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Friday, July 12, 2013

ice-cool MS Dhoni ... does it again... finishes it in style.. !!

The art of finishing…  Sunil Gavaskar once said ‘never leave it to somebody ~ what you can do by yourself’……….. !!!..... after watching many IPL matches [mind you they are 20 0vers aside] – last over finish is sort of regular and more regular is ice-cool Dhoni finishing [some of his critics might say that he allows it to boil to the last over …….. last night (or this morning) – I did not see, but my father did describe it in great detail]….. people used to speak of Micheal Bevan earlier…. Dhoni has now more than 100 average in such finishes……….

It is not easy or simple ~ the no. 6 batsman walks in at a time when they are dumped down or when chasing ….. the side is in trouble – and more than winning, survival could be the first thing in mind….. the pressure is more from the rising run-rate and the need to score and score them in quick time….. Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again lived upto the ‘Captain Cool’ tag as he held his nerve to almost singlehandedly guide India to yet another title triumph with a narrow one-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a thrilling final of the the Tri-nation ODI series here.

Needing 15 from the last over in their chase of 202, Dhoni smashed Shaminda Eranga for two sixes and a boundary in just four balls to finish off the game in style at the Queen’s Park Oval.  The score card reads : India 203 for 9 (Rohit 58, Dhoni 45*, Herath 4-20) beat Sri Lanka 201 (Sangakkara 71, Thirimanne 46, Jadeja 4-23, Bhuvneshwar 2-24) by one wicket ……… but the actual picture lay much different – Lankans were coasting so well that they were around 180+ for 2 ….. then collapsed to 201….. India also suffered a middle order crash.  Ishant Sharma survived the penultimate over when 2 runs were made ….  15 off the last 6 and Dhoni changed his bat preparing to change gear………. The first ball Eranga bowled out of the reach – Dhoni swung and missed but…….. next was wide and full – Dhoni smashed it right over his read to the top of the roof ~ 3rd went to point boundary and by then Shaminda Eranga would have been ruing his fate of having to bowl to MSD – the 4th disappeared over extracover, Dhoni smiling when others were ecstatic.

So Dhoni took upon himself and finished it style another time…. Eranga ended up giving 50 after that assault though he had accounted for Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli….. it was close to a treacherous pitch where bowlers enjoyed the uneven bounce and turn ~ it was not exactly the asking rate but more of falling wickets…. Ranganna Herath bowled so well – and so did Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin.

It is not IPL time and on International cricket, Lankans have displayed their awesome thirst for victory by all means … the senior most  Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara  appealed for an obstructing-the-field appeal against Dhoni. They wanted his wicket so badly….  Ishant was panicky and tried unnecessary singles.  So by 4th delivery of that final over, Eranga perhaps knew it was formality and suffered the fate of bowling to MSD…. Yes, we are following at a time when things are going good for India…. still Dhoni has been too cool and excellent…..

The match was the 400th ODI for Mahela Jayawardene. Sachin Tendlkar (463) and Sanath Jayasuriya (445) only are ahead. Jayawardene is the only player to have played 100 consecutive ODIs in two separate streaks. He played 119 successive games between May 1999 and March 2003, and 122 matches without missing one between November 2005 and December 2009. Russell Arnold is the only other Sri Lankan to have appeared in 100 consecutive ODIs. Mahela has played 57% of Sri Lanka's ODIs - 394 out of 692 matches.

In the top 13 – only 2 are Australians; the rest are all Asians – Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuirya, Mahela Jayawardene, Inzamam ul Haq, Ricky Ponting, Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi, Muralitharan, Kumara Sangakkara, Rahul Dravid, Azharuddin, Steve Waugh and Chaminda Vaas.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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