Before I go on in a condescending note, let me admit to my readers that I only watched India’s batting. The SA innings, I mostly caught in the morning highlights section. (But then, isn’t the entire T20 format like a highlights section itself ?)
- It was clear from the first ball of the match that SA had come up with a wicket to suit their quicks. (Kingsmead always provides movement to the fast bowlers. Remember India ending up with 100 and 99 in a test match here in 96-97 ?). However, in this tournament so far, this ground had come up with wickets which did not offer that kind of prodigious support to the bowlers. It was almost like this wicket was prepared to suit SA for this particular match since they needed to come up with a win (or something close to a win) to go through to the semis.
- SA did not have to prepare a wicket to suit the fast bowlers. They had enough fire-power in their batting and bowling departments to beat India on a fair wicket. They made this mistake against India in the last season’s first test match too. It was only through India’s lackluster performance in the next two tests that they got out of jail in that series. Also, if they need a tailor-made wicket to beat India (who are in-form today, out tomorrow), how were they planning on beating Australia if they did make it to the semis ?
- I found out after yesterday’s match that all cricketers drop dollies. Period. I was watching Karthick drop catches in England earlier in the summer, saw Yuvraj drop one in the last match against England and I thought that there was some problem there. When I saw Philander drop one last night, it brought a smile to my face ! All is well with the world, no ?
- RP Singh’s dismissal of Pollock summed up the irony of the pitch being watered especially to suit SA. Readers need to be reminded of almost the exact same delivery that he bowled to get rid of Matt Prior in the second Test match against England (the one that India won !) earlier in the summer. The one that is bowled wide of the crease, comes in with the angle, pitches on a very full length, and keeps going. It is usually bowled to exploit the batsman’s attempt to turn the ball past square-leg, but here it beat the straight-drive that Pollock offered.
- The two late-innings stumpings off Harbhajan were pure joy. For how long have I hoped that he would give up his natural middle and leg line and switch to a little offside-ish ! He used to bowl that off-outside-off line a lot early in his career. He used to get the batsmen to charge down the wicket.The ball would then drift away, beat the bat and go straight, without turning, to the keeper for an easy stumping (Bhajji’s version of the “doosra” !).
- Dhoni’s post-match comments that they played without a game-plan (I got this from a news-channel and, at the time of this going to press, I do not have a confirmed source for this ). To me, it makes a lot of sense. Apart from a few field-setting decisions, this format has to be all about skill. It is difficult, dangerous even, to think of a game-plan.
Let us all say a collective “Hi !” to the Aussies before the semis.
P.S: My predictions for this World Cup have all gone wrong without exception. The biggest one (India will NOT win the Cup) still has a chance, though !