India vs. West Indies
Now what to say about Team India? I was angry, upset and basically pissed off at how they performed when they played last with South Africa. There was an obvious lack of commitment and excitement from the team. And so, I had zero expectations from the team as they came into their match with the West Indies. All I knew was this. If India did want to play school cricket and lose this match, this was the time. They had already made it into the quarter finals. All this match would do was determine who they played first. Win and they play Australia, lose and they play Sri Lanka. While I knew the West Indies weren't top notch, I also knew they were not ones to be casual about. With so little knowledge about the West Indies (I knew much more about them back in the day), I turned to the ever so trusty Castrol Cricket Index for some background. Let's put it this way, India sores in batting but in the bowling department, the West Indies definitely scores higher. Cause for concern? Absolutely! The Indian team's bowling attack is definitely not the best in the current cricket world. In fact, the team themselves know that this department is in need of some serious strengthening. Sigh. Oh and on a side note, the Castrol Cricket Index also went on to inform me of this one small but major detail. 4. Four. Chaar. That is the number of matches required for India to raise the World Cup. Seems like a small number, nahin? But only if the teams plays like a unit. Oh Cricket Gods...Have Mercy!
* The God, Sachin Tendulkar, may have gotten out for a mere 2 runs but watta player. He was bowled and caught but before the umpire could raise his finger, the player walked. He knew immediately he was out and in all honesty, the umpire was undecided. Who knows what could have happened? He could have stayed in and hit a century. Lekin nahin. Apna Tendu is better than that. The honest cricketer walked. Would any other cricketer have done that? Hell no! Respect to the best we have. It was at this point that I realized that India was going to win...after all we never win when Sach hits a 100+.
* Gautam Gambhir, looking not so Ghumbir today, looked in full form. Ready to hit, hit, hit. Out for 22 yes, but definitely worthy of a watch. Oh and his lovely fours - one after the other, after he was provoked (read: khunaas!) by Rampaul was fantastic. Now that is fun cricket (evil laugh)!
* Hai Hai Main Mar Jawaan! My crush on Virat Kohli is increasing by the minute. So sad he's so much younger to me. But he did go on to score 59! Yay! I always said the kid had talent. Today, he proved it! Woohoo!
* Star of the day, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Yuvraj Singh. Ab kya kahoon main? See, I've never been a huge Yuvi fan. Teekh hai, munda aata hai, kuch karke sometimes chale jaata hai. But not today. Out he came and hit 113 amazing, fulfilling, Punjaban runs! Sada Yuvi was in full tip-top shape! Lage raho!!
* The West Indian bowlers were teh-teh-phus. All except one: Ravi Rampaul. Now I know very little about the lad but hello Castrol Cricket Index! Basically this is what I learned very quickly. Rampaul is in fab form with 96% efficiency in his bowling. And his 51/5, mashallah!
* The West Indies innings was running along swiftly. In fact with Devon Smith cruising along (he finally went on to make 81 super chilled out runs), I really did begin to believe, yeh toh haath se gaya. Lekin nahinnnn!!!
* Zaheer Khan to the rescue! His bowling broke the partnership with a nice beautiful wicket and voila! We were back in the game! And then later, 2 more wickets. Such a rockstar!
* Yuvraj Singh was in really good form today. Besides his 100+ runs, he took 2 crucial wickets.
* Quick mention is needed for new boy (and local Chennaite) Ravichandran Ashwin. Good fielding and good bowling. Well done new kid!
* Okay, I've been chirping on and on about the terrible Indian fielding. Today, I'll sing hymns instead. Wah Wah! Alright, maybe that's pushing it, but hello, they were better today.
* The top West Indies batting order proved to be incredibly effective. They all pitched in to really pile on the runs to the best of their capabilities. Now that is solid batting. Kudos lads!
* What is up with Team India? Why can't they play all 50 overs anymore? Sigh.
* The slow pace of the game really made me yawn far too much. I wanted more dhinchak bindaas cricket. Nahin hua. Boo.
* The West Indies lower order is dire need of some beefing up. Their numbers looked like a phone number. Eeks!
* And lastly, the Indian bowlers were great. But why is does it take us eons to get rid of the tailenders? Grr...they are call Tail-Enders for a reason ladko!
I wish I could sit here and go on about the fabulous cricket I saw today, but that wasn't the case. It was good to see India win but the team lacked any sense of enthusiasm and conviction. This will not work going forward IF they intend to lift the cup. And especially not while playing Australia who are by far the most conniving team around. A tweeter went on to tweet, "Itne be-aabru hoke jeetna bhi koi jeetna hai bangdu?" My sentiments exactly. Expecting fireworks from the men in blue come March 24th in Ahmedabad. And as for my reason as to why India needs to win. Well one word: A-U-S-T-R-A-L-I-A. Need I say more?