Sunday, March 02, 2008

One More To Go...

Exemplary Performance! And that too against the best team in the world. Seeing Sachin and Rohit bat in tandem knocking of those 240 runs was really a treat to watch on a Sunday afternoon. Sachin whose 42nd century was long due, came at the right time and as they say victories weigh more than individual glories. This was reiterated by Tendulkar when Gautam Bhimani asked about the latest century, holding a banner which said 'SCG - Sachin Cricket Ground!' Well, this was Sachin's first century against the Aussies in Australia and to get it in a tri-series final makes it more special.

It was one of those rare occasions when India did not buckle under pressure. At one stage, they were 87 for 3. Not a good sign for a team chasing a target. But then India had found their new saviour in Mumbai lad, Rohit Sharma. Words of encouragement by the senior pro at the other end, was reflected in the shots he played. The making of Rohit, the team man was on during the T20 world cup in South Africa. In a league match against South Africa, he had scored 50(52) after India was down 63-4. Then, he had his good moments in the final against Pakistan too, when he smashed 30(22), score next only to Gambhir's 75(76). He also showed his skills in India's only win against Australia in the CB series league matches. Sachin, no words can rightly describe his skills and stature. When everything looked gloomy and criticisms started pouring in from all corners, this man showed his class. Once a master, always a master! Way to go Sachin!

With the Indian pace battery working consistently nowadays, Indian spinners performance get unnoticed sometimes and this match was no exception. Dhoni did not forget to mention this point during the presentation ceremony. Move by Dhoni to bring in Piyush Chawla for this match, paid rich dividends when he finished his spell, 10-0-33-0, which is pretty good against the Australians. Even Harbhajan did his job well with his spell reading 10-0-38-2, taking all important wickets of Hayden and Symonds. War of words off the field would have found some winner today in the field.

But I had my own doubts on whether Indians would finally make it, as the Australian fielding was top class. In the initial stages of the Indian innings they saved at least 20-25 runs. Even after that, they were brilliant in field. But the result was never going to be their way, when master himself was at the crease. In the latter part of the innings, Indians taught Australians their own lessons of converting 1's into 2's and dot balls into 1's. Earlier, in the slog overs of Australian Innings, tail enders largely used this trick of converting dot balls to 1's.

Thats not all. We have just won first of the best of three finals. Indians now have their task cut out. Win the next match and take the trophy home, like the way England did it in 2006/07. Sachin said the same, when an Australian fan asked about the prospects of a third final. But Indians also have their worries for the next match, like Ishant Sharma getting his middle finger injured after an impressive spell, 8-0-32-1. If you were wondering why Irfan Pathan was given the ball in the last few overs of the Australian Innings even after going for runs in his earlier overs, it was precisely for this reason.


Picture Courtesy : Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma []

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