Archive for March, 2011


India beat arch rivals Pakistan yesterday, to get into the final match of the biggest tournament in cricket. Now they will face Sri Lanka in the World Cup final on Saturday.

I wanted to write this post immediately after the match ended yesterday, but probably as the match ended being an Indian cricket fanatic, I was on cloud nine. And it has taken me almost half a day to get back to normal and write the post. I went to have ice cream late night after the match with my family. And that is time I realized that I am not the only cricket crazy person over here. There are many more cricket crazy people around. There were hundreds of bike riders, riding away to glory, carrying Indian flags, and chanting “India..India”. My grandmother was really amazed seeing such type of behavior and enthusiasm all around. I guess this is what an India-Pakistan match does to the country. When the match started the country had got to a halt, and then as the match ended everyone burst out of their homes in a joyful mood. I later too joined my friends late after midnight to celebrate the Indian victory. Probably this is the day I will not forget for a long time. In fact now I have planned for a bigger celebration if India wins the world cup final.

Now coming back to the match, I won’t say it was a one sided affair. But yes India did manage to win it convincingly in the end defeating Pakistan by a comfortable 29 runs. Though Pakistan had their moments and built up the enthusiasm right till the end. It started great for India as Sehwag got away to a flier, but once he left, it was probably more of a struggle to score runs. Sachin got as many as 6 lives in the match (he was dropped 4 times, a stumping was missed and an LBW decision was turned over by the review system). I don’t think that Sachin would have got these many chances in his complete career as well. However, this opportunity also did not help him scoring his 100th international hundred. But definitely his 85 run knock was the crucial point in India’s win. Gambhir did start well, but I guess he got flown away in emotions and almost threw his wicket. And then Kohli was scratchy, and got out at what can be called as a crucial stage, especially because the very next ball Yuvraj was dismissed to an almost unplayable delivery. Dhoni again was not at his best, but did try hard to help India recover from the two quick jolts. On the other hand Raina played well towards the end, which again raises a question to my mind as why wasn’t he played in the earlier matches of the tournament. Anyways India managed to score 260 runs, though which was too less compared to what everyone felt especially after the start the team had got. The scores dipped from a probable 330 to 300 to 280 and finally ended 260.

Then started the second session where India had to restrict Pakistan to less than 260. It looked a herculean task, because Pakistan bat very deep in the order, and India’s bowling has been a problem in the world cup. But since the last two matches India’s bowling and fielding has been improving by the rate of knots.

And once again when the fans were feeling low, Indian team picked themselves to just another level. Every bowler raised his game to the occasion. Though Zaheer was the most expensive of the lot, but he bowled in the situations of the match when the Pakistani players were trying to score hard, and his two crucial wickets were very important. Same is the case with Nehra and Munaf. Well everyone was shocked with their inclusion in the game, but they justified it very well. Both of them bowled their skins out and probably this has been their best effort in the tournament, I one must say what a time to get this. Harbhajan Singh has been a disappointment in the tournament especially since he has not been able to pick up wickets that were expected of him, but in this match he almost turned the game in India’s favor by picking two wickets of the most dangerous batsman and at crucial times. And now the recent batsman turned all-rounder Yuvraj, played his part as well. He was a little expensive but picked two important top order wickets which allowed every other bowler to build the pressure.

With this win, India have kept their World Cup unbeaten record against Pakistan intact. I guess everyone was confident, rather over confident of India’s win seeing the past history. But now I have understood why everyone felt that. Though as Shahid Afridi had said before the match that Pakistan would not allow Sachin to get to the magic figure, and yes they succeeded in that, but the 85 runs that Sachin did score proved a little too costly for the Pakistan team.

ll in all this was a great team effort. But the job is not over yet, India will face Sri Lanka in the finals. Sri Lankan batsmen have been on fire especially their top order, and their bowling is nowhere close to being a weak one. So this match is not going to be a close one.

Well the stage is set for the grand finale. And everything is falling into place. The match is in Sachin’s home, Mumbai. And what a time this will be for him to get to his 100th international hundred. World Cup finals, in India, and to top it all in Mumbai, in front of home crowd on home ground. What else can anybody dream of? If this hundred can lead to the World Cup win, I guess that moment Sachin will remember all his life.

But the task is not easy. Sri Lanka is team because of whom India had to see the end of their World Cup campaigns in 1996 and 2007. I guess this is right to avenge those losses. The team has been doing well, but I somehow still believe that Pathan should come into the side, in place of Kohli. Though I was unhappy that Ashwin was dropped for the side, but Nehra’s and Munaf’s will only add to the selection headache. But that is a nice thing to have I believe.
In the end I would like to congratulate India for this memorable victory, and also wish them all the best for the big match on Saturday.


It is now going to be a dream Wednesday next. An India Pakistan semi final in a tournament like world cup, how much more can any cricket fan ask for. And that too followed by an India Australia quarter finals. Amazing….

