Monthly Archives: May 2010
The last time both these teams clashed on this level was on the 22nd of September, 2007 in Kingsmead, Durban, South Africa for a berth in the Semi Finals of the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup . An exceptionally intense match where the TRP ratings esp. back in India blew the roof off. Considering the fact that India were on a dream winning streak would be like taking the shine off the new red cherry in a Division B inconsequential 5 day test match. Regardless of what good form one team is in, the pressure of reaching a final of a World event and facing a Champion team like Australia, can blow the wind out of any team. Being a Indian cricket fan, was ecstatic with the result deservedly ending in favour of my team, sending the Aussies packing. A turn around of such gravity is something this new Aussie bunch are not used to. They found themselves in a rather unfamiliar and sticky territory, having won the 50 overs World Cup 3 times back to back. India was the team to have played spoilt sport and gatecrash their party, who incidentally carried on their fine form to lift the trophy. What followed was local hysteria esp. amongst fans like myself although physically not present in India. So much so that one of the seeds of the biggest club level tournament in any sport (considering the $ involved) was sown right then. Its the IPL, if You still trying to decipher what I was sugegsting. T20 cricket became a part of household vocabulary in a frenzied nation like India and the rest is history.
However things are a shade different this year with Australia sporting an unlikely younger side (except Nannes of course). They are hungrier to take back home the only silverware missing from an otherwise flawless and countless line of trophies in their proud cabinet. India on the other hand in my humble opinion have had an overdose of T20 matches and at times such as these an indifferent attitude specially amongst its followers can creep in. Having said that; this match is the exact medicine the doctors would have prescribed to inject life and intensity back into the fans, myself included. And hence the post.
What I am trying to do here is run down a most likely XI line up that both the teams would look to play. This gives us the option to see atleast on paper how do they look pitted against each other. & the most imp. question of all. Will this encounter live upto its expectations ? Let’s start with the reasons why it looks like it would:
Openers : AU – Warner / Watson: Both are in fine form and would be raring to prove a point against a bowling attack that just may not have been put to test yet. For India it is Vijay / Gambhir. Vijay earned his spot purely on his showings in the IPL, thanks largely to one of the most amazing 100s in this form of the game. What it has done is provided India a fitting replacement for Sehwag. Things would have been very different and difficult if I may, had that transformation in Vijay didnt happen in the IPL. Incidentally one from either side formed the opening pair for the Delhi Daredevils. One was Warner and the other their captain and the 2nd opener for India; Gambhir. He missed the RSA match due to diarrhea which is why he would be twice as much determined for putting up a scintillating show. Reason # 1
Middle Order : AU – have the bonus of batting very deep with Johnson coming in at 10, assuming he would be fit to play. Other than that Clarke have not had too many matches off late owing to personal reasons. His coming back to the side was celebrated in style with a 100 and just shows why he is the best replacement for Ponting for this T20 format and also for the longer versions of the game in the future. Haddin I suspect can become a thorn and needs to be removed early too. Hussey brothers not the prettiest of bats, obviously are ever dependable esp. when in national colours and esp. when the team look like in trouble. Cameron White would be responsible for a late flourish if required. Now compare that with India, who have a name there who has recently earned the title of “nemesis” amongst its opposition. The man is none other than Suresh Raina and I for one would obviously root for him to take the Aussies to sword. Followed by; “now in” form and “next out of it”, Yuvraj. If he can repeat 1/4th the heroics of the 2007 edition, India will cake walk through this. Then comes Dhoni, an easy match against the Aussie Hussey brothers. Enough Said. And now comes the weakest link as far as I am concerned for my team. Jadeja and Pathan definitely deserve the following spots but are yet to prove their worth on such a large scale specially while chasing. It will be an enormous test and maybe just maybe; now is the time. Reason #2
