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Monday, September 24, 2012

India thrashes England; Murali Vijay's record

Cricket is no Science … it is not simple Mathematics or logic either.  India struggled against minnows Afganisthan and England thrashed them – so when England met India in an inconsequential match, some had predicted that England would prevail easily over the struggling Indian bowling attack. Stuart Broad made just one change – while Dhoni chopped the team and experimented with 4 changes. Ashwin, Sehwag, Zaheer [who was recently spoken at bowling Sachin] all sat out.  Kevin Pietersen on mike said – Broad wants to maintain England’s winning ways – ‘winning is a habit’ and he is not prepared to lose; Dhoni has made up his mind to provide chances to his bench, perhaps not an attempt to win !!

The era of Greg Chappel can be summarized as putting to difficulty Sachin, Sehwag, humiliating Ganguly and sidelining Zaheer. The only solution was hype the image of Irfan Pathan, the all rounder, who would open the bowling and bat one drop.  Ironically, is the same formula working once again… Pathan opens the bowling, no Zaheer, no Sehwag and he opened up the batting too yesterday.  Bhaji came back after 1 year recluse in place of Ashwin who has been performing consistently and extraordinarily.  Is Harbhajan Singh -  the solution to India's World Twenty20 bowling problems, or just a spin bowler enjoying the simplest of comebacks against a hapless England side? India thrashed England by 90 runs and Harbhajan, in his first international for more than a year, finished with 4 for 12, the best bowling performance by an Indian bowler in Twenty20 internationals, and the Man-of-the-Match award. 
 Photo courtesy :

Jade Dernbach is a very modern cricketer. Earrings on both ears, tattoos covering each arm and words to accompany each delivery.  He did nothing exceptional and bowled a poor last over, straying all over, still letting out expletives and questioning the Umpire’s wisdom calling wides.  Yet he got away, being an Englishman and his arrogance would be put as spirited display !! 

          In a phase, where we would see some serious matches, there was the ridiculous 7 overs match in which SA made 78 for 4  with De Villiers making 30.  Lankans tried throwing bat at everything, succeeded in none and ended up making  46 for 5. De Villiers' 30 off 13 balls and baseball style run out of Tillakaratne Dilshan set the tone for a match dominated by South Africa.  In another match, West Indies delighted with Gayle and Samuels making 50s and making a score of 191/8 but were robbed by DL method when rain stopped play with Australia 100/1.  Shane Watson was Man of the Match for his 41 not out and 2 for 29

At Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, England  won the toss and chose to field. When Kohli got out India were 82 after 10.3 overs,  a score of 170 was not the toughest of the targets.   Kohli and Gambhir  made runs but it was entirely an opportunity made out for Rohit Sharma, who despite so many failures continue to get call overlooking Manoj Tiwary, Rahane and others – could bat above Raina and Dhoni and had so much opportunity and time to settle down and made runs at last. 

The score card would read India 170 for 4 (Sharma 55*) beat England 80 (Harbhajan 4-12, Chawla 2-13) by 90 runs.  The result would be insignificant in T20WC but was heartwarming for Indian fans, denting England’s ego.  England's first error was to misread the pitch. While India included two specialist spinners, England dropped Samit Patel to make way for the extra seam option of Tim Bresnan. England's final total of 80 was their lowest in T20Is, surpassing the 88 they managed against West Indies at The Oval in 2011. The margin of defeat is also the largest, in terms of runs, England have suffered in T20Is and the largest victory inflicted by India.

Harbhajan Singh's 4 for 12 is the best bowlingperformance by an Indian bowler in Twenty20 internationals surpassing RP Singh's 4 for 13 against South Africa in 2007. Harbhajan's performance is also the fifth-best in the World Twenty20.  Piyush Chawla joined the party enjoying England's clueless batting. Jonny Bairstow, reading the googly as if it were in Greek, missed a slog-sweep, while Craig Kieswetter, his foot nowhere near the pitch of the ball, was undone by a legbreak and edged to slip. It was, by any standards, a dreadful performance with the bat.

Back home, if some were listening, Irani Cup is on at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as, expectedly, Rest of India's batsmen piled on the runs against Rajasthan. M Vijay batted to glory,  reaching the highest individual score in the tournament's history, beating a 22-year-old record held by Praveen Amre, to pretty much ensure the Ranji champions would be denied the Irani Cup for a seventh year in a row.  Way back in Nov. 1990, against BengalROI had declared at 737/7 with Ravi Shastri the captain making 217 and Pravin Amre made 246…………… but would the Selectors or anybody else seriously make a note of this match or of the classy Vijay innings !!        

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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