Finally India has shown why it is a top contender to pick up the trophy this time. The beat the last 3 time world champions Australia comprehensively. I do not think anyone expected India to pick up their game to such a high level today. I knew that it was very much possible for India to defeat Australia, but they had to play their best cricket for that. And India did exactly that!
Suddenly, the Indian team has risen up to every ones expectations, and almost has silenced all the criticism that the team was receiving in the last couple of weeks.

R Ashwin- bowled very well...

Today the bowling was good, disciplined, except Munaf Patel. And yes Harbhajan Singh was good but disappointing because he expected to pick up wickets and probably dismiss the top middle order for India. But again he has gone wicket less which has been disappointing. Zaheer was very good again, as usual. Ashwin was brilliant too, now this really confuses me why wasn’t he played earlier. And not to forget Yuvraj, the all rounder was amazing. He was very good with the ball again picking up 2 crucial wickets.

He crossed 18000 run mark

Now with the bat, I must say India played really well chasing. Both Sachin and Sehwag gave a decent start. Though I expected Sehwag to score a few more, and more quickly. Sachin was brilliant till he was dismissed. He scored a very important 50, also surprising the 18000 run mark in one day internationals. Gautam Gambhir played a very good knock, scored a 50 but then could not continue.  Then came Virat Kohli who got decent start but just threw it away and then MS Dhoni also got out leaving India 5 wickets down with over 70 runs to get. And then when everyone was losing hope Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina scripted a victory that Indians will remember for a very long time to run. Both these players played as if there was no tomorrow. To play Raina today was a masterstroke I must say. He played very sensibly and got India home at the end. India has lost wickets in heaps earlier, and today I realized the difference. It was Suresh Raina. The team needed a player like him, as been has been a finisher for the team over the past few years.

And now a talk on Yuvraj Singh. He has been brilliant in the series so far. He has emerged as the all rounder that the team has needed. Today also he played a match winning knock. And the form that he has shown, especially when his place in the playing XI before the start of the tournament was also on doubt is something explicable.  And yes let me acknowledge the team for the last part as well, the fielding department. Today India fielded very well, something one does not see every day.

And yes in the end I would like to point out the effort of Australian captain Ricky Ponting. he played an amzing innings under pressure, but lost to the young Indian exuberance. And suddenly the team that had not lost a single match in the last 2 World Cups, has lost 2 consecutive matches and is out of the tournament. It must have heart breaking for Ponting as this edition could have made him the first captain to win 3 consecutive World Cups. 

Now the world will look forward to the high profile match on Wednesday, 30th March 2011. The game between arch rivals India and Pakistan. Surprisingly Pakistan has been very good in the tournament so far and defeating them will not be easy for India. Though if I look at the World Cup history I would be very relaxed, because Pakistan has never been able to defeat India in World Cups.  But will this record remain intact after next week, I hope that happens. But one can never say anything as cricket is very unpredictable and is know that records break every now and then. And if Pakistan manage their first ever win against India, it will be the ideal situation to do so.

Suresh Raina - India's masterstroke in the game..

Now coming to India’s strategy for the next match. I believe they should drop Munaf Patel, he has been given an extended run. Maybe Sreesanth can come back in his place. That would get some fire back into the opening attack. The other change can be getting Yusuf back in place of Virat Kohli. Now that can be very harsh on Virat, but with Yuvraj in top form he can come in at no. 4 followed by Dhoni. Then I do not believe Virat is of any use at no. 6 or 7. That is the place where Pathan can come handy and can be very dangerous towards the end of the innings. And yes Pathan can be handy with the ball as well, though I am not really sure if that would help against Pakistan who play spin bowling well. But anyways these decisions are to be taken by the management.

Hopefully India will play some great cricket in the next match and move into the finals very easily. And yes not to forget 2 matches (semi-final and finals) left, the stage is set for Sachin to score his 100th international hundred, and then score his 50th one day hundred in the finals. Amazing way for Sachin to fulfil the dream of picking up the World Cup trophy.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the next match. Hopefully India will win!


The first stage of the event is over, and the second stage will start in 2 days from now. Unlike the previous three editions, this time the tournament is going the tournament is going to have three knock stages, which are the quarters, semis and lastly the grand finale. The schedule for the quarterfinals is as below: 

Q-F MATCH DATE TEAMS VENUE
1 March 23, 2011 Pakistan v West Indies Dhaka
2 March 24, 2011 Australiav India Ahmedabad
3 March 25, 2011 South Africa v New Zealand Dhaka
4 March 26, 2011 Sri Lankav England Colombo

There are no surprises in the final eight teams that have come through. Although, Bangladesh did fight very hard to squeeze through, but could not make it in the end. Surprisingly, Australia has not topped its group; in fact it has ended the first stage at third position. And again surprisingly Pakistan has topped the group. No surprises on the other two teams in the group A to qualify. I had expected Sri Lanka to end second in the group, and New Zealand fourth or probably third, once they had defeated Pakistan, but it has not turned out that way in the end.

