Showing posts from March, 2016

Individual battles.

Cricket is a team game. But the 2nd Semi-final of ICC World Twenty20 2016 will be more of individual players taking on each other than the whole team. The contest on paper might look between India and West Indies. But Chris Gayle vs R Ashwin and Virat Kohli vs Samuel Badree will emerge as the centre stage. Leave aside all the names, there are two main points to this game. An off-spinner bowling to a left-hand batsman is exciting to see. Similar is the case when a leg spinner bowls to a right hand batsman. The first point will hold true if the Gayle storm arrives in Mumbai. If it happens, not only the city but the whole country might get affected. Such is the supremacy of the big man. The Director General of the Meteorological department in MS Dhoni will have  only  one option to stop it, i.e., R Ashwin. He has had the better of Gayle in the past. From dismissing him to restricting him, both have been a walk in the park for Ashwin in all T20Is. The second point might not be th

The Favorites vs The Enhanced.

The ICC World Twenty20 2016 is into it's business end now. All eyes are now on the Top 4 teams who have qualified from the two groups. What starts now (Knockout stage) will not permit any mistake because even a microscopic error can hand you a loss in the T20 format. Such is the game. Harsh! New Zealand will face England in the 1st Semi-Final in Delhi tomorrow. Let's have a look at both the teams before the big match. New Zealand: What the black caps have done the best throughout this tournament is 'Adaptation'. If they have adapted well without Brendon McCullum, they have adapted much better with the exotic conditions. New Zealand is the only team to remain unbeaten throughout the league stage having defeated India, Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Much of the credit goes to their spinners. When you hear of the black caps in recent times, two names which instantly come to your mind are Tim Southee & Trent Boult. Ironically, both of them have been kept wait

A career tacked with injuries.

When Virat Kohli was toying with the Australian bowling attack last night, the match was not the only thing that the Aussies were losing. Cricket's one of the most genuine all-rounder was also at stake for them. Apart from adding four runs to the total, every boundary that came out of Kohli's bat meant that  Shane Watson's career would come to a standstill. Shane Watson, 34, had announced his retirement from ODIs and T20Is a few days ago. The Australian team must have thought of winning the World Twenty20 as a retirement gift for Watson. But that thought was also proved wrong when they lost to India by 6 wickets in their last league match (more of an eventual Quarter-final). For Watson, ODI cricket was put in place 14 years ago when he ironically replaced his idol, Steve Waugh, against South Africa in Centurion. He was the highest wicket-taker for Tasmania in the Pura Cup and to go with it was his batting ability. Initially, he was selected for the test team but an ODI

A whirlwind of emotions.

The ICC World Twenty20 2016 is more than half it's age now. Just when the business end of the league stage was about to begin, just when all the permutations and combinations of who will enter the Semi-finals were coming into play, India and Bangladesh played a match, which was by far the best of the tournament. The match, before it's inception was not expected to be much of a big deal. India returned to form with a win over arch-rivals Pakistan after a defeat in the opener against New Zealand. On the other hand, Bangladesh had lost both their games against Pakistan and Australia.   Not that an Indian win was certain. But it was expected from the home team. But who would have thought that the 'win' had to be snatched from the jaws of defeat? Not only from the jaws of defeat, from the jaws of an early exit from the World Cup as well. It was a perfect example of a mediocre movie ending up being a blockbuster. Indian players after winning the thriller. Having

India 1 - Pakistan 1.

For most of you, India 1 - Pakistan 1 might look surprising. For most of you, it should have been India 1 - Pakistan 0 as India defeated their arch rivals last night comfortably. For most of you, it should have been India's clean sweep in World Cups. For most of you, it should have been India 1 - Pakistan 4, considering the fact that last night's match was the first one where India defeated Pakistan in the historic venue of Eden Gardens.For me, it still is India 1 - Pakistan 1 . It was the first time when India and Pakistan played two World Cup matches on the same day. Not only the men, even the women from both the countries faced each other in their Group B encounter yesterday. The Women's match which was played in Delhi was another customary India-Pakistan clash, not being short on entertainment. Sana Mir, Pakistan Women team's captain, won the toss elected to field and her decision was equally supported by Anam Amin and Asmavia Iqbal, who shared the new ball, redu

Spreading the Roots against South Africa.

