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Thursday, March 26, 2015

India bows out of World Cup ~ some earlier matches !!

Perhaps one should not be logging on to FB or Twitter – flooded with messages ridiculing the loss.  It is easy to stand by a team that is winning ! Before the start of the tournament, not many would have thought of India making to the Semi-finals, that too with 7 consecutive wins and bowling out all their opponents. It was not to be today – the 95-run loss to Australia in the semi-final halted India’s ICC Cricket World Cup, 2015 campaign. Chasing 329, the MS Dhoni-led side were bowled out for 233 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.   

It was a classy display by Aussie.  This morning started with  hope when David Warner got out – but the stand between Finch and the classy Steven Smith took the game away.  At one stage it threatened that they might get closer to 400 even – that wan undone by some good bowling – in the end, we all know that chasing 329 would never be easy.  The end came in front of a crowd who had made this most historic of Australian venues seem like Little India.  Indians had lost three times to Australia this southern summer – two Tests and a Tri Series ODI – and today it was sort of surrender.

Umesh Yadav bowled really fast clocking 149.2 kmph even.  He took 4 wickets too – Ashwin bowled well – still Steven Smith's century followed by James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson’s (27 off 9) cameos ensured that they set India a formidable target.  The opening was scratchy.  Shikhar Dhawan's brisk 45 helped a good start and perhaps the only time, when we thought that India was well on chase.  After reduced  to 108 for four, it was an uphill task; While Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni added 70,  India couldn’t keep pace with the creeping run rate and also lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out by the Mitchell Starc-led attack.
Aussies outplayed us and deservingly won.  The scores in brief : Aus 328/7 in 50 overs (S Smith 105, A Finch 81, U Yadav 4/72, M Sharma 2/75) beat Ind 233 all out in 46.5 overs (MS Dhoni 65, J Falukner 3/59, M Starc 2/28, M Johnson 2/50) by 95 runs.

In the morning as Smith batted, the thoughts of 2003 WC Final was haunting.  At New Wanderers  on 23rd Mar, Aussies were off to a brisk start – Gilchrist (57); Hayden (37);  Ricky Ponting (140*), Damien Martyn (88*) all made runs as Australia made 359/2.  Only Sehwag provided some resistance, then. 

In 2011, in the QF, Yuvraj's left-arm sliders strangled the batsmen at one end, even as Ricky Ponting soldiered on at the other.  Still 261 was a good score.  Sachin and Gambhir made 50s, as a good 65 ball 57 from Yuvraj took us to an easy victory.  The one win which old-timers still cherish came at Chelmsford on 20th June 1983 in ODI no. 219 in Prudential World Cup.  Against an attack of Geoff Lawson, Rodney Hogg, Jeff Thomson  and Ken Macleay, India made 247 with contributions of Srikkanth 24; Yashpal Sharma 40; Sandip Patil 30; Kapil Dev 28 & extras 37 !  The batting line-up of Trevor Chappel, Greame Wood, G Yallop, David Hookes, Alan Border, Rod Marsh, Macleay were bowled out for 129 in 38.2 overs.  Roger Binny had figures of 8-2-29-4; while Madanlal bettered him with 8.2-3-20-4.

This morning Dhoni displayed his acumen when Finch was adjudged not out – Ravindra Jadeja goaded him into making a review – the ball did hit the stumps – but by the discretionary power Richard Kettleborough continued his decision of ruling the batsman not out !

Aussies did resort to sledging in keeping with their attitude – before the match James Faulkner was quoted as believing that  instances of sledging will be inevitable; earlier the confrontation between Shane Watson and Pakistan's Wahab Riaz enlivened the tournament.  For Aussies, playing tough, means shouting out expletives.

In the end, it was a good tournament for India, notwithstanding today’s huge loss.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Mar 2015.

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