Category: ODIs

And God rewrites the record books – 200*

People often wonder why I address this man as GOD. He has given me many reasons to do so – and today was another one of them.

I almost cursed Dhoni for the first time in my life when he did not give Sachin strike in the 49th over and then threw kisses when he did not push Sachin for the 2nd run at 49.2 overs! Thank god for that.

For someone who took 79 matches and 5 years to get his first hundred in ODIs, Sachin has never looked back! 46 centuries in ODIs accompanied by 47 in tests – I expect he will get to another 100; that of his international centuries this year at the rate he is going. He has 5 this year already – 4 in tests and 1 in the ODIs.

He has got tantalisingly close to the coveted mark 186* against NZ in 1999 and then twice in the last year: 163* against NZ when he retired hurt and 175 against Aus.

Today he was all the class, elegance and timing we associate with the beauty of batting. He did not thrash the bowlers – he just belted them gently. Such was his powerful timing that he kept playing the cat and mouse game with the fielders. Till the ball hit the ropes the fielder was given hope that he could stop it, he would chase all the way only to be exhausted and find the ball smiling at the boundary ropes. Sunil Gavaskar has always claimed he loves such shots – the ones that tease the fielder. Sachin played them plenty today

Square cut, cheeky third man fours, cover drive, on-drive, shots through mid-wicket and off the square! There was not an area he left uncovered. The bowlers bowled a good line yet he placed the ball where he wanted to. Sachin played like he is 17 today when he is approaching 37.

The energy, the exuberance, the hunger amazes me – I’ve just entered my 30s and I often feel totally phased out! The guy is a perfect role model. And despite all the madness, the money, the crazy fans – the man remains unfazed. He remains his simple self, the Marathi Mulga from Sahitya Sahwas in Bandra. His middle-class Maharashtrian roots still strong. His commitment and dedication unparalleled. The more you speak of him , the less it is.

I feel blessed – to have been born in his era, to have witnessed this phenomenon – to have watched him play since his debut in 1989 till date. So many moments, so many smiles.

Today the commentators kept harping about SA having chased 434 in 2006. I did not need them to remind me of it – I had seen the match live. Often these TV commentators lose sight of important things. I would not have cared if SA would’ve chased down 402 today – all that I cared about was  that no batsmen on their side got to 200. Today, India’s victory was not important – Sachin’s record was. Period. I was being selfish and it was well justified – cause Sach is indeed GOD and Sach is indeed our life!

P.S: My Kodak Moment of the Day was : Virat and Raina taking a bow to the GOD from the dressing room – they will need all his blessings if they wish to emulate half his deeds in the future.

Déjà vu…

Am I at a loss for words on yesterday’s performance? No I’m not!! I’ve so much to say that I think I’ll take up Terabytes raised to n space on the web!
I normally do not react badly to India’s losses. If you’ve been watching them play for the last 16 years and have had a lovely set of rational fans around you, it ensures that you do not react to losses as any other normal fan would. I mean it’s simply a game why make a fuss about it.

I remember the WC losses against Aus in ’92, SL in semi-final in Kolkatta ’96 and the huge plundering against Aus in ’03 in the league match.

I still remember the ’92 match as a victory because we put up an awesome fight. Neither will I forget Azhar’s 93 and Manjrekar’s 47 nor will I forget Srinath’s blunder. It was a strong reminder for me that this guy will never ever think when he plays, he always proved me right!
But it was a wonderful match, yes the loss by one run broke my heart but the respect for the team grew ten folds.

In the ’96 semi-final, when I saw the crowds react the way they did I had asked my dad why are they reacting this way? Sure we made a mess of it by some crazy decisions but come on we reached the semis, didn’t we? Was that not creditable enough, considering we never had a chance to even make it to the final four?

After the ’03 league match thumping, when effigies were burnt I was wondering what is wrong with the junta, it’s only a league match, we are not out of the cup and we have so many matches to perform!
We have seen worse losses than this.

But this time around I will not put any sort of rationale to the team’s defeat. There isn’t any to put. I’m trying to see if there are any positives, if we gave it our best, if we put up a fight. The answer to all is ZILCH, ZERO, NIL, NOTHING!

What a shameful surrender it was! Did it not remind you of the ’96 semi-final? But then there was some consolation that we had made it to the semi-final after a strong performance against Pak in the quarters. But the scripts were almost similar:
  • Both times India won the toss
  • Both put SL to bat, in pressure games
  • Jayasurya was out early in both the games
  • Both times Silvas (Aravinda-96 and Chamara here) stole the game
  • Similar achievable targets (252then and 255 now)and a similar collapse…

Sigh too much of a Déjà Vu and that too at an early stage in the WC!

