Tag Archives: CB Series

Team on the rise…

Does age matter?

The Australian team has a lot of experience. But that also means old and the majority of their players are on the wrong side of 30. In comparison, only Tendulkar ages over 30 for India. Although the Aussies threw themselves in the field, took some brilliant catches and ran between the wickets well, I do wonder if age did play a part in Australia’s loss in the CB series.

I’ll let you make your own judgement –

India Age Australia  
Chawla 19 Johnson 26
Ishant Sharma 19 Clarke 26
Rohit Sharma 20 Hopes 29
Raina 21 Haddin 30
Praveen Kumar 21 Bracken 30
Tiwary 22 Lee 31
Uthappa 22 Clark 32
Karthik 22 Symonds 32
Pathan 23 Hussey 32
Munaf Patel 24 Ponting 33
Sreesanth 24 Gilchrist 36
Yuvraj Singh 26 Hayden 36
Gambhir 26 Hogg 37
Dhoni 26    
Harbhajan Singh 27    
Sehwag 29    
Tendulkar 34    

 

Bowling and batting reserves

Australia played their full strength team in the CB series – their best batsmen and bowlers played and there was no one on the injury list. But compare this to the Indian team. There was no Zaheer Khan and no RP Singh – two stand out performers for India in the tests, who didn’t play the CB series owing to injury. And their new find – Ishant Sharma also didn’t play in the second final. And two of their top batsmen – Dravid and Ganguly were left out in favour of younger players. In spite of all this, India came out on top – it just goes to show that there is plenty of batting and bowling reserves for India.

Sachin still the master

Expectations from Tendulkar are always high and he didn’t quite live up to those expectations in the early part of the tournament and when he had scores of 5, 0 and 2 some doubts were raised on his batting form. Commentators were even suggesting leaving him out for Sehwag. But when it mattered the most, the little master struck form. His final 3 scores of the tournament read – 63, 117* and 91 – scores that were responsible for India’s eventual win in the tournament.

Leading from the front

Ponting seemed distracted through out the series and if you leave out his score of124 in a match that really didn’t matter for Australia, he averages just 7.4 runs. Australia in the past used to operate under the philosophy that if you get the captain, you get the team. In a reversal of roles, the Aussies found themselves on the receiving end this time, with their captain woefully out of sorts and team suffering as a result.

In contrast, Dhoni averaged close to 70 with the bat and often pulled the team out of trouble. His glove work was good behind the stumps and all the moves he made as a captain (like bringing in Kumar or Chawla) seemed to work. He lead the team from the front and Dhoni should take a lot of credit for the ODI series win.

Sydney Test loss, the turning point

The Melbourne test was almost a practice game for India. Fresh of the plane and with the only tour game rained out, the Indians didn’t have a chance for a real hit out prior to the Melbourne test and it is no wonder they lost the game. They made some improvements in Sydney test, but still lost. You can argue endlessly about bad umpiring decisions, sportsmanship and batting collapses, but the truth of the matter is that the distractions off the field somehow seemed to galvanize the team and their performance since then has been on the raise.

Australia on the other hand let the distractions affect their game and somehow found Harbhajan Singh repeatedly getting on their nerves. It seems they are themselves not immune to their own mental disintegration mantra.

Best team in the World?

The Indian team is certainly improving. They did beat the No.1 team in their own country. But claiming that India is the new leader of World cricket is a bit too rich. There is still plenty of improvements to be made and let us not forget that they didn’t even get past the preliminary round of the World cup last year.

The Aussies played good cricket over a prolonged period of time to claim the title of the best team in the World. India also need to win consistently over a considerable duration of time to claim that title. Until such time, I will only consider it as a team on the rise.

One swallow does not make a summer…

-Mahesh-

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Batting collapses in the series

This CB series has had a fair share of batting collapses. Pretty much every match has had one and here is the list:

  • Match 1: India are on 91 for 2 in the 20th over and by the 27th over, lose the entire middle order (4 wickets) for the addition of just another 11 runs. In the same match, Australia were on 33 for no loss. They then went on to lose Hopes, Gilchrist and Ponting in the space of just 9 balls and if rain hadn’t interrupted play, we could have had another collapse (the ball was swinging around like crazy and the batsmen didn’t look comfortable at all)
  • Match 2: Another rain interrupted match. India were cruising at 68 for no loss in the 15th over. India then went to lose 4 wickets for the addition of just 15 runs. Thankfully, an unbeaten partnership between Dhoni and Gambhir pulled India out of trouble.
  • Match 3: Sri Lanka bowled out for 125! They were at 57 for 2 at one stage, but the middle order collapsed from that to 93 for 7. They could never recover after that.
  • Match 4: This game didn’t have any dramatic batting collapses, but ended up being a low scoring affair with Australia bundled out for 159 and India getting there for the loss of 5 wickets (with a minor hiccup losing three of those wickets between the score of 89 and 102)
  • Match 6: Sri Lanka were on 129 for 4, chasing a total of 236. and although there wasn’t any major collapse, they ended up losing wickets at regular intervals to be all out for 173.
  • Match 7: Another low scoring affair. India managed to keep Australia to 203 runs, and at 134 for 5, were still in with a chance. A Dhoni was then run out and the rest of the wickets folded for the addition of just 19 runs
  • Match 10: The first high scoring game of the tournament. Although there were no dramatic batting collapses, India did lose 3 important wickets at the top of the order – Sehwag, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh for the addition of just 6 runs. That probably cost them the match.
  • Match 11: SL were cruising at 72 for 1 in 14 overs and looked like getting a good score. A loose shot from Sangakarra then started the parade to the pavilion. SL were then reduced to 93 for 7, losing 6 wickets for the addition of just 21 runs! They had a mini recovery of sorts to finish at 179, but the total on  a good wicket was just not enough.
  • Match 12: Sri Lanka scored  just 221 at the MCG, which didn’t seem enough. Hopes and Gilchrist started making a mockery of the Sri Lankan score, when they were at 107 for no loss in just the 15th over. In less than 10 overs, Australia went on to lose 6 wickets for the addition of just 16 runs! 

Just goes on to highlight the importance of not throwing your wicket if you are well set. Take Gilchrist’s wicket in the last innings for instance- he had reached 83 of just 49 balls and if he hadn’t tried to take the aerial route of the next ball, Australia could well have won the game (with a bonus point to boot).

It would be interesting to see what the finals holds and if the teams have learnt anything from these batting collapses.

-Mahesh-

Series for the ‘keepers

We are past the half way mark of the CB Tri-series and one thing that has stood out is that fact that the 3 wicket keepers from the 3 teams have dominated the batting. For Sri Lanka, KC Sangakara has scored 260 runs at an average of 65 with one hundred and one fifty. He has been their best batsman on display so far and has scored close to twice the number of runs of their next best batsmen – his captain Mahela Jayawardene (134 runs).

For Australia, Adam Gilchrist has scored 212 runs at an average of 70.66, and although he hasn’t been his usual belligerent self, we have seen some clean hitting in the 118 and 61 he scored against Sri Lanka. Michael Clarke pips him by 4 runs for the top scorer spot in his team though.

India’s own captain, MS Dhoni has also top scored in the series with 260 runs at an average of 86.66. He has two fifties to his credit so far and has held the Indian innings together in almost every match.

I thought I’d just mention these facts in light of my earlier post titled – Should Dhoni give up his gloves? Gone are the days when the wicket keeper merely acted as a buffer between the batsmen and the tail…

-Mahesh-