All round effort
Carrying on from Sanjay’s previous post titled “Did India deserve the win?” after the Pakistan game, I can whole heartedly say that India *did* deserve to win, not just the Pakistan game, but the World up itself .
This may not have been as dominant as, say Australia’s two previous World cup performances, but India lost just one game in the tournament (and it was a close one). India also looked vulnerable at different stages in the tournament, and made mistakes through out – mistakes such as team selections, bowling changes, batting power plays, and so on – but when it really mattered there was someone to step up and perform.
India was also predominantly a batting team – and it shows in the statistics with four players in the top 8. Even without a strong bowling, India managed to have 2 bowlers in the top eight wicket tickers in the tournament – Zaheer Khan was just brilliant with 21 wickets and Yuvraj took 15 wickets (which for a “part-timer” is sensational). India needed more than just one or two players to shine and that is exactly what happened.
Fairly tale endings don’t happen?
The romantics of Indian cricket were hoping for a fairy tale finish – Tendulkar scoring his hundredth hundred in front of this home crowd, and winning the World cup at home.
But guess what? Tendulkar, by his standards had an ordinary final. And in a way, I am glad he did. It gives the others a chance to step up and perform – not that they haven’t been performing. You may not buy into this convoluted argument – but, I think the others stepping up and winning the cup for Tendulkar is a better finish than Tendulkar doing it himself.
The game started with the much eagerly awaited toss, and then the Match referee muffs it up. Seriously, the only real thing that JJ Crowe had to do was handle the toss. Was that asking for too much? At least you couldn’t have asked for better umpires for the final – Aleem Dar and Simon Taufel.
India had to make one forced change to the team, but Sri Lanka ended up making 4! That’s right – four! And the only thing more surprising than Sreesanth’s inclusion was the exclusion of Mendis from the Sri Lankan team. If you thought that Sreesanth’s inclusion after close to 6 weeks warming the bench was odd, what about Randiv, who actually replaced Mendis? – he was pulled from obscurity and drafted into the team just for the finals. Randiv did perform decently, though – and as for Sreesanth – well, he provided the motivation for Dhoni . Here is what Dhoni had to say –
I took a quite few decisions tonight, if we hadn’t won I would have been asked quite a few questions: Why no Ashwin, why Sreesanth, why no Yuvraj, why did I bat ahead?! That pushed me and motivated to do well
Dev’s catch vs Dhoni’s six
Indian cricket fans have had to hold on to that Kapil Dev catch off Richards as the World cup moment for India thus far (and @Mohank tweeted about it too last night). Not that there was anything wrong with that catch, but we’ve been watching it for 28 years, and I am glad it will now be replaced by the six with which Dhoni brought about the win. And what a strike it was – the slow mo when the camera panned to the expression on his face and his eyes said it all!
Expect to see that six being replayed over and over and over again.
Seize the moment
Dhoni may have lost his #1 ODI ranking as a batsmen, and he may have had an ordinary outing with the bat coming into the final, but you have to watch the innings to realise why he is the highest paid cricketer in India (and the world!) and why he is regarded so highly. You have to give it to him for seizing the occasion and coming up with a winning captains knock.
Batting himself ahead of Yuvraj the in-form batsmen was questionable, but he did pull it off – and how.
Pacing of his innings
One thing that stood out in Dhoni innings was the way he paced his innings Here is a bit of stats –
- Dhoni didn’t hit his first four till his 25th ball
- His first 25 balls fetched 17 runs. His next 25 balls yielded 29 runs, and the last 28 balls yielded 45 runs.
- You can look at it another way – Dhoni scored 50 of 52 balls. The next 41 came of 26 balls.
Srikanth had written during the last world cup about the water carriers in world cups. Dhoni ensured that every player got at least 2 games to play in the World cup – but the two players who have had the least impact for India in this cup have been Chawla and Sreesanth, in my opinion. One could even argue about Pathan. But now that India has won, I don’t think anybody cares
Relief for people watching TV
We had to endure 48 days of torture that Ravi Shastri, Rameez Raja, Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar, etc etc delivered in the form of commentary on TV – Now that the World cup has finished we don’t have to listen to them anymore. “This is exactly what the Doctor ordered”
But wait, this is only temporary – the IPL is set to start soon
But I’ll tell you what, I am prepared to go through the same torture again if India put on another show like this in the next world cup in Australia. With the likes of Healy and Slater in the commentary box, it is going to be a lot worse too….
But bring it on…