Bowling : India as opposed to Australia will have an even attack as far as pace is concerned. They have able turners in Jadeja and Harbhajan for a big occasion like this, with Pathan / Yuvraj (Maybe Raina) providing support if needed. 3 frontline seamers should be Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan and recent hit Ashish Nehra. PK would be the key if India bowls first to exploit the early morning conditions, with an early start of 9:30. While defending a score I will back Zaheer as the frontman. Now compare this to the all out pace attack of the Aussies. Johnson, Tait, Nannes, Watson and 5th spot open to Smith, Hussey or maybe even Clarke. Lets accept it Nannes is an eminent danger and so is Johnson. Tait has had past instances of throwing in wayward deliveries under pressure. As an India support, I will pray for that. That could bring in either David Hussey or Clarke. I back my finishers in Dhoni and Pathan to ride their willows against these names to get us to bigger scores or win / finish the game while chasing. Reason # 3
Last but not the least the pitch as it looked last night should be faster than the one in Guyana but around the same as the one in St. Lucia. I will back India to bat first if they win the toss, considering there is no heavy rain later tonight or early tomorrow leaving early moisture for the likes of Nannes & Johnson to exploit. It’s a two sided blade and hence I should not make too much hue and cry about the toss. Both the teams I believe have able swingers of the new white ball to leverage the morning conditions. Perfect pitch = back of a length. Reason # 4
Well that sums up my pre review if You would like to call it that of the India vs Australia encounter that may just set the tone for the rest of the matches to follow. The outcome I believe would have a bearing in the final 2 spot with either both or one of these teams to making it to the top. The post itself for sure turned out to be longer than I anticipated, but hope makes for a fun read.
So wear Your national colour up You sleeve and make the biggest noise for Your team. Just like I will….Jai Ho. Go India Go…!!!
With so much preparation going into an international match specially when its a decider in a smallish tournament like the World T20, rain Gods playing spoilt sport can be very very hurting. To top it when You have something as complicated, unreasonable and dated a method as the Duckworth Lewis System to depend on, it is more so. The England Captain Paul Collingwood is within his rights to feel frustrated to be on the losing side after his side scored a mammoth 191/5 in their stipulated 20 overs. And as a true cricket fan so am I. I do not see this Windies side to have even challenged that score let alone topple it. Hence my commiserations to the English side who by the way are the engineers behind throwing India out of contention in the last edition of the T20 WC.
There are talks going on to tweak the rule books for the shortest version of the game. My opinion is to have it changed for all the 3 formats. My stance on this has been true since that fateful night down under some 18 years ago when South Africa were cruising towards a berth in the finals of the Benson & Hedges World Cup in Sydney with their first international fixture after all the hatred they were subjected to through apartheid. What would have happened if they would have won the match instead of bearing the big scoreboard crying out loud “South Africa to win need 22 runs in 1 ball” (refer to pic) is for me one of the biggest tragedies of Cricket not only the World Cup. Specially the way the English side got ripped through by the then great Pakistanis led by Imran Khan and emrgeing superstar Wasim Akram. It was only very recently while watching one of my fave Director Clint Eastwood’s last “Invictus” that some of those images came back to mind. I was all of 10 years at the time but the seeds of interest for the spot was sown long back. The 92 Cricket World Cup was much before the rugby triumph. Who knows Mandela may have sent his “Invictus” to Kepler Wessells before the final night. And how I wish Hollywood and Eastwood would have paid a homage to “cricket” instead of “rugby”. Well for now its a dream.
As for the sport, my earnest request to the boards of top cricketing nations BCCI, ACB and ECB, please sit together and urge the ICC to revise this D/L method. Until then it’s time, all us fans of the game to stand up and cry “FOUL”.
Watch it for Matt Damon for a restrained performance and try not miss the funny lines. They are few and far between, but if followed closely definitely has the potential to provide the laughs.
Overall I would give it a 6.5 / 10.
Final verdict however is that its worth every $ spent even if its only for the fights. Yes that’s how good they are. The background score was apt.
A 7.5 out of 10
P.S. The additional scene right before the credits rolled looked extremely corny. I will not spoil it for the ones who have not watched it.
Go India Go…..
Obviously I am new here and FYI new to WordPress. Comments about what I can do to improve effective usage of WordPress’s services would be greatly appreciated. As You may have noticed I am not one from the rule books who would read through a preface step by step. & Yes my least visited section in a book store is definitely “self – help”. I do not agree to the fact that reading off pointers from a book written by someone else can be termed self help Irony it most certainly is. Anyways, like it or not; here I am (sincerely hope You’ll like it though).