Thursday, 25 August 2016

Fuss around India's new coach

A lot happened around the selection of new head coach for Indian cricket team. 57 applications came in for that post. Out of that, 21 applications were shortlisted. And those 21 applications came down to 7. BCCI made a great decision by giving it in the hands of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly. They have put the base of team India of today. So they have better knowledge of the current team and according to that, they knew what kind of coach team India needs. All the shortlisted candidates were called for the presentation on the basis of which the coach was to be selected. The candidates gave their presentation and the legendary triumvirate selected Anil Kumble as the head coach of India.

A suitable candidate was selected but the one who took it for granted and was not selected created the drama around the selection of new coach. Ravi Shastri started giving the statement Sourav Ganguly was not present during his presentation and because of that he was not selected. Ganguly has disrespected him. He kept on giving such statements to media for 3 to 4 days. Ganguly was silent in the beginning but when Ravi didn't stop, Sourav Ganguly broke his silence and revealed the truth that he had to attend CAB meeting. He also revealed that Ravi was vacationing in Hong Kong and he gave the presentation via vedio conferencing. It shows how much serious Ravi Shastri was for this job. Ravi was taking this job for granted. In his head, he was already the head coach of India.

Now, Anil Kumble has completed a test series as a head coach of India. And the result is in front of us. India has won that test series comprehensively. It is just the start and Anil has already shown his dedication towards his job. We have seen the dedication and hard work of Kumble as a player. He has played with broken jaw as well. After being selected as a coach the first statement he gave was "it's about the team not the coach." He cleared that he will put the team in front not himself and he will work hard with the team in the backyard. Above all he won't play politics in the team. When Shastri was director of the team, there were news of the rift between Kohli and Dhoni. It may be a rumour but there is no smoke without fire.

Under Kumble, there won't be any news or even rumours of such rifts. He is a true gentleman in that matter. Apart from that, there is an expectation of huge improvement in bowling department. Under Kumble, players will transform as humans as well. Selection process will improve and there will be right balance of youth and experience in the team. Indian cricket is in the safe hands now. Rahul Dravid taking care of India A and U-19 squads and Kumble the senior team. Moreover, these days every decision making committee of BCCI consists either of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. One can't have better men at job. Now there will be no politics, no corruption. There will be pure cricket in India.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sun Rising IPL

Start of April was emotional. West Indies struck the emotional chord as they became the champyaan champyaan. They won the world t20 in style. Now, everybody knows West Indies is a champion. It was not the end of the season. IPL started in few days time after world t20. Two new teams made a debut in this IPL. Rising group gave one more chance to pune city and created Supergiants in that city. While Intex group increased the population of lions in Gujarat. Players of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were put in one bag, those players were mixed well in that bag. Then Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions picked their players from that bag. All the sides were balanced at the start of the tournament and were ready to win its ninth edition. It was an overdose of cricket for viewers so empty stands, people switching the channels during the match was expected.

IPL 9 began with roar from lions. New lions of Gujarat were unstoppable. Teams were facing severe finch hitting and baz attack. Knights heard that roar of lions and started riding in that direction. Warner was giving warnings of the rising sun regularly. Daredevils were also coming on the field with the zak attack. Kings of Punjab were not in their royal form. Even Royal Challengers were not being able to give royal challenge with the ball. Supergiants were getting injured one by one. While Mumbai's Indians were still in the hunt of the opener. Then a daredevil Kock came into the party and DEmolished the challenging bowlers and hit first century of IPL 9 to give the momentum to Daredevils. A Cruel Pandya and an Ambitious Rayudu got together and took the Mumbai's ship forward. Warner was giving the warnings constantly with the help of old and fizzy swing masters but those warnings were not looking good enough.

Virat showed his Virat stature by hitting 4 centuries. There was some devilish hitting as well from AB DEVILliers to support Virat's stature. It started putting a royal challenge in front of other teams. Miller's killer batting instincts were killed by the burden of captaincy but even Vijay was not able to take Kings' Vijay Rath forward. Helicopter took a lot of time to take off. Unfortunately, by then Supergiants were down and out. Knights were riding on team performance. Everytime some or the other Knight was rising to the occasion and that team effort took them to playoffs. Finch hitting got some rust so a doctor was brought into the side. Dr. Smith along with DJ and DK roared Lions into the playoffs. Two out of four spots were booked by the teams who were dominating from the beginning. While for the remaining two spots there was interesting fight.

Four teams were fighting for the remaining two spots and there was a possibility that all the teams end up on equal points on the board. MORRISified Delhi was KA-RUNning on the fitness of Zak attack. Pollar(d) bear along with McClenaghan of Mumbai came good towards the business end. SunRisers' went through YUVformation. And Virat's stature became more Virat by the end of league stages. YUVformation and Warner's warnings helped SunRisers qualify for the playoffs. On the other end Virat's Virat stature helped Royal Challengers Kohlify for the playoffs. In playoffs, it was DeVilliers' devilish hitting which made challenge more royal. In playoffs, sun rose at night due to YUVformation and MysteryKumar's swing. The final was between the Royal Challenge and the Rising Sun.

