Monday, March 19, 2012

India vs Pakistan: Game won!

How did it start? And how did it end! Indian supporters would have never thought of this perfect finish against their staunch enemies.

As usual, MS Dhoni lost the toss and Misbah Ul Haq elected to bat first. His decision was a perfect 300+. The way Mohammed Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed started, it looked like Indian bowlers needed to go back and practice hard. Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan were being smothered. Ashok Dinda was probably playing his last match for Team India. 50, 100, 150, 200... Pak score was climbing at 6+ RPO with all 10 wickets in hand. Then came R Ashwin and S Raina to bowl spin. But no luck. Rohit Sharma too tried luck with the white flake, in vain. The Master Blaster too failed to pick any wicket. The senior Pathan, Yusuf bhai, also could not create any magic with the ball. 

All 8 bowlers were hammered. 35 overs, 220 runs and Pak was surely winning this one at that rate. Excellent batting by the Pak openers scoring a TON each. They kept their cool and played calm. But their scoring rate never fell below 5 RPO. So much so was the setback for the spectators that we started missing our Mohali’s bowling line-up “Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel and Yuvraj Singh” None of them were playing today!

And then we issued a formal offer “Just in from BCCI: Whoever, if at all, takes a wicket will be given 3-year contract by an IPL team of their choice!
It worked, Finally, stars smiled at Ashwin and he got Jamshed. Guess Ashwin is happy with CSK, so our offer goes null. But scoring didn’t pause for Pak. But we did see a fabulous catch by Suresh Raina and another marvelous catch by Virat Kohli. Wickets fell, runs came and then, at the end of 50 overs, Pak was at 329-6.

They hit:
27 FOURS = 108 runs
2 SIXES    = 12 runs
Total: 120 runs came of just 29 balls.
Praveen Kumar and Ashok Dinda bagged 2 wickets each while Irfan Pathan and R Ashwin got 1 each.  

Of course everyone was missing Virender Sehwag a lot. That score of 330 would be possible only if we have our firing cannon in action. Little did we know that we’ll win it with 13 balls to spare!

Yes! We won! And how? It wasn’t a dream start at all! Gautam Gambhir OUT on zero meant the end of any chances to win!

On crease were, the most experienced player of Indian Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and probably, his only successor, Virat Kohli. Experienced shots from one end and powerful knocks from the other end. There was no looking back. Virat Kohli kept scoring at a faster rate, Sachin guided him and together they added 133 runs on board. After scoring 52, Sachin Paaji fell the victim to Saeed Ajmal and it was another heart break for Indian supporters.

But to everyone’s surprise, Rohit Sharma came in and didn’t leave the crease so soon. He played slow, his natural game. He took time to acclimatize to the bowling attack and then, hit some very powerful shots. He perfectly complemented Virat Kohli in the biggest run chase of the Indian Cricketing history. Together they scored 172 runs, the biggest 3rd wicket partnership. Team India was at 307-2 and needed only 23 runs to win from 26 balls when Rohit Sharma hit an unwanted shot over long on and got OUT at 68 runs. Virat Kohli was on 150* and going strong. We all wanted him to score 200 and join the league of big names of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. Well, that didn’t happen and Virat Kohli got OUT at 183.

But the number, 183, has its own significance:
Indian batsmen who scored 183 have went on to become a successful captain
S Ganguly - 183 vs Sri Lanka 99 WC
MS Dhoni - 183* vs Sri Lanka 2005
Now V Kohli - 183 vs Pak 2012 So can we safely say that Virat Kohli is the captain in the making?

Back to match, of course, Raina and Dhoni finished the match! Captain cool hit the FOUR and that marked India’s successful run chase at 330 in just 48.5 overs.

This is how we scored: 
34 FOURS = 136 runs
4 SIXES = 24 runs
Total = 160 runs from just 38 balls.

India vs Pakistan matches are never just about Cricket. It involves a lot of emotions and fights and arguments and excitement too! This match had its charm too!

329 + 330 = 659 runs scored in 587 balls; total 3 centuries were scored and 10 wickets fell.

This match also meant that Indian Cricket was developing. Clearly the bowlers have a lot of homework to do. They need more guidance from the seniors. They need to put a lot of hard-work and efforts. Our weakest department needs revamping. We have potential players and this is the perfect time to groom them.  

The batsmen are readying themselves to take up bigger responsibilities and relive the senior from the worries. This means the future of Indian Cricket is going in safe hands and it is time to pass the baton!

It is the transition phase and ups and downs are bound to happen. We win some, we lose some. But what we learn from these matches will play a bigger role in the coming years of Cricket to play.