Cricket World Cup 2007: India does not deserve that break from Bermuda

Note: This post was composed before the Bermuda/Bangladesh match today. Regardless, the point remains the same. India played like losers. They just did not bat well enough against Sri Lanka on a great batting pitch for me to hope for a Bermuda upset on Bangladesh. They bowled ok in that match, but the batsmen let us down once again (after the Bangaldesh debacle).

It was a bad loss against a team which was truly beatable on the day. And if you consider that it was a must-win for India, the way they batted was simply unacceptable. What were the top order thinking? Uthapa and Ganguly seemed to be in a lot of hurry to score quick runs and Ganguly did not realize even after losing Uthapa to a bad shot that he needs to be there till the end. He gave up with a lazy shot. What was the rationale?

Anyway, even though there is a theoretical chance that India can make it to the Super 8, I would believe it would be unfair for India to go through because of the way they have played.

And a final note – looks like once again I jinxed India. I “worked from home” and made it a big deal at work the previous day, and as usual overplanned the whole thing. And now, I am afraid the world cup package on willow is not going to be worth it 🙂

Now, on to the thoughts on the match:

Objective #1 – Restrict Jayasuriya and the other big guns from getting a big total
The good: It was a great opening spell in which not only did Ajit, Zaheer and Munaf keep the batsmen quiet, but also got a few wickets at the top to continue the pressure on the middle order. My fear was that Sri Lanka, after being put in to bat, would get off to a flier and make 300-320 and easy target to achieve. From the first few overs, it was clear that at least it would not be easy to get to 300-320+ target.

Objective #2 – After restricting initially, don’t let them get away to a huge score
The good: The innings was mainly controlled by India. The bowlers all did their job well and kept the batsmen in check. There were no huge overs and there was no real momentum built for a true slog over launch.
The bad: There were not enough breakthroughs taken in the middle to truly cause a collapse. Harbajan was useless and too predictable. If we were ok with predictability, we should have pursued the Kumble option, where he could at least slip a fast flipper through to get a wicket or two.
Of course, the last few overs were pathetic because instead of limiting Sri Lanka to maybe 220, India had to live with a target of 250+.

Objective #3 – Get a decent start to launch the chase
The good: Not much good here. The only thing we can talk about is the positivity shown by both Ganguly and Uthapa. But I think the exuberance was ok till it caused their downfall.
The ugly: The way in which the top order got out. Uthapa was living a charmed life and the wily Vaas eventually got him with his mind. Uthapa was bent on hitting Vaas straight through and succeeded once or twice and Vaas finally got the ball closer to Robin’s body making him scoop it up straight at the bowler which ended up being a nice reflex catch.
Ganguly was also looking very impatient. Unlike his previous many innings where he dropped anchor and started to accelerate only after settling in completely, here he started stepping out randomly. This was one innings where he should have hung around, being the only man in form, and should have let the other end keep hitting out and maintaining the strike rate. He would have been ideal against Jayasuirya’s spin in the middle. But he got out lazily and created a sudden sense of panic in the team.
Sachin probably got a wake up call about his age with the ball he got out to. He had no business to miss the ball due to the pace, but it did seem like he was just a little late to play at the ball, causing an inside edge to the stumps. Once again, just when he needed to fire, he did not. I don’t know, this inning and his form of dismissal may end up creating a bad World Cup legacy for Sachin like Gavaskar’s dismissal off DeFreitas.
Yuvraj’s run out was unfortunate, and definitely at the wrong time (is there a right time for a run out???). Dhoni’s wicket was also a pathetic shot attempt – why did he have to try such an extravagant shot off the back foot against the world class spinner?
Can’t expect much from anyone else down the order, but Ajit’s dismissal was also quite sad. He tried to hit out the first few balls and I think I saw Dravid at the other end come and ask him to not hit rash shots, but he did not listen and ended up stepping out and hitting the ball straight to a fielder.

Objective #4 – Win the match and virtually eliminate Bangladesh from contention
Mission a thorough failure!

