Sunday, September 23, 2007

Get Set for the BIG Final

Biggest final of cricket tournaments in recent times is finally here. It can’t be better than this. We have reached the final phase of the inaugural edition of ICC Twenty Twenty cricket world cup. India v/s Pakistan tie on Monday, 24th of September 2007 is being eagerly awaited by the cricket fans all over the world.

India came into this tournament as the youngest team with not much experience in the ODIs or in the twenty twenty international (TTI). And there were not many expectations from them. But they have performed amazingly well beating the likes of South Africa and Australia. Pakistan with its share of controversies till the beginning of the tournament too was in a similar position as India. But they have also managed to beat top teams like Australia and Sri Lanka.

Manner in which the two teams have progressed in the tournament is worth noting. India v/s Pakistan clash in the league stage was the first real test of nerves for these two teams. It resulted in a tie and then India won the bowl out 3-0. First super 8 match for India was against New Zealand and when every thing seemed correct to setup an Indian win, kiwis put on the breaks on the Indian juggernaut to win the match by 10 runs. But then those 2 spectacular performances set the tone for the Indian juggernaut to role on. India won against England mostly on the batting prowess riding on the 12 ball fifty by Yuvraj Singh. And against South Africa it was bowling and fielding which made their mark. South Africans who did not loose a game till then in the tournament choked to pressure and bowed out of the tournament. Semi final against Australia saw best of all three – batting, bowling and fielding which was on display in the previous two matches. If in batting Yuvraj Singh repeated his heroics against England then in bowling RP Singh against South Africa was replaced by Sreesanth. Pakistan on the other hand won two crucial matches, one against Sri Lanka, who were riding high on the batting exploits of Jayasurya on most occasions and another against the biggies Australia. Beating Bangladesh in the last super 8 tie was just a formality. New Zealand and Pakistan have been semifinal buddies on couple occasions now. I remember the same fate New Zealand suffered in the 1999 cricket world cup semi final in England against the same team.

Two exciting finals featuring India and Pakistan are,

  • 1986 Astralasia Cup final at Sharjah - This match was won by Pakistan courtesy Javed Miandad hitting last ball of the innings off Chetan Sharma for a six. This is still fresh in the minds of cricket buffs.
  • 1998 Bangladesh Independence Cup at Dhaka - Here in the best of the three finals India won the first one, Pakistan the second and India won the third final chasing record total 314 thus winning the cup 2-1, thanks to Hrishikesh Kanitkar for hitting that crucial boundary.

Thus the Monday match going to be an exciting contest typical of India Pakistan contests. This final match has an unusual trend of Australia not playing. In recent times virtually every final of the tournament Australia played had their name in final game but not here. Welcome change!

Coming to Twenty twenty cricket, purists may rub it off as base ball version of cricket, but honestly this has renewed interest among cricket enthusiasts who are otherwise tired of the laborious tests and one-sided ODI encounters. And this has even found new fan base. Main factor here is the time constraint. Match getting over within 3 hours. Well, that is duration you would watch a Hindi or any regional language movie in India. If the match goes well it is similar to watching good movie otherwise it is not a movie worth watching! With world being so competitive and in fast lane, cricket can not be left behind. Twenty twenty cricket can be seen as logical extension of ODI format. And in the long run this is definitely going to replace ODIs. Forget tests, who would want to waste his whole day just to decide who the winner is. Some say the climax of one day matches are rare to see here but we have seen some of the best moments in India v/s Pakistan, India v/s New Zealand, England v/s New Zealand, India v/s Australia to name a few in this tournament already.

India v/s Australia saw the best of both teams but in the end India won the battle of nerves. This is rare to see, Australia buckling under pressure. This might well set the tone for the upcoming ODI series against them in India, first one being held on 29th September, 2007 in Bangalore. Australia saw their first upset against Zimbabwe in league and then against Pakistan. But then Aussies have come out from dearth of situations but this time Indians took the better of them.

Predicting the winner in a final has always been difficult. For me Indians start as favorites simply for the intensity with which they played the last three games against England, South Africa and Australia. Pakistan’s win against Bangladesh was unconvincing and the semi final against New Zealand was a cake walk. But still final matches bring out the best in teams (since Australia is not playing!!) so you never know who the ultimate winner is.



  1. Amazing preview of the Final,

    DO read my blog for the complete match summary,

    Hope you would enjoy it



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