Tuesday, February 17, 2015

World Cup 2015 - India beats Pakistan

Both sides have their weaknesses but India had more strengths, more match winners. Any side that has someone as passionate and as good as Kohli when the big challenge comes, will always have an edge. Kohli apart India has MSD, hair dyed, looking natty and fully in control - when MSD is there at the helm, it always appears that god can go to sleep. I will never write off the sheer energy that Suresh Raina brings and he is a great example of personal leadership and impact on the team as he goes about putting more than his 100% into his role and into boosting others. He is a perfect team man. Overall the team has more balance and is more together than Pakistan which seemed neither here no there. The experience was there but there was a big gap between the experienced players and the younger players and that showed.

Pakistan's bowling looked good as far as their fast bowling goes and they contained India well to 300. Without Hafeez and Ajmal their attack suddenly looks ordinary in the middle overs. Dropping Kohli twice does not help their cause certainly. Dhawan and Raina played their parts well - the difference between teams that look good and those that don't is players who know their roles and deliver.

On this wicket 300 was always gettable if the Pakistan team believed they could get it. I don't think Pakistan ever believed they could get the 300. The team played mostly as if it would challenge at best, not win. They hoped, not played to win. If the youngsters like Shehzad and Sohail batted on some more, if the subsequent batsmen showed more application and passion to win, they could have chased 300. But to me they never looked settled enough to win. Sending Younis Khan to open was a decision based on 'hope'. The management probably felt that the Indian bowling was toothless enough to experiment with him opening until Shami's snorter shattered the illusion. That shot showed complete unpreparedness - and reflected in Pakistan's planning. I loved the way Haris Sohail batted. What I could not understand was how they could not take singles and rotate strike - you cannot give Ashwin three maidens. Misbah was awesome, what a batsman.

The difference between the Pakistani teams of yesteryear, the unpredictable World Champions, and this one is that the earlier teams always believed they could win. This team did not look like that. So when Saurav Ganguly said on commentary that Pakistan should not collapse to 120 for 5, it did not seem unthinkable, though the score then was a healthy 90 for 1 or so. But they managed to be 105 for 5 soon. We could see Shehzad trying to hit himself out of trouble, Sohail falling prey to the pressure created by MSD and Ashwin and Umar batting circumspectly. Despite his decision, he never inspired any signs of confidence. Was it a cracker of a contest? No. Boring at best. Kohli, well done. Team India, well done. You ticked most boxes.. But go and work on your bowling Umesh and try to be less erratic.  

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