Vijay Lokapally was obviously mad at the Indian top order's batting performance yesterday and must have gone to sleep. I cant offer any other explanation for why he didnt mention Agarkar's 47(50) which helped India get to 200
in his report for The Hindu
All Indian cricket fans would be mad too at the batting of Ganguly, Sehwag, Laxman & Yuvraj. All of them played horrible shots. Ganguly played and missed a handful of times in the first over before nicking to Moin. Sehwag flicked an over pitched delivery straight to mid-wicket. Laxman dragged a half-tracker to mid-wicket while Yuvraj tried to smash Shoaib on the rise the third ball he faced. Kaif and Dravid had a decent partnership for a while. I didnt see much of the best partnership of the innings - between Dravid & Agarkar since I decided I was better off playing cricket than watching it. When I came back, India'd put up 200 which was decidedly a better situation to be in than 73/5.
Pathan struck thrice, in spite of Nehra's non-contribution from the other end and butter fingers, but Ganguly took him off strangely after he'd bowled 7 overs for 3 wickets conceding 11 runs. I'd have thought he'd go ahead with his full spell. Youhana and Inzamam were together and if one or both were dismissed, the cat would truly be amongst the pigeons. Agarkar bowled quite well too and that was shocking, considering that only twice before had he scored more than 40 and bowled decently in the same game: against Zimbabwe in 2000
and against West Indies in 2002
. So when will his next such performance be? The concept of arithmetic progression implies 2000, 2002, 2004 ... 2006! The wait will be well worth it!
Harbhajan was played extremely well by Inzi and Youhana, who initially hit him for a few boundaries and forced him into bowling more defensively. Once Inzi got out, Pakistan stumbled for a while as Moin & Razzaq went cheaply. But Afridi came in and belted 25 at better than 2 runs a ball, his consecutive sixes off Pathan brought down the target from 39 off 47 to 27 off 45 and released the pressure instantaneously. I was waiting for Youhana to self-destruct just before Pakistan were safe, considering he's done that quite often in the past. But the runner came out and Youhana went on to get Pakistan to the target.
It was quite a good game, but I thought the West Indies-South Africa game was better. India now head home, waiting for the air to clear on the Australia series
. Australia take on England in the first semi-final while Pakistan meet West Indies in the other.