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    April 11, 2005

    Salman Butt and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan star as Pakistan romp to victory at Jamshedpur

    Pakistan beat India by 106 runs at Jamshedpur, a ridiculously easy victory, to ensure that the series would remain undecided till at least the fifth match. The toss virtually decided the outcome yet again and all Pakistan needed to do was to put up around 300 on the board. The team was obviously unperturbed by the incident at Ranchi airport.

    They did that, thanks to a superb century from Salman Butt and good supporting roles played by Shoaib Malik and Yousuf Youhana. Pakistan started off without any scares as Butt and Afridi scored at nearly a run-a-ball. Afridi batted like a tortoise, by his normal standards, as he crawled to 17 made in 17 balls faced. After he got out edging to Dravid at a widish first-slip, Shoaib Malik came in, not having scored too many runs in the past few games. The three quick bowlers India had did not make too much of an impression on the batsmen and when the spinners came on, the scoring rate increased. Tendulkar, whose around the wicket bowling strategy has been criticized by Peter Roebuck, was not effective this time around as Malik easily hit him through and over the legside. Pakistan reached 100 in 20 overs and the two batsmen reached their half-centuries soon thereafter.

    Just as the partnership neared 150, Malik pulled a short delivery from Sehwag straight to Tendulkar at deep mid-wicket. Inzamam struck a rapid 23 before he was out to Nehra, who was the best of the Indian bowlers. Youhana came in and batted beautifully to ensure that Pakistan's runrate, which had started slacking off at that stage, was brought back on track. Butt then reached his second one-day century, both against India, and was out after a mix-up with Youhana resulted in him sacrificing his wicket. The rest of the batsmen slogged around and Pakistan reached 319. Irfan Pathan had been ordered out of the attack after he bowled two beamers in an over during the slog. Considering that they were 175/1 at the 30 over stage, they really should have reached around 350.

    Pakistan's bowlers however ensured that even if the target was 250, India would have not got anywhere near it. First Sehwag got out smacking one outside off straight to point. Then Tendulkar edged to slip. The Ganguly horror show continued as he also followed Tendulkar's example. At the six over stage, India were 20/3 and the contest was effectively over. Dhoni couldnt exactly repeat his act in the previous game but he did entertain the crowd for a while before one ambitious shot too many resulted in his wicket. Yuvraj too didnt hang around for too long, edging to the keeper. Dravid hung around for a while and scored a few runs but was then surprised by a bouncer from Sami and was easily caught behind the wicket. 82/6 in the 16th over. Cricket must bring in rules similar to that in boxing to stop the match if it was a knockout. This certainly was shaping up to be one. The fat lady in the pavillion had already cleared her throat.

    Kaif and Pathan then had a half-century partnership, Pathan obviously desperate to make up for his crappy bowling performance. Kaif then drove one from Kaneria straight to cover while Harbhajan didnt hang around for too long either. After Zaheer joined Pathan, the runs started to flow, especially when Afridi came in to bowl. Pathan got to his half-century but was out a few blows later, caught behind off a slower delivery from Naved-ul-Hasan, giving him his fifth wicket. Nehra was then yorked and Rana had six for the game as well as stealing the man of the match award from Salman Butt. The next game is at Ahmedabad.

    India's ridiculous over-rate meant that Ganguly copped a fine. Of course, I cant see why Broad had to say that even though India had a history of slow over-rates, he couldnt take that into account. If he couldnt take that into account, since the instances were in previous years, why mention it in the first place? Of course, this means the Indian team needs to be really careful because Ganguly came close to being banned last year for a similar offence.

    If the toss is obviously going to reflect in the result, why bother going through nearly eight hours of madness? Picture this during the toss made at the wicket:

    Ravi Shastri: Sourav Ganguly has the coin and will toss. Inzamam will call.

    Inzamam: Heads!

    Ravi Shastri: Inzamam calls heads and it lands up as a head. So Inzamam, what're you planning to do?

    Inzamam: Bismillah ur-Rahman ur-Rahim. First of all, thanks to Allah. Ravi, we're planning to go and watch a noon show now, having won the game. I would really like to thank Bob Woolmer for the support he gave me when I told him I was going to call "heads". The rest of the team wanted me to call "tails". Shoaib Akhtar SMS-ed me before I came to the field saying he would support whatever I called, as long as I called him to play in the series. See you later, Ravi. We're going to watch Mallika Sherawat. She is a hot babe!

    Ravi Shastri: Ok, enjoy yourselves. Now I call upon Ganguly to come and share his views. So Sourav, what went wrong?

    Ganguly: Well, obviously either the laws of probability suck or our team data analyst knows nothing. He goes through all sorts of statistics, such as the kind of grunt Kaneria makes when he is about to bowl his googly or what signal Afridi gives to Kamran Akmal to ensure that the keeper is standing around fineleg when he is about to deliver his faster ball. But he never found out about what the best option to call during a toss is. Now the series is tied at 2-2 and we need to do something to ensure that Pakistan do not win the one-dayers as well.

    Ravi Shastri: How does this loss affect the team morale? What about your own batting form?

    Ganguly: Well, certainly we'd have liked to have won here. As for my own batting form, I'm quite happy with the way things are. If the game is always decided at the toss, I never need to bat! The next game is at Ahmedabad and John Wright has arranged for a lesson in probability for all of us at the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad.

    Ravi Shastri: Have a great time. Thats all from down here. Thanks to all of you who watched such a thrilling game!

    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:59 AM |
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    1 sledge(s):

    That's funny. :) I have posted a link to this post in my blog.

    By Blogger Gana (11-Apr-2005, 6:03:00 PM)  

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