Tag: Cricket

Loss at Eden Garden

It is not right to build up any series as grudge series or revenge series. That is what some TV channels did about the Test series against England in India. India had lost 0-4 to England in England in 2011. There was talk of India winning 4-0 against England in India. Gautam Gambhir had said let them come to India.

The series began with Indian victory in Ahmedabad Test. India won by nine wickets but Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not happy about the pitch. He wanted a rank turner. At Wankhede Stadium he got that but lost the Test by 10 wickets. He wanted a rank turner at Eden Garden too despite losing Bombay Test. BCCI was ready to oblige him. Prabir Mukherjee, the curator at Eden Garden, did not oblige. He said the demand for rank turner was illegal, immoral and illogical. He wanted to go on leave. Jagmohan Dalmiya prevailed upon him to continue and Prabir Mukherjee prepared the pitch which gave equal chance to fast bowlers, spin bowlers and batsmen.

Dhoni won the toss third time consecutively and elected to bat. India put on 316. Virender Sehwag’s run out was unnecessary. England batted. Cheteshwar Pujara, fielding at first slip, dropped Alastair Cook when he was on 17. Cheteshwar Pujara usually fields at forward short leg and Virender Sehwag fields at first slip. Alastair Cook was dropped again on 155 by Ishant Sharma off his own bowling. Alastair Cook was run out on 190 at non-strikers end. It was a freak dismissal. He lifted the bat to avoid blocking Virat Kohli’s throw and the ball hit the stumps. It was Alastair Cook’s first run out in Tests.

On the fourth day in the first session England were all out on 523. Monty Panesar was not happy at lbw decision. India batted. Alastair Cook dropped Virender Sehwag. India went to lunch on 86/0.

After lunch Virender Sehwag was out first ball on 49. Cheteshwar Pujara’s run out was unnecessary. Wickets fell in succession. India were 122/6. Ravichandran Ashwin had two lives. Matt Prior missed a stumping chance and dropped him, both times off Monty Panesar. Second time India were 161/8. It could have been 161/9. It was 197/9 and Ishant Sharma was out. India ended the day 239/9.

On 9/12/2012, the fifth day, India were all out on 247. Ashwin remained 91 not out. England had to score 41 runs to win. It seems they were in a hurry. They lost three quick wickets for eight runs. After that Ian Bell and Nick Compton scored runs and England won by seven wickets.

The selectors dropped Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan for Nagpur Test. Harbhajan Singh had played only in Bombay Test. Yuvraj Singh scored 127 runs in three Tests, more than Sachin Tendulkar (110) and Dhoni (92). Ashwin has not done well as a bowler. He continues in the team for his batting.

India can at best win the next Test and draw the series. TV channels should take a balanced view and should not be jingoistic.

T20 World Cup rules

There are people who say T20 World Cup rules were not fair, India won four out of their five matches but could not make it to semi-finals while West Indies who had two victories out five made it to semi-finals. They are wrong.

In the first round every group had three teams and two could go to the next round i.e., Super 8. Once the teams made it Super 8, victories in the first round did not count. In Super 8 India won two matches, lost one match, so also Australia and Pakistan. South Africa lost all three matches in Super 8. India, Pakistan and Australia had four points each. On the basis of net run rate Pakistan and Australia made it to semi-finals. India was in a favourable position as its match against South Africa was the last one in Super 8 and knew what to do to make it to semi-finals. India failed to achieve that. India’s loss to Australia was a huge one and that made a difference in net run rate.

West Indies did not play any full match in first round. The match against Australia was marred by rain and Australia were declared winners based on Duckworth-Lewis rules. The match against Ireland was a wash out. Ireland had lost to Australia. West Indies made it to Super 8 on net run rate. They could have won both matches.

In Super 8, West Indies won against England by 15 runs, lost to Sri Lanka by 9 wickets, won against New Zealand in super over. So in Super 8 they won two matches and lost one match. In semi-final they won against Australia by 74 runs and in final against Sri Lanka by 36 runs.

New Zealand lost two matches in super overs in Super 8, one to Sri Lanka, one to West Indies. Both Sri Lanka and West Indies made it to final. Now some want to split points if a match is tied in a non-knock out match, instead of deciding the winner in super over. New Zealand coach Michael Hesson said “I can’t work out why, in a non-elimination game, you have to have a super over. I’ve never worked that out.” In football and hockey, points are split if a group match ends in a draw. There is no harm in doing away with super overs in group matches in T20. But what would have been the reaction if New Zealand had won one match and lost another or won both matches?

India out of T20 World Cup

On 2/10/2012 India defeated South Africa by 1 run with 1 ball to spare. On an ordinary day there would have been joy and celebration. But this was not an ordinary day and there was sadness and loss of interest before the match was over.

There were two matches on 2/10/2012 and there were many permutations and combinations before the matches began as to who could make it to semi-finals. First match was between Australia and Pakistan. Australia were expected to win. Second match was between India and South Africa. If Australia had beaten Pakistan and South Africa had beaten India it would have been a contest between India, Pakistan and South Africa for the second place in the group.

The unexpected happened. Pakistan defeated Australia by 32 runs. In spite of the defeat Australia finished first in the group. India had to defeat South Africa by 31 runs and 24 balls to spare to make it to semi-finals. South Africa won toss and elected to field and India scored 152 runs. India had to restrict South Africa to 121 runs. When South Africa surpassed 121 runs in 16.5 overs it was gloom for India.

Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies are in semi-finals. Pakistan have won the T20 Cup before. For others it will be first time.

With Gary Kirsten as coach South Africa had attained No. 1 rank in all three formats. Now they lost all three Super 8 matches. New Zealand lost their matches against Sri Lanka and West Indies in super overs.

Some want a separate captain for T20 team. They want removal of Dhoni as he did not lead the team to victory in T20 after 2007.

Sri Lanka made Kumar Sangakkara captain for one match to avoid Mahela Jayawardene getting punishment for slow over rate. Kumar Sangakkara went for toss. Mahela Jayawardene took decisions on the field. ICC should plug this loophole. Once someone is a captain for a tournament he should play all matches as captain and not as a player under another captain.