I dunno where to begin actually. Sure it was a great batting pitch in the second innings but it was not a pitch where we could bowl the opposition under 200 after they are put into bat first. We do not have the bowlers to do that. Though we bowled much better than we did against Bangladesh it was not good enough cause I think we gave away 20-30 runs too many at the end.

I did not see any determination in the players on the field to win the match. There was no urgency, no energy! They seemed to go through the motions as if it was another match. Yes it is only a match but your Cup future depended on it and I don’t think that realisation dawned upon them.

I feel like a fool now for having shown so much faith in the team and betting with my friends that yes they will beat SL and make it to the super 8. Mind you if this match was a do-die situation in the Super 8 or semis or finals and we had lost I would’ve been disappointed but not hurt. I would’ve known they had fought and got that far but this was shameful. You could not even put up a fight!

So 255 seemed a gettable target however I always get a good feeling if we gonna win or not and somehow that feeling had faded away when Vaas hit 14 of an over off Munaf. I kept cribbing to my husband that these last runs are not good for us and he said you are just over reacting, wait and watch.

Then I saw Uthappa and Ganguly start off, and there was nothing in their body language that inspired confidence in me that we would win. Every player who walked in had the same language. Not interested, not keen, not willing to put up a fight. Uthappa got out to a rash shot, Ganguly to one that was not needed, Sehwag the lesser said the better, I was never for him being in the team for this cup so let me not say anything more.
Time and again against SL it is a very simple ploy, play out Vaas and Murali and then its easy to tackle others. If Ganguly, Dravid and Sachin won’t last till Murali comes into play how does one expect Dhoni & Yuvraj to tackle him especially Yuvraj who dances even to a Galli spinner!

The most heartbreaking though was Sachin’s dismissal and I’m not ashamed to proclaim that I almost cried when I saw it. He did not understand Fernando’s delivery at all, he simply had no clue and out to a duck. That hurt me more than the defeat, it really did. And only the die-hard Sachin fans will understand my sentiment here.

What a meek surrender. In both the matches we lost the batsmen did not last the whole 50 overs nor did they cross the 200 mark and that clearly shows who faltered. This was a problem for us the whole of last year and we did nothing about it.

I’m not going to get into the blame game or point fingers. I could care less cause the entire exercise is not worth it. If the players are not bothered about winning I wonder why we are breaking our hearts over it?

But one word to Mr. Chappell the great. Read this in his interview on “I’m not answerable to anyone but the BCCI”
For your kindest information Mr. Chappell, first and foremost you are answerable to every Indian cricket fan in the world. If it weren’t for them there would be no money in the game, there would be no BCCI sitting on a gold mine, there would be no way your huge pay packet would come through, there would be no sponsors, there would be no players raised to the status of demi-gods, there would be no advertisements for these players to mint money. So before you make statements like that please get a grip of the game in India. I think everyone would agree with me on that you and your team are fist and foremost answerable to the Indian cricket fans all over the world and you better know that!

Oh yes and I’m proclaiming loud and clear that I’m off Indian cricket for sometime now. Not cricket mind you, only Indian cricket. Aus, SA, NZ, WI have given me enough to cheer for them in this WC so if anyone wants me to go off cricket that’s not happening as long the game is being played well. If India does not want to do it why should I quit watching the game. I’d rather they quit playing it!

So before I end, now it’s time to pray for Bermuda’s win and whole lot of prayers will go into it. But as for me I’ll pray that Bangladesh wins cause more than India they deserve to go to the Super 8. And if Bermuda wins, the Indian team, if it has an ounce of dignity and self-respect left, should allow Bermuda to proceed to the Super 8 cause we definitely don’t deserve to be there!
Do that and yes I’ll be proud of you.

You were never unlucky cause you never gave it your best. This post would’ve never happened from me if I felt you had tried your best. You know it in your hearts you simply did not!

This will be hard for me to forget but not for the board back home. There are talks of a major overhaul. Who will they drop? Dravid, Saurav, Sachin, Dhoni, Sehwag, Yuvraj? None, they could not drop Sehwag after 2 yrs of pathetic performance they don’t have the guts to drop any one of the above. They will land up sacking Irfan, Shreesanth, Uthappa, Kartik, Agarkar (the perennial scapegoat). There will be no major overhaul and things will go ahead as before.

Don’t expect a thing! That is the sad story of Indian cricket!

P.S: And on another note….GO Bangladesh!! Praying hard that you all win.

Awesome: Another Series Win and a World Record!

  • Can’t chase,
  • Can’t defend,
  • Can’t capitalize on good starts,
  • Can’t recover from collapses,
  • Chase defeat from jaws of victory
  • Simply not consistent enough!

