Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cricket World Cup 2007

David’s Day and Dreams Shattered

Image courtesy:

Yesterday would be remembered in cricket history as the most momentous and unbelievable of days. It would be a day when the Davids of this world decided to stand up and make themselves accounted for in a competition overburdened by criticism for the crime of including them in the competition. The proved critics, including yours truly, eat their words and also proved to all and sundry that the competition is much the richer because of their inclusion into the event. It was a day the seemingly gate crashers of the party became the chief guests.

Bangladesh, in a clash of sub continental tigers, defeated India and proved why this group is considered the group of death. Credit should be given to the Bangladeshi players for holding their nerve and pulling off an upset of huge proportions. This would be watershed moment in Bangladeshi cricket and they would do well to build on this.

It seemed India came into the match looking for some match practice and some time in the middle for their out of for players. They took the opponent too lightly. They did not respect the conditions. They were so overconfident that I am sure the possibility of a difficult match did not enter their minds, let alone that of a defeat. And that along with some spirited performances from the Bangladeshis were their undoing.

Dravid won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch that had some moisture in it. But blame him alone for what happened from there on would be unfair. His batsmen seemed to be left their brains in their hotel and capitulated to a total which was not at all enough.

Image courtesy:

The way some of the batsmen batted was absolutely reckless. Sehwag should consider himself extremely lucky to be in this word cup. But he did nothing to justify the faith his captain has on him and got himself out once again. How long is India willing to carry this noncontributing player in their eleven? Atleast Pathan, would give you some runs lower down the order if not too many wickets. Sehwag contributed just 2 runs to the cause.

After sehwag’s dismissal Uthappa too lost his head to a rash shot. Tendulkar was beaten by a clever delivery and suddenly the Indian were facing a crisis. That a man of Tendulkar’s ability was beaten by a young bowler spoke much about the confidence with which Bangladesh approached this game. Dravid tried to rescue the innings but he too was undone by an inappropriate shot.

Ganguly and Yuvraj then came together for the only period of time in the entire match when India raised hope of a recovery. Ganguly went on to complete his fifty albeit a bit slowly. But Yuvraj threw away his wicket by an ill timed sweep shot. And then followed a procession. The rest surrendered too meekly and too quickly. 3 batsmen were out for ducks before Zaheer and Patel put on some much needed run to take the score to at least 192.

Any hope of India salvaging the situation evaporated after the Bangaladeshi opener Tamim Iqbal started off in blitzkrieg fashion. While chasing a low total any kind of blitz brings down the total radically and eases the pressure for the later batsmen. In this aspect he did a wonderful job and he found the Indian bowlers obliging with some steady doze of width in their deliveries.

The contrast between the two teams was palpable when they took the field. While the Bangladeshis looked fired up and gave their all on the field India looked jaded and as if the occasion had overwhelmed them. Bangladesh dived around the park as they would into a swimming pool while the Indians spilled two sitters and two half chances. The match was never ever a contest and that’s the most worrying thing, for Indian fans in this match.

Image courtesy:

If Bangladesh’s victory was huge then Ireland’s victory over Pakistan was absolutely shocking. If the shock were to have been measured on a Richter scale it would have registered a 9. Nobody expected Pakistan to leave this early from the tournament. Of course Pakistan still has a mathematical chance of qualifying but realistically the chances of that happening are fairly remote.

Pakistani’s like their sub continental brothers did not bring their brains to the ground. They just lost it completely when faced with greenish wicket and capitulated to a low score of 132. The way Kamran Akmal and Azhar Mahmood got out signified how they had let the occasion get to them. Yousuf failed to carry his test form into the one day matches while Inzamam looked like he was playing in his 2003 mode.

The bowlers did try to put up a fight with the enigmatic Sami leading the way. But some gutsy batting from the Irish batsmen ensured that they could go on to record a most memorable of victories if they could just hold on to their nerves. Hold their nerves they did and they eventually sent a big team packing from the world cup.

It’s a shame that some of the sub continent’s biggest names maybe bowing out in disgrace if India were to lose to Sri Lanka too. It would be disappointment to see Sachin, Sourav, Dravid and Kumble depart from the center in such a shameful fashion. The Indian team have their backs to the wall and will have a tough time to overcome the pressure of the backlash and call for heads that would soon start back home. Is this the end of the dream for the so called ‘Blue Billion’?