In group B, the matches have been very different than expected. However, there are no unexpected results there. The ranking I had thought initially has eventually happened, but the surprising thing is how it has happened. South Africa topped the group, India second, England third, followed by West Indies. However, I had given a chance to Bangladesh to make the cut; but unfortunately, they lost out on the net run rate.

Now if India can defeat Australia, it can well probably be an India-Pakistan, high profile semi-final clash. But India will have to defeat Australia; it looks very difficult, but possible. Hopefully that will happen.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the tournament ahead.


India defeat West Indies convincingly, and move through to the quarters. Though this is India’s first win against a big team in the group, but one has to also know that they have lost only one game in the tournament. Still why are questions being raised on the team?

Well the answer to this would be the fashion in which the wins have come. Against Bangladesh, India scored a mammoth 370 but still leaked over 280 runs. Next in line against England, India scored 338 runs, but still could not win the game; luckily they did not lose it. In the game against Ireland the bowlers again failed, except the part timer Yuvraj Singh, who saved the grace with his 5 wicket haul. Again while chasing India lost the top 4 wickets for less than 100 runs on the board. In the game against Netherlands finally the bowling did come good, but the top order batsman failed but yes the team managed to win. In the match against the South Africans, the top order fired, but the middle order failed, and the bowling also leaked runs, and lost the game in the last over. The worst part was India looks to reach 400 at one stage in that match, but failed to score 300 as well. In the match also the top order played well, while the middle and lower failed again. But the bowling was convincing today, and the team managed to win.

The weakness of the team cannot be really determined. Let me just summarize it over here:
Matches: 6
Won: 4
Lost: 1
Tied:1

  • Top order played well: 4/6 games
  • Middle and lower order played well: 2/6 games
  • Bowling was good: 2.5/6 games (0.5 because the bowling was not good against Ireland, but Yuvraj managed to save the grace)
  • India has batted first in 4 games, and has been all out in 3 of them, without completing the full quota. However, in each of these games there has at least been 1 centurion.
  • The worst part is in these three games, against England India have lost 7 wickets in the last 5 overs for just 33 runs. Against South Africa India lost 9 wickets in the last 11 overs for just 29 runs. And today India lost 7 wickets in the last 9 overs for just 50 runs. This is the worst part when the middle order has not only failed to capitalize on the start given by the top order, but has also thrown away many good chances.

But the main and the final thing is that India has made it to the top 8, and from here it will be a knock out stage. So they have to play really very well, if they want to have a chance of winning the world cup. And the kind of form India has shown so far, I definitely feel, India needs to buck up, if they want to win and go ahead.

In the end I would like to wish India all the best for its future matches. Hopefully they will not disappoint anymore.


Bangladesh defeat England with two wickets. What an amazing result, and this opens up the group B completely. Now England is in deep trouble. But I must say, I was expecting this result, in fact I had expected Bangladesh to defeat West Indies as well, but I was shocked to see them lose in such a one sided manner.

But it is really good to see them lift themselves up after a pathetic performance, and come up good. Though I must say that they had somewhat lost the plot in between, and it looked like it is going to be another Bangladesh middle order collapse, but their lower proved too good in these circumstances and brought them a well deserved victory.

On the other hand England has had 5 very, very close games. They won the first, probably because of the inexperience of Netherland team. The second was a tie against India, thanks to the late brilliance of Zaheer Khan. The third they lost to the spirited Ireland, and in the fourth they managed to snatch victory from South Africa’s mouth thanks to South Africa’s middle order collapse. And now against Bangladesh the lose again a close match, especially if one sees that they had Bangladesh 8 wickets down with still over 60 runs to get. Now they have their last match against West Indies which they have to win, or they will probably be out of the tournament. But if they look back at their tournament so far, they would realize that they have been consistently inconsistent. They have played out all close games, maybe only a difference f one over could have them at 5 losses or 5 wins, instead of their current 2 losses, 2 wins, and 1 tie.

I also wanted to mention about Ireland team here. Today again, they lost against West Indies fighting. They had their chances but just could not grab them due to their inexperience. That is why; I am feeling very sad for them, as they are probably out of the tournament now, only probably. But I must salute them for their courage and fighting spirit. They really have played well in the tournament. Now I feel had they been in group A, probably they could have made it to the next stage. After seeing their effort, I would like to request ICC to promote Ireland cricket more, they definitely need encouragement.

At the end, this result makes me happy because it somewhat consolidates the position of the Indian team at the top for some time. As it is known that higher you finish in the group the better it is and easier it might be in the quarter final stage.