All the above was true about team India until this season! India started performing well under Ganguly but they lost almost 11 finals under his reign. The consistency was still lacking and chasing was not the best thing we could do.

We must give credit to Chappell and Dravid for building the team upto this level. Wright & Ganguly showed them what grit and gumption was all about while Chappell & Dravid have taught them to not waver and take the bull by the horns! Dravid surely has transferred his key qualities: Patience, concentration and performing under pressure!

Third time this season a clean sweep! First against SL, then Pak and now England. Agreed SL and England were not exactly top class opposition but then we have not managed such dominance even over weaker sides in the past so we must give credit where it’s due!

No hope in first match after being bundled out for 203 and Harbhajan who was under fire for his poor form since the Pakistan tour came up with a magical spell.
Second ODI India were reeling at 92-5 chasing 226 when Raina all of 19 played a knock (81 of 89 balls) that could well book his place in the side till the World cup. What a talented bloke he is! His fielding is brilliant; rarely does his throw miss the stumps! Along with Yuvraj and Kaif he easily saves 40 odd runs in the field.
The third match Yuvraj and Raina played blinders to give England an impossible target to chase and finally the last match India decimated England in all aspects! The slow bowlers did the trick and Dravid, Yuvraj and Raina ensured India won convincingly!

And who would have thought the team known as ‘poor chasers’ would break the long standing WI record of 14 consecutive wins while batting second! We managed 15! Someone once said, ‘Never give up on hope, miracles happen everyday’. These 15 consecutive wins batting second were definitely miracles for me;-)

There are a few worries at the top of the order (that could make up for another blog post!) and I for one think Sehwag has got too many chances! What do you say?

It’s a pity that I did not get to see any of the matches live. Wish there were more on the weekends!Hoping that we don’t peak too early and now the real test would be beating SA and Australia.

Kudos India, keep the adrenalin flowing and go for a neat 7-0 win!

P.S: The blog is being updated poorly due to a lot of offline happenings…Will post soon again!

An Exhilarating Day of Cricket!

What a day it was for the world of cricket! Three men inspired their teams to commanding positions! Two matches yet to see the result while the one that finished yesterday left an unforgettable mark in history!

First the sensational final match of SA-Aus ODI series at Wanderers. Well I got home at 9.00 p.m. and switched on the TV set for surfing channels; I just stood still in my seat as I read the score of 392-7 and South Africa still requiring 43 runs to win in 26 balls on ESPN! I did not know how to react! How much did Australia score in the first place when South Africa was so close to 400 and still a fair distance from winning it! Now that Aus had scored 400-odd the first time ever in the history of ODI, how the hell did SA get so close to the target and also looked good enough to win it!!! Was I dreaming? What kind of a match is this! From then on I did not move from my seat till the final ball was bowled!!!

Excellent, excellent stuff! This is what ODI cricket is made of; nail-biting finish, fight to the finale, every ball being bowled just wrecking your nerves! The SA & Aus teams managed to give me a heart attack quite easily! Seriously, I could sense my heart skipping beats! I was ruing the fact that I had missed both Ponting’s awesome 105 ball 164 earlier in the day and later Herschelle Gibbs’ 175 to lead the South African valiant fightback. Boucher played a brilliant knock in the tense situation; he was really as cool as a cucumber! And he got some excellent support from Van der Wath, Telemachus, and Ntini! Telemachus hit some lusty blows along with Boucher and brought down the target from 30 in 18 balls to 13 in 12 balls. From there on it was going to be SA‘s game but Brett Lee and Co. had some other plans! With 3 balls left and 2 runs to get Lee had Andrew Hall caught at mid-on and the chokers tag began to haunt the SA again! If they were to lose this one by one run I doubt they would have come back strongly ever against any team in the world!

Ntini walked in with all the pressure in the world that is possible, on his head! Calmly he hit the ball down to the third man to grab a single and made sure SA would not lose! At that point I felt maybe a tie would be a befitting result but cricket can be a cruel game at times and Boucher’s four of the next ball sealed SA victory and slashed Aus’s hopes!

With that hit, not only did they win an enthralling match and create history but also wrapped up a keenly fought ODI series 3-2. The series going right down to the wire, the very last ball! South Africans were in nth heaven and deserve fully to be there. The Aussies left wondering what more could we have done? When Ricky Punting blasted that 164 and then had his men walk back o the dressing room having scored 434 , the first time ever a team had achieved 400 in ODI, he must have felt that his team had won the match and with that the series! What a fine comeback by Ponting’s men after being 0-2 down in the series! Little would he have imagined the SAs would chase this one successfully! Cricket can be a cruel, cruel heart-wrenching game!

