When Leverock thudded to the ground with a stunner of a catch, the earth shook on impact and then… Virender Sehwag walked in. The immediate thought that came to my mind was that it was bad decision. I thought Mahendra Dhoni should have come in. Sehwag started tentatively poking his bat at the ball outside off. But he settled in and thankfully proved me wrong. Sehwag then restored the faith of his captain with a wonderful century. When Sehwag got to his hundred, I wasn’t sure who was more relieved — Dravid or Sehwag. Sehwag eventually fell trying to go the aerial route on the penultimate ball of powerplay. So powerful was Sehwag’s hitting that the final powerplay wasn’t taken until the 26th over.
Sourav Ganguly on the other end was finding it hard to pick the gaps unless he went over the top. He eventually perished, out stumped trying to hit another six. This was another gritty knock from Saurav Ganguly — it wasn’t as elegant as the Saurav Ganguly of old, but what he missed in elegance was compensated by grit.
Dhoni performed a quick cameo — 29 of 24 with one six. I had expected Sachin Tendulkar to walk in after Ganguly was out, but in came Yuvraj Singh, which was a very bold move.
I agree the bowling wasn’t that strong, but India had to get a big score — it had to be as close to 400 as possible to give them a realistic chance of qualifying to the Super8s and Yuvraj Singh ensured that. Yuvraj Singh completed his 50 with his fourth 6 — all hit over mid wicket. But he wasn’t done yet. He hit three more sixes and when he got out the score was 391. His valuable contribution was 83 of 46 balls. It contained 7 sixes and 3 fours.
If Yuvraj Singh’s batting was outstanding, then it is hard to find a superlative for Sachin Tendulkar’s. He batted at a clip faster than Yuvraj Singh and got to his 50 of just 26 deliveries and finished with 57*. Rahul Dravid hit the last ball of the innings for yet another six and India finished at 413 in its fifty overs.
Only one half of the job has been done. The target for India now would be to get Bermuda out for less than 150.