Final started with Warner's warnings, Yuv raised the intensity of those warnings then Cutting gave the finishing cut to the SunRisers innings. Gayle storm was quiet till the final but it arrived in Bangalore in the beginning of RCB innings. Along with Gayle Storm, Virat was becoming Virater in the final as well but Cutting came into the action again. Cutting gave the perfect cut to that partnership as well. Then in the end, Mysteryfizur and Bhuvi rose the sun at night in Bangalore as well and IPL 9 ended up being Sun Rising IPL. It was a great season of IPL. Yes, we saw empty stands and fall in viewership in the beginning but by the end, it became so exciting and thrilling that everyone was back to it. Really, it was a Sun Rising IPL.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

#AsiaCup: India vs Sri Lanka

Match no. 7 was between India and Sri Lanka. It was the business end of the tournament. Both the teams had lot to play for. Sri Lanka was playing to stay alive in the tournament. While India was playing to book its spot in the final of Asia Cup. India had beaten Pakistan and Bangladesh in their previous matches. While Sri Lanka had won only one match that too against UAE. In their second match of the tournament, Sri Lanka faced a defeat against Bangladesh. Thus Sri Lanka wanted to recover from that loss. On the other end, India was high on confidence. India had won seven out of their last eight matches. And the reason behind this success was their bowling. Bowlers were performing really well for India.  So It was tough task ahead of Sri Lanka to beat this balanced Indian side.

India won the toss and Dhoni decided to bowl first. Dilshan and Chandimal opened the batting for Lankans. And Nehra was given the new ball. Sri Lanka was off to a good start. Chandimal hit a four through covers on the second delivery of the innings. India came back strongly after that boundary. They built the pressure on the Lankan openers by bowling some tight line. Indian bowlers just conceded 2 runs of the next 10 balls. Sri Lanka was 6-0 after two. After a slow start, Chandimal took the charge in third over. He tried to hit Nehra for a big one but nicked straight to Dhoni. Sri Lanka lost its first wicket. Chandimal and Dilshan had given good starts to Sri Lanka in previous matches. Thus, Chandimal was a big blow for Sri Lanka. Shehan Jayasuriya came in at no. 3 but he was not able to spend much time in the middle. Bumrah was bowling awesome line. He squared up Jayasuriya and picked an edge of Jayasuriya's bat. Dhoni took a simple catch and Sri Lanka was two down. Then Kapugedera joined Dilshan in the middle. They finished batting powerplay without taking much risk. Sri Lanka was 31-2 after the completion of six overs.

Hardik Pandya was brought into attack and the very first delivery, he banged in short to Dilshan. Dilshan pulled that delivery and it went straight into the hands of Ashwin. Sri Lanka lost its third straight away after powerplay. Mathews came in next. He assesed the situation and started playing according to it. Mathews and Chandimal stabilised Sri Lankan innings till the ninth over. Then they started finding the boundary every over. In tenth over, Mathews hit a staright six over Jadeja's head. In eleventh, he hit two boundaries to Pandya but before finishing that over Pandya picked up his wicket. Mathews played last delivery of that over on to his stumps. Thus Sri Lanka was 57-4 after eleven overs. After Mathews, Siriwardana joined Kapugedera in the middle. He wacked Jadeja for a six in thirteenth over. Sri Lanka reached to 100 run mark in the sixteenth over. Then Ashwin came on to bowl his third over and he straight away sent Siriwardana back into the pavilion. In the same over, Shanaka ran himself out of a free hit. Perera came in next. Sri Lanka is just wasting Perera by sending him at no. 8 or no. 9. He is very dangerous player in t20 cricket & noone in the fielding team can relax until he gets out.

In eighteenth over, Bumrah sent Kapugedera back but after that Perera found his flow. He hit a six and a four and was playing at the strike rate of more than 200. Before he could do more damage, Dhoni stumped him off Ashwin. Sri Lanka managed to score 138 runs off their twenty overs. India needed 139 runs to win the game. Rohit Sharma gave positive start to India. He hit couple of boundaries in first two overs of the innings but before the second over ended, India lost its first wicket. Dhawan was caught behind off Kulasekara. Kulasekara targeted Dhawan's weak zone and he edged one straight to the keeper. India was 11-1 after 2 overs. Kohli came in at no. 3 and decided to set his eyes. In fourth over, Kulasekara picked Rohit Sharma. This time he targeted Rohit Sharma's weak zone and forced him to edge one to first slip. He had done his homework well and he was successful to send both the openers back in the pavilion. Then Kohli and Raina started building a partnership. They were hitting the boundaries at regular intervals. Both of them were successful to frustrate Sri Lankans.

They were successful to carry on in that manner till eleventh over. They took India's score to 70 by the end of eleven overs. India was looking pretty comfortable at that stage but there was a twist in the tale. Raina skied one on the first ball of the twelfth over and Kulasekara took the catch on third attempt. India lost its third wicket on 70. Yuvraj took the guard then. He opened his account with the boundary on the second ball. Herath came on to bowl the thirteenth over and Yuvraj was waiting for him. On fifth delivery of that over he came down the track and hit straight back over Herath's head for a six. Next delivery he just dispatched over the mid wicket and it was bigger than the previous one. Yuvraj was back in his groove. In fifteenth over, Yuvraj made room and dispatched Perera for a six over covers. He brought up India's hundred with that six. He hit another boundary to Perera in seventeenth over and everyone was witnessing that the vinatge Yuvraj was back. After that boundary, Perera banged in short and picked up his wicket. He hooked that short delivery but it