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Sunday, April 6, 2014

T20 WC Finals ~ the google doodle ~ and the 'bowl-out'

India – Sri Lanka finals ……………. Looks so familiar …… and the hype is that this is Mahela’s last match ! - among the clich├ęs evoked by Jayawardene's T20 success has been the thought that he makes quick runs "playing proper cricket shots" - that he proves batting fundamentals can endure un-eroded in the age of "not losing one's shape" and "swinging through the arc" – yes he has succeeded in a format which we thought Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman;  and somebody like Mahela Jayawardenes, Michael Clarke would not succeed !!

At this stage, only Brendon McCullum has made 2044 runs; the 2nd is Jayawardene with 1469; followed by Dilshan, Warner, Duminy and there is no Indian up there in that 1000+ club in T20 Internationals. Since the beginning of 2008, India and Sri Lanka have played 63 international matches of which only 9 are Tests; 5 are T20s and rest ODIs………….. clearly Indian fans know Lankan players so well, in the One dayers, we have a 29-17 advantage, and a 3-2 edge in the five Twenty20 internationals. Yet, it is not statistics, but form that wins matches and going by that yardstick too, Indians are on a roll, having won all the matches so far in the tournament… A win will add more glory to the otherwise trouble Dhoni ! and will make us forget all the losses in Overseas tours recently……………

The T20 WC glory is not new to Dhoni – they won the inaugural one at SA in 2007…………. The finals was against the other traditional rival – Pak ……..the  first twist of the match came even before a ball was bowled.  Virender Sehwag's name was missing – down with a groin strain in the earlier match; his replacement was the debujtant Yusuf Pathan, and he opened !  The shock tactics almost backfired. Like their earlier  encounter, Misbah kept us on tenterhooks - a huge six in the last over, which started with Pakistan needing 13, seemed to swing the match decisively in their favour. Then, with only one wicket in hand and fine leg in the circle, Misbah went for that scoop which, not for the first time, ended in tears for the batsman. The ball unerringly found Sreesanth – but the surprise element was that – that last over was bowled by another new – Joginder Sharma, when Dhoni had more options….

Before we see some more of that WC, today’s google doodle shows cheering fans, a bowler in full flow and a batsman cracking the ball for six. It also depicts a fielder in action and a close up of a ball leaving a bowler's hand. It is Google’s way of adding spice to the T20 WC finals at Bangladesh today. 
Can you imagine this …. In that inaugural WC, we had a funny way of finding out winners.  The T20 no. 29 on 14th Sept 2007, was played at Kingsmead, Durban ~ the match ended in a tie … scores were even and the result was determined in a soccer like finish !!!!! known as bowl-out. Surprising still is that Shoaib Malik’s admission that Pakistan had been unaware that their match against India would be decided on the basis of a bowl-out in case of a tie.  When Misbah-ul-Haq was run out off the last ball with the scores level, some confusion prevailed among the players with regard to the result of the match. The bowl-out followed…

The rules were pretty simple ……….. Each team will nominate five players who will bowl at a set of stumps over 22 yards. Each team will have alternate attempts at hitting the stumps and the team with the most hits wins. it's like a penalty shoot-out in foot ball. In case there's a tie after the first round, the same five bowlers will have to have another go. Shoaib Malik won the toss and  asked India to have the first go.  How easily can a bowler hit the three stumps – without a batsman in front but wicketkeeper in the back ? – how difficult it is the simple Q – akin to a penalty in Soccer and Hockey but the major difference there is, you have somebody defending ….. though a lone defender. 

The wily Dhoni nominated not the regulars but -  Sehwag, Uthappa, Sreesanth, Pathan and Harbhajan. For Pak it was to be -  Gul, Tanvir, Arafat, Afridi and Asif.  First Sehwag ran in bowled and hit the stump accurately………… for Pak Yasir Arafat bowled a full toss and missed the Off stump by a big margin.  Harbhajan ran fast – disturbed the stumps and celebrated as if, he had befooled a great batsman … Umar Gul came off a shortened run up and missed the stumps…………. 3rd was Robin Uthappa, have you seen him bowl earlier ? ….. he was clean, took his cap off and celebrated…. Afridi fired down one on the leg side, missing the stumps by a huge margin …………… and it was India …
phot credit : cricinfo.com

Now you no longer have the ‘bowl-outs’ – but the Super Over, which decides the clincher. !!

India is on a roll, Virat Kohli is scoring at will and Indian bowlers especially Ashwin and Mishra are bowling nicely in tandem.  Cric Info writes of a superstition that the country's president's attendance brings bad luck. This thought had been cemented in the 2012 World T20 final, when the president's arrival at the Premadasa coincided roughly with the moment the match turned, swiftly and dramatically, for the opposition. It is an odd thing to contend with, because the team's meltdowns have come at varied time and any way the Indian or Lankan counterpart are not going to be there at the stadium.  I back India to win ………… and …

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Apr 2014.

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