I know that it is hard to overlook one of the worst performances we have seen from the Indian team, especially given that the nucleus of the team is completely going to change come next World Cup, but now at least I can watch the rest of the games with a real outsider’s point of view. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Cricket World Cup 2007: India does not deserve that break from Bermuda

  1. Pathetic! That is the one word that I can use for the entire World Cup campaign of India. Various observations:1. It seems that India was the only team at the start of the Cup, which was not clear about the likely 11. Or even the likely 12. Will Pathan play, will Sehwag play, will it be Kumble or Bhajji, will Karthik play, etc. Most teams, had a basic best 11 in place, with likelihood of minor tweaking to be done on a game to game basis. 2. What follows as a consequence of 1, is that we did not have a perfect batting order decided. Who will open, was the first big question. In order to ‘accomodate’ Sehwag, there was likelihood of any kind of jugglery in the batting order. All this kind of open ends, when you are into the world cup, was uniquely Indian! 3. What is the sense in saying that Bangladesh bowled well?? Heck, you have 3 chaps with 10000+ runs each, where the opposite team does not have a total of 10000 runs. And yet, you do not have the skills or the experience to play against those bowlers, who may have bowled well on that day?? 4. I cannot also understand this statement that media uses often, that ‘cricket is a game of uncertainties’. Tell that to the Aussies. Or the South Africans. Is there any uncertainty about the way they go about their game? Sure, win or loss is a different matter. But you cannot justify your pathetic display under that guise of uncertainty. When you have 5-6 apparently top class batsmen, the uncertainty factor is restricted to 1-2 of them getting out cheaply or getting an unfortunate decision or run out, or something like that. The uncertainty is REMOVED by the rest of them making up for those 1-2 losses, by playing better and ensuring that the team gets runs. We have a case of all of them succumbing to stupid play. 5. Most professional teams today give roles to team members, and they are apt to perform those roles. Chamara Silva and Dilshan knew that they had to stay at the wicket, even if it meant just milking singles and making 1s into 2s. No extravagant shots. Nothing in the air. They did that. Put their heads down. Did Indian batting give ANY resemblance of having ANY such plan in their heads? Or even if they had one, were the guys looking like they were attempting to implement that?? Was it panic that said ‘we will not survive if we just hang around here, so might as well make the runs quickly, and get done’?? That can be the only explanation of Uthapa and Ganguly’s mad rush initially, and also for Sehwag to keep going aerially, even after having lost the openers quickly. There is ALWAYS a chance that you will get out that way. Can’t you curb your aerial shots and play a safer game, and hang out, to ensure victory?? 6. I, for one, had thought that if India progresses in the World Cup, it will be on account of its bowlers. I had a lot more hope from Zaheer, Munaf, Ajit and whoever else was going to be with them, like Sreesanth or Kumble or even Pathan. They did not do as well as they could have. A lot of extras given. Line and length not kept perfect and thus allowing the batsmen to get out of the pressure, with occasional boundaries. Letting the latter half of the team make a lot of runs, even after having got the earlier wickets. I mean, we should have restricted Bangladesh below 191 and we should have won. It was Bangladesh after all. Similarly, we should have finished off Sri Lanka in lesser than 200, after the decent start. In fact, how could we let a Bermuda batsman take 76 off us? Where is really our great bowling skill? It is in this department that Sri Lanka score over India. With guys like Vaas and Murali leading, and extremely decent options in Malinga, Fernando and Jayasuriya, they are much better placed.Indian cricket appears to be going the hockey way. Of course, in cricket, unlike hockey, we never ‘ruled’. But like in hockey, where we kept focussing on the brilliant talent that we had, but never on strategy to win, similarly in cricket, we may hold all the individual records and have the highest averages and aggregates, but when it comes to winning games, we will be left behind. We are not focussing on the winning strategies and not executing at the individual levels.All above points have mentioned only the technicalities of the game. Don’t let me even get into the match fixing angle etc.!

  2. RPM says:

    @spm: Could not agree with you more about the analysis. Right now, I am so disgusted with the performance, I am almost willing to say I am done with Indian cricket. But I am not. I will follow it at least through the next season because it is going to define the future of Indian cricket. Will Sachin be dropped? Will Rahul be eased out of captaincy? Will Kumble retire? So many things to follow …

  3. @SPM – V. Good points – all of them. No need to comment on them right ;)@ RPM – Talking about retirement – we heard some, will hear some more in the coming days.I happened to read this today …

  4. RPM says:

    @rajesh: The Aussies do look like they are unbeatable at this point. But something tells me (still) that they are not going to win the WC 🙂

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