Meanwhile I was also hooked onto the under-19 World Cup final being played in Sri Lanka. Ten Sports and Set Max were the only two channels that were working on my TV on Sunday!
It was the clash of old foes, two teams evenly matched up and scores to be settled. India was beaten by Pak in the last WC semi-final. This was their day to avenge the defeat. The performance against England in the semi-final, where they had wrapped them up for a meager 58, had given them enough confidence. In the first innigs of the match when asked to bowl they seemed to carry off from where they had left off!
India played to its strength and the spinners did the trick for India. Jadeja, Paramer and Piyush Chawla. The little lad Piyush, all of 17, is one hell of a prospect for India. Bhajji better be aware. He disguised his deliveries well and the googlies he bowled often, had the batsmen confused.
Anyway it all looked over for Pakistan. 109 all out on a good batting track and India was out to bat for a few overs before lunch. The cup seemed to have been in their pocket until lightning struck in the form of two young speedsters from Pak!
Yesterday’s three overs made me agree that we are still a trifle bit under prepared to face sheer pace! It still shakes us up! And Imran is not joking when he keeps harping about how of the current lot of teams in international arena Pakistan has the richest pool of talent in the pace bowling department. If you had seen Jamshaid and Anwar you would agree with him!
Jamshaid and Anwar bowled the most amazing dream overs one could expect at the start of the innings! I can’t recollect the last time I saw such a dream start!
Dhiman out first ball, then Sharma gets a four, then Anwar bowls in and gets Pujara out, then Sharma, then Tehlan! The Indian score card reading a dismal 8-4, chasing a meager 110 on a good decent track!
The best part though was seeing both the teams play to their strengths and be successful at it. Pakistan a trifle more! India deploying their spinners and Pakistan their speedsters. The captain Shukla even pulled the same ploy as Martin Crowe did in the ’92 WC. Like Crowe had deployed Deepak Patel the spinner to open the bowling; Shukla brought in Jadeja to do the same and Jadeja responded well with two vital wickets.
At the end of it; it was heart wrenching to say the least. Before the lunch-break in a span of three overs India was reeling at 9-6. No hope, not even the slightest chance. What looked like all theirs had gone away in few minutes of sheer havoc! I did not follow each and every match in this tournament but from the reports and commentators India had been the best team in the tournament only to fail at the final post! The batting had been rock solid with the top three batsmen always getting good starts and it had to fail only at the final juncture.
Those kids are in their teens and it must have been heart-breaking to cave in this fashion. Maybe they will seek inspiration from their seniors in the ODIs. Remember Yuvraj and Kaif were a part of the team that had won the U-19 WC in 1999. So this tournament sure does produce stars for the future and take my word Piyush Chawla is the one that will soon shine on the horizon for us!