And while this will go down as the greatest match ever; here are a few things to think about. Why were the boundaries shortened? To enable the batsmen get more runs? Does anyone care for the bowlers anymore? I think they will get extinct in ODIs if 300-350 continues to be an average score. Agreed that seeing a team bowled out under 100 does not make an exciting match but neither does a team getting 400 odd! Spare a thought for the bowlers. This is a game for both and lets not make it so batsmen-friendly! Bracken got 5 wickets in the match and yet his contribution amounts to zilch! For heaven’s sake what more must a bowler do?

But it was an exciting game and I loved the fight the two teams gave till the very end! Though I didn’t quite get the logic of bowling full-tosses and short pitch deliveries towards the end which were easy meal for the set SA batsman! Aussie will have to think about that!!

The other two matches were in the pure version of the game. Shane Bond and Anil Kumble both inspired their teams back into the game with their fine bowling performances.

What seemed to be heading towards a seemingly dull draw what with two days played not completed in Mohali; Kumble turned on his magic in the last session and had England on the back-foot. 112-5 out of which Kumble picked up 3 wickets to follow up his previous 5 in the first innings! What a lovely way to celebrate his 500 wickets in test cricket. He deserves a standing ovation for his grit and gumption shown throughout his career. He has been Team India’s silent warrior! There have been times when he has been criticized, yours truly being an equal accomplice! He has never been deterred though and gone about his game plan quietly, just like his nature. No controversies, no verbal attacks. He has achieved everything a bowler would wish for in his international career and done that without any hooplah or noise. Anil we salute you, and you have set affine fine example for youngsters to follow!

Kumble’s effort has set up an exciting 5th day’s play for Mohali. The 38 run lead could prove to be a handful if we are able to bowl out England cheaply and then chase around 150 -180 in the last two sessions! That should make for an exciting day and it’s pretty sad that it is not a weekend and I will miss the match live once again!

And now for the final hero among the three, Shane Bond. One of my favourite bowlers in the international arena. I still remember the VB series of 2001-02 when Bond shone into limelight. After Hadlee, New Zealand finally had a bowler who could bring the opposition down to its feet! Sheer pace again! Yesterday while chasing 290, WI looked good to win having started off at 148-0 but Bond came in and triggered a collapse and today morning NZ sealed their victory!

A fine day for world cricket, savour it folks! There is a reason why test cricket is still the best form of cricket. Bowlers get their due; and more often than not, it’s the bowlers who win matches for their teams! Bond and Kumble have given some fine examples yesterday and on the other hand only batsmen dominate the ODI, there is no room for bowlers there. Don’t believe me? Go watch Ponting and Gibbs knocks of yesterday!

Don’t forget to stay tuned into the final day’s play at Mohali, let’s hope that the Indians don’t disappoint. Maybe they could draw inspiration from the NZ-WI game and the SA-Aus game. Fight till the last ball of the day is bowled! It surely ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

P.S.: I also thought it was a fine sporting gesture by Ponting to refuse the joint man-of-the-match award saying Gibbs deserved it as he not only got more but also helped his team to win. Excellent stuff Ricky and a good example set again!!
And on another note; highly, highly impressed by Munaf Patel! Where has he been for so long? He has wrecked England again!

Team India: Goal for 2005-06…

Having yet to understand how the new rules will work in the ODI, the Indian team now faces this.

It isn’t good news for the team that is deemed to usurp the throne from the Aussies. One more aim for this year, and a pretty important one if ICC sticks to the rules strictly.

Come on guys get going, one year of poor ODI cricket from bunch of talented blokes like you all has been a huge dampener on our spirits. Get those feet moving and fight!

Saturday Shocker…

Saturday for me is the day to relax after a hectic working week. I usually keep myself away from the computer and today I spent the day with my mother out shopping and later caught up with my school friends for a wonderful dinner.

Got home pretty late, was tired but decided to login to check up mail and this news was nothing less of a shock to me.

Of all the matches being played these days I avoid watching Bangladesh in action. Today, I’ll really rue the fact that I did not believe in the age old adage ‘cricket is game of glorious uncertainties’

I’m a huge Aussies fan, but I’d give anything to catch them being defeated by minnows.
Would want to catch the match, what was it?? Real shoddy display by Aussies or great batting by Bangladesh.

Unbroken Record…

On this day in 1975, began the first official tournament that brought all cricketing nations together.

You got it right, The World Cup.

While all records are being broken, one man will always have the highest chance to retain his record till the end. Yes, I’m talking of Sunil Gavaskar’s 36 in 174 balls. If anyone today attempts to break that one, he’ll be shown the way out!

And I bet, Gavaskar would love to have it broken, having that record taken away from him would bring in more smiles than anything else;-)

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