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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The glorious Sachin and shambolic Indian performance [India Vs SA – 12th Mar 2011]

The uncertainty of this Team game is its underlying charm.  History repeats itself – sometimes too frequently.  India unable to win after scoring a big score. [why is it that 300 is not considered winnable now a days ?]  It was a tense finish – going down the wire – it appeared that SA had left it behind for the charge.  13 required of the last over from Ashish Nehra – the batsman was Robin Peterson – the first squeaked past the keeper, the second one was hit firmly for a six and the match was over – despair and dejection for Indian fans – but analyse whether Indians really deserved a win ?

In the match at Bangalore against England, Sachin played with the nonchalance of a monk  - a gem of an innings for its sheer composure.  At one point he had scored 28 off 47 and in the end when he got out at 38.2 he had scored 120 off 115 with 10 fours and 5 sixes @ a strike rate of 104.34.  The little Master has scored 14692 runs in 177 tests with 51 centuries at an average of 56.94.  In 449 One dayers he has 17953 runs with 48 centuries at a strike rate of 86.39.  Some Sachin bashers would without heart question the timing of his runs.  First some statistics and then analysis.

Though he started playing in 1989, first of his centuries came in 1994 and 33 of the 48 ensured Indian win.  This is 68.75% far more than the % of Indian wins.  Now in the last four months he has scored a 200 and in the last two he made two brilliant hundreds, which his team failed to capitalize.  Cricket is a team game.  Anybody who saw the game yesterday would realize how India floundered after the great start provided by Sachin and Sehwag.

The bowling has been club standard and one bowler is particularly culpable of the carnage.  Against England defending 328, 29 runs were required off 12 balls and England had lost 7 off its main batsmen.  With Swann and Bresnan around, bowling should have been much simpler one thought.  Chawla bowled the 49th.  2nd delivery was clubbed by Swann for a Six; 5th Bresnan tried his hand for another and 15 runs had leaked. Still 14 off the last and Munaf Patel was to contain 14 against Swanna and rabbit Shahzad.  It was 2,1, 3rd ball to Shahzad went for a clean straight six, 1 bye, 2 & 1 – 13 given.  Fortunately it was a tie and not a loss.

This time defending 296 – after 47, SA required 31 off 18. 6 wickets lost and Botha and Du Plessis at the crease when Munaf Patel languidly started his run up.  Most teams have fast bowlers who bowl lethal Yorkers, genuine bouncers and balls aimed closer to the body – we have Munaf whose very run up suggested that all is not well.  He started with atrocious full toss aimed widely and Plessis chased and rued getting connected – 1 run. 47.2 – 2 runs, third Botha swung at midwicket for 4, four hit straight back over the bowler for a six, 5th another wild swing only to get out and another single off the last.  Now 17 off 2 overs.  Zaheer bowled the penultimate : 1,1,1,0,1,0.  Great over indeed – now the equation is 13 off 6 (against England it was 14).  Dhoni had the dilemma of finishing with Harbhajan but went the traditional way tossing it to Nehra. Thick inside of the first ball went past the stumps and Dhoni to fine leg for four.  Of the next, Peterson clobbered a huge six and it was all over by now.  The four in the 4th delivery was just a formality.
Not only was the bowling miserable – the batting was worser.  From a commanding 267 for one, Indians contrived to get themselves all out for 296 – losing nine wickets for less then 30.  Steyn who had gone all over the park finished with 5 for 50.

What a start it was earlier :  Sachin and Virender really provided a flier of a start.  It was 142 run start – 87 came off the first 10, the highest start in the WC thus far, overtaking the 82 scored against Netherlands.  The top 3 made runs, though Gambir scratched around for long. In the last 10 overs, India made 28 losing 8 wickets – what an ignominy.

At the end of 39, Indians had made 258 for 1 with Sachin at 111* off 100 balls with 8 fours and 3 sixers.  Gambhir was at 60* - Steyn had not taken a single wicket leaking 46 off his 7.  Such was the dominance of Sachin.  Sehwag made 73 off 66; Gambhir 69 off 75 balls – others read :  0, 12, 12*, 1, 3, 0, 0, 0.

That’s how Indian batsmen fared and the bowling quality has reveled itself – Munaf again going for 65 in his 10; Nehra 65 off 8.4.   India would still qualify for the next round.  As I have been telling, it is a tournament with long start with many meaningless encounters and sudden finish.  The next round [QF]  will separate the Chaff and that is a single match affair………..

Regards – S. Sampathkumar. 

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