'To err is human, to choke is South Africa.' Many people might well be playing on words with the South African cricket team. But they have let their fans down at the biggest stage   yet again. World Cups in the game of cricket have come and gone (with one currently going on). South Africa have taken part in many of them. They, not having won any of them is acceptable. But one thing that remains constant with the South African cricket team is their custom of keep failing during crunch moments at the world events. Somewhat similar happened in their first match of ICC World Twenty20 2016 against England in Mumbai last night. Runs were expected to flow when England won the toss and elected to field against the Proteas. But the runs didn't flow. They were being leaked. Being leaked in abundance. The opening pair of English bowlers, the inexperienced, David Willey and Reece Topley bowled decent line and length but decent is not a decent word in T20 cricket. You have to be mor

The Great Indian Batting Collapse.

You are born in India. You play cricket. You have ample experience of playing on turning wickets. You represent your nation in the World Twenty20. Your inaugural match is against New Zealand. The pitch is slow and fairly a rank turner. You are expected to do well because New Zealand have inexperienced spinners. Your bowling attack restricts the opposition to 126. Around 1.25 billion people think you can win the match. You COLLAPSE on a paltry 79. I'm not a ghostwriter who is writing a script for someone. This is the mirror image of India's performance against New Zealand last night. Having won the toss, the visitors elected to bat on a slow wicket. Martin Guptill hit Ashwin over his head for a six off the first ball of the match but was trapped in front of the stumps playing a sweep shot on the following delivery. Colin Munro came next. Played his first ball for a duck which was followed by a six off a reverse sweep. Such acts of courage in the first over itself displayed tha

Review ICC World Twenty20: New Zealand & Sri Lanka.

New Zealand : The first thing that comes to mind in recent times after you hear New Zealand is 'Brendon McCullum'. Now the first thing that comes to mind  in recent times  after you hear 'Brendon McCullum' is that he has drawn the curtains on his international career right before the ICC World Twenty20 2016. Perhaps, the biggest setback they could have got. Kane Williamson, 25, will lead the black caps in the world event. On McCullum's absence, Williamson said, "He [McCullum] certainly led by example and he encouraged others to do the same. I think he created a lot of leaders in the group." The best example of which is Williamson himself. McCullum was instrumental in New Zealand's ploy of ATTACK, ATTACK and ATTACK right from the word go. "That aggressive brand we have been playing has been really effective for us.", added the skipper in Mumbai. Williamson has moved from No. 3 to opening the batting and New Zealand's batting is e

Review ICC World Twenty20: India & England.

India: They were champions of the inaugural edition of ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa. They crashed during the next edition in England. Somewhat similar was the story in West Indies. They did well in Sri Lanka in 2012 but were ruled out of the tournament when the Net Run Rate was more in the favor of Pakistan. They reached the final of the 2014 edition in Bangladesh but Sri Lanka proved to be the better side in all departments on the big day. Now comes 2016. The fact of paramount importance in this year's edition is that the world event is being played in India which by it's own nature make the hosts as front runners. Having said that, the team will have to prove it's metal in front of the home populace.      Indian team after winning the World Twenty20 in 2007. From the first edition of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 to the sixth edition in 2016, nine years have passed. India's performance has experienced all sorts of variations. But one pillar has

Review: ICC World Twenty20: South Africa & Pakistan.

South Africa: There are rivals. Then there are giant rivals. And then comes the rivalry of the South African cricket team against the world events in the game of cricket. They may be one of the best team present around across any format. They may be renowned as the "Best travellers" in the world. But they always manage a way to dissappoint everyone when it comes to the knockouts of world events. Every budding cricketer thinks of playing for his nation at some point of time. When he represents the nation, the goal changes to winnng the biggest prize, i.e., The World Cup for the nation. The South African cricketers cannot be different. Many legends may have have come and gone. They may have achieved the feat of scoring 20,000+ international runs (Jacques Kallis) across formats. They may have achieved the feat of taking 800+ international wickets (Shaun Pollock) across formats. But the primary goal of winning the World Cup still remains unachieved. But it is never too late

Review ICC World Twenty20: Australia & West Indies.

Australia: From The ICC World Cup to The ICC Champions Trophy, from The Ashes to The Trans Tasman Trophy, from The Border-Gavaskar Trophy to The Frank Worrell Trophy, there might not be a tournament in the sport of Cricket which the mighty Australians have not won. Oh wait, there is. "The ICC World Twenty20". It has been 9 years and 5 editions since cricket's biggest reward of the shortest format has started. But Australia is yet to win one. They have reached the Semi-finals but have always been found lacking thereafter. No matter how many times you miss them, opportunities just keep coming and that is the best part about them. The same is the scenario with Australia. The ICC World T20 2016 is another potential juncture for them to put their hands on the cup. Australia, currently ranked 5th in the ICC T20I rankings will start their campaign under the leadership of Steve Smith who was given the captaincy of the shortest format about a month ago. Smith, 26, replaced A