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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thumping win for WI - what a result of Wankhede

A search on WI + cricket yielded a result of ‘WI makes a thumping win’ – how misleading it was !!

It was not the result of Wankhede but of the finals at Mirpur where WI women completed a thumping 130-run win against Pakistan Women in the final of the Women's World Cup Qualifiers.  West Indies chose to bat and put on 250 for 5, driven by a hard-hitting career-best 95 from Deandra Dottin. The top order all contributed, with cameos, opener Juliana Nero also hitting a half-century. While Dottin's knock included seven sixes and five fours, Nero steered the innings with a 98-ball 63. Pakistan's opener Qanita Jalil put the side on course with a fluent 53, but once offspinner Anisa Mohammed came on, the innings collapsed. Anisa too put in a career-best performance, claiming 7 for 14 in 8.3 overs to bowl Pakistan out for 120.

In the much sought after match at Wankhede, Mumbai (Test No. 2019 – 22nd to 26th Nov 2011) – a draw was the predicted result.  At draw of stumps yesterday, WI were 81 for 2 – 189 lead over all – perhaps a dull dreary draw was expected.  But it turned out to be exceptionally exciting match.  A great advertisement for Test cricket and a perfect result – this Test at Wankhede would be remembered for the tension and the great result.  Those who did not watch the match in the end may never understand how a ‘draw’ could be termed a great result.

Both the teams scored 724 : WI 590 & 134; India 482 & 242/9.   Ravichandran Ashwin, was the Man of the Match and Man of the Series, but  there were some who blamed him after the last ball.  The events unfolded in this manner when he faulted for a split second in going back for that non-existent single.  When the last over of the match was up – India needed 3 runs, WI needed 2 wickets and all the 4 results : an Indian Win, a WI win, a draw and a tie were in the realms of reality. 

The rookie Varun Aaron was at the strike and Fidel Edwards cleverly varied his pace without giving any run in the first three.  The 4th ball – misfield at midoff by Marlon Samuels and Indians scampered a single. 5th ball very cleverly  played by Ashwin without going for any swipe … clever because now only two results are possible – an Indian win or a draw.  6th ball was smashed to long on – was that Brathwaite ? – Ashwin not the quickest of the runner between the wickets, pushes himself, grounds his bat and a split second wait – Aaron is back running like a hare…   good throw to the keepers’ end – smart thinking by the fielder – Ashwin appeared a bit reluctant to go for the run – for a second you felt like blaming Ashwin – the hero who hit a century in the first, took 5 & 4 wickets and then made a good 14.  Perhaps his plan was that the throw would come to the non-striker’s end and if he stays till Aaron comes nearer, there is the possibility of that winning single.

Darren Sammy has reasons to smile after the way WI folded this morning.  From 78/3 it was 91/3 and then at 112 they lost Bravo & Samuels, at 129 the 8th wicket fell and at 134 9th and 10th – bowled out for 134 – leaving a target of 243.  Praveen Ojha had figures of 27-5-47-6 and Ashwin after that century and a 5 wicket haul in the first had  15.2-0-34-4

When India chased Sehwag made a good 60.   Gambhir was the first to go at 19, Sehwag at 101, Sachin almost immediately and at 165/5 when Laxman left and 189/6 when Dhoni left in 49.4 overs with 14 overs to go – West Indies fancied their chances more – but Ashwin’s partnership with Kohli and with Ishant Sharma inched closer to the target.
With that performance, there is no more room for Harbhajan who has been left out the Australian series.  The 17 member squad reads :

Squad: MS Dhoni (capt &wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan (subject to fitness).

No to legspinner Rahul Sharma – Pace attack of Ishant, Umesh Yadav, Aaron, Praveen kumar and Zaheer.   But what will happen if  Vinaykumar, Ravindra Jadeja or Rahul Sharma perform exceedingly well in the Onedayers against West Indies ?

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Immediately after the match I posted, that it was Brathwaite,  from whom the all important throw of the last ball of the match thundered in to the gloves of Carlton Baugh.

I stand corrected (first by my friend Rajaraman) that it was this player who originally started as a fast bowler, then kept wickets honing his reflexes.  He led Trinidad & Tobago and WI U19 sides before getting selected – Denesh Ramdin. 

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