So, the Indians have just done what they have been doing to Pakistan in all their world cup matches. Beating them hands down. It all started with MSD winning the toss. Under perfect conditions to bat, it was an easy decision for MSD. He opted to bat first. The man in form, Rohit Sharma & the one who has been facing severe criticism for his inconsistency, Shikhar Dhawan walked in to open the innings. After the early dismissal of Rohit, it was up to Virat & Shikhar to stitch a good partnership and they did just that.
Cometh the hour, Cometh the man : There are good players, great players and then there are these big match players. Virat Kohli was just the big match player India was looking for in this high voltage clash. The best part of Virat’s innings was the calmness he displayed throughout his innings. First with Dhawan and then with Raina he was involved in two 100 plus stands and that’s the phase in which Pakistan lost the match. He also stayed cool when Afridi’s throw hit him. The Virat we all know would have given a stare if not an earful, but today, the young turk was composed and went about doing his business. In the process, he became the first Indian to score a world cup century against Pakistan and also notched up his 22nd hundred. And for the stats lovers, this was the slowest of all his hundreds.
Raina’s whirlwind innings: With Dhawan getting out and 20 overs more to go, it was important for someone to up the ante and take control of the situation. With Virat playing the role of a sheet anchor, it was left to Suresh Raina to lead the charge. He scored a quick-fire 74 of 56 balls and in the overall match analysis, this innings was crucial. His innings reminded me of the one Ajay Jadeja played against Pakistan in the 1996 QF clash.
Poor finish by the Indian batsmen: With Virat getting out with 273 on board and 5 overs remaining with the likes of Raina, MSD, Jadeja still there India was expected to score 325 plus. But all they could manage was just a run a ball after Virat’s dismissal. This was due to some very good, disciplined death bowling by the Pakistan bowlers, especially Sohail Khan who finished with 5-55.
The Chase by Pakistan: Chasing a score of 300 is never a challenging task in modern-day cricket. All you have to do is to rotate the strike, pick up the singles and twos, keep the wickets in hand and go for the kill in the last 15 overs. A lot was expected out of Younis Khan, the opener but he disappointed. Though Misbah played a lovely innings, he was let down by his teammates. In the end, 300 was too much for Pakistan and thanks to a better bowling effort by the Indians, the match was won by India by 76 runs.
Moments where India won & Pakistan lost :
- The move to send Raina up the order ahead of Rahane.
- Misbah holding Wahab Riaz for the power play & the death and in the process feeding Raina with spin bowling which helped Raina to build his innings.
- Virat’s well composed innings.
- Umesh Yadav’s twin strikes in three balls.
- Jadeja’s catch to dismiss Shehzad. (He proved why even the PM of India calls him SIR). :P
- India’s running between the wickets.
- India’s fielding efforts.
- MSD’s captaincy skills.
Best Moment of the match: For me, the best moment of the match was Suresh Raina punching the air and celebrating Virat’s century even before Virat did and then patting on his back when he got dismissed. This shows that there is a great camaraderie in the dressing room and that is a great sign for the better things to come.
And as an Indian, it can’t get better than this, as the mother of all cricket matches just turned my Sunday into a Super Sunday. No more 5-0, it is 6-0 now. ;)