Monday, March 21, 2011

India - Into the Quarters

And India predictably won its match against the Windies and made it to the quarter finals where it will be tested against the Aussies. The two matches - one against the Proteas and the other against the English, and to an extent even the one against the Bangladeshis have exposed the bowling which will be on test in the quarters. All in all, to me, the winner could well take the cup.

Yuvraj's form augurs well because he can shake the Aussies off a bit with his batting. Somehow the likes of Yuvraj, Harbhhajan, and Zaheer seem to rattle the Aussies a bit with their overt and sometimes unprovoked aggression. If India bats first and raises its standard 300 plus it could well wrap up the match. The problems I think are if they fail to set a big enough total for the Aussies. On the other hand, if the Aussies bat first, a total of 275 plus could challenge us when we bat second. Very generic comments but I am inclined to think that way knowing the fielding and bowling strengths of both sides, and knowing the pressures of batting second in a knockout game. Our batting strength has not so far been able to come together even after big starts, so we will be tested severely. One needs a big effort from someone, and definitely for the fringe players to perk up. The team looks rather loose to me to put in a big team effort - which is also India's biggest worry in terms of lifting the Cup. It's not looking like a close knit, focussed and keen unit that can sustain pressure against quality opposition consistently. There are individual performances, odd sparks and not enough intensity. Not yet at least. That should worry Kirsten and Dhoni a bit. Our big trump card is Dhoni of course and his ability to capitalise on the smallest opportunities when nerves are tested. Ponting has not shown enough indication that he will last a test of nerves, but they are a trained lot and are used to winning, so one cannot write them off. Ever. All in all, a good match, maybe the best in the tournament.

The Windies don't look good beyond the quarters, and Pakistan should surely sail through. New Zealand might fall as well, not enough batting depth again. England look tired and I don't see them last beyond the next match either. With the others, each is as good as the other, so they can keep their fingers crossed.

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