonderful first spell. Ashwin must have realized how his new style of bowling will get him a lot of wickets as well as plaudits.

On the batting, the Indians continued their trend of not losing a wicket (even if it means scoring slowly) in the first ten overs. Just when they started to accelerate, Dhawan fell and that induced a collapse that needed MSD and Rahane to stem the rot. That passage of play was when the Australians made maximum leverage and tightened the screws on the Indian team. Despite Dhoni's heroics, the end was visible by the 40th over.
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