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    February 13, 2006

    Outrageous and baffling

    Outrageous: How to describe the way Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the game away from Pakistan at Lahore today. When he came in to bat, Tendulkar (see below) and Kaif had just been dismissed. India needed nearly 100 from 15 overs. He started off cautiously and then went berserk, ending up with 72 in 46 balls! On the way, he went past 1000 one-day international runs in just his 29th one-day innings and now has a batting average of nearly 50, with a strike rate over 100. Of course, this isn't the first time he has hurt Pakistan with his batting: First, at Vishakapatnam and then more recently at Faisalabad.

    Baffling: Inzamam's refusal to bring Razzaq on until the 30th over, by when Tendulkar and Yuvraj had put on 73, at more than 6.5 runs per over. Razzler struck in his third over, dismissing Tendulkar, who was looking really well set as he accelerated towards the 90s, for the sixth time in one-dayers. Before Razzaq stepped in to bowl, Afridi had bowled 3-4 overs of utterly pointless spin, clearly in pain with a side strain. Inzamam has done quite a few dopey things, but this comes close to taking the biscuit!

    I also wonder what the immediate future holds for Naved-ul-Hasan Rana. He has bowled 25 overs in this series, taken a wicket nearly every six overs, but has conceded the small matter of nearly eight runs an over. He'll probably be forgiven, since it was his bowling that contributed to restricting India's scoring in the final stages of the innings at Peshawar. Zainub's favourite cricketer, Mohammad Sami, has been called up to replace Shoaib Akhtar. I wonder what she'll have to say about this.

    Meanwhile, injured Harbhajan and Sehwag will return home rather than hang around with the team, obviously keeping in mind the fact that they are unlikely to play any games and the series against England starts soon.

    Thus spake Jagadish @ 8:27 PM |
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    3 sledge(s):

    Dhoni's innings was breath-taking especially taking the circumstances into account. Sachin's knock was brilliant, and so was Yuvraj's. The Indians had a great game. The only thing that I felt India could have done better was their ground fielding. It was very poor to-day. They dropped three sitters. I also felt Ramesh Powar should have been the supersub instead of Z.Khan who was walloped for 36 from 4 overs. I know its easier to say on a hind-sight, but what do u feel Jagadish ?

    By Blogger Sesh (13-Feb-2006, 10:34:00 PM)  

    the real match winner was not dhoni..
    the match winners were tendu and dravid.. and the best strokes they played were the ones they didn't.. asif and gul were seaming the ball all over the place.. and it was the patient leaves from tendu and dravid that helped set up dhoni.. if dhoni had to arrive earlier he would have gone just like irfan..
    i knew india would win the game when tendu was out on 95.. i was like nooo... for pak to win tendu must score a 100..
    for once tendu did the right thing not to slowwww down to get his hundred.. he played his shots.. and got out on 95.. instead of grinding out 90-100.. good stuff...
    rana was just horrendous.. but more than him.. inzi has porridge for brains.. wasting razzaq and asif's last overs.. by putting in the most expensive bowler..
    sami is not going to make a difference.. we need another one like gul and asif... the problem with rana,arafat and sami is that they are not tall.. can't bang the ball in to make it cut off the pitch.. they just skid through for the indians to hit through the line..
    if sami can muster up some yorkers at good pace.. then that is all he can add..
    the only thing that impressed me from the pak side was the bowling of asif.. i was just blown away.. that kind of accuracy you never associate with a pak player..
    wasim and waqar were good.. but they were never this accurate..
    too early to say.. i just hope asif can keep going..
    he opened the bowling which was great to say.. in just his 4th one day he was promoted to opening the bowling.. and rightly so..
    irfan is lethal for left handers.. like butt.. i think butt has been out exactly the same way.. almost action replay to pathan.. 3 times on a duck.. butt needs to learn how to "leave" balls.. maybe he should watch how tendu and dravid left balls.. it isn't difficult to leave balls from pathan if you focus on the ball and seam position.. his balls start curving almost straight from the hand.. so he is more deadly against in experienced players.. against really good aussie batsmen.. pathan will find it difficult.. because those guys are more at risk from late swing..
    the kind of early swing that pathan gets is deadly for ball chasers.. who try to get behind the ball.. but since pathan gets that big curve going on the ball.. they usually end up not being able to get behind the ball..
    he is less dangerous for right handers.. THAT is if the right handers know that he can get some big shape back in to their pads.. and are on the look out for it..
    butt got 100 in the first match because pathan was not getting swing.. in the next match if pathan gets swing.. butt if doesn't learn how to leave balls.. then he might be going out for another duck..

    By Anonymous Anonymous (14-Feb-2006, 6:35:00 AM)  

    Sesh: Yes, Tendulkar's and [to some extent] Dravid's knocks setup Yuvraj and Dhoni to achieve the win. The best thing about the whole innings was the pacing. India's runrate was almost constantly around 5.5 while the asking rate seldom went above 7. Yes, the fielding was abysmal, especially considering it was very good at Rawalpindi. But we've done this before - we conceded just two wides and one no-ball against Sri Lanka at Rajkot and followed that up with 23 wides at Baroda. Zaheer as a super-sub didn't make too much sense. Powar would have at least contributed with the bat if required.

    Anonymous: Tendulkar and Dravid certainly were responsible for India not slipping to something like 40/4. Your knowing that India would win when Tendulkar got out for 95 is a little baffling. If anything, he was batting sublimely then and never looked like slowing down. Perhaps Dhoni would have only ended up with a 30-ball 50 rather than a 46-ball 72. Interesting to see how Yuvraj batted when Dhoni was smacking 'em around. Their partnership was nearly 100 runs in 13 overs. So Yuvraj scored nearly 30 at a run-a-ball. Superb support! I'm not too convinced about Umar Gul. This was the one time he bowled well. The previous two games he'd not done anything to suggest he was going to be a force. Now all India needs to do is to smack Asif around in the next two games, easier said than done!

    So Butt now has scores of 101, 0, 0. What next? I think Pakistan's batting lineup is extremely imbalanced. I have no idea why they meddled around with a fairly successful opening partnership. Shoaib Malik hurts India in one-dayers the way Younis Khan hurts us in tests. So I have to disagree with Imran's ad nauseum comments on how Younis should be coming in earlier. Perhaps Pakistan need to ponder about Yousuf's position. He cannot come in ahead of Inzamam!

    I don't quite agree with your comments on Pathan's ability against experienced batsmen and right-handers. If you look at his wickets in tests and one-dayers, he has dismissed the likes of Mohd. Yousuf, Sangakkara and Afridi. He also seems to have dismissed right-handers and left-handers in more or less equal proportion.

    By Blogger Jagadish (14-Feb-2006, 12:27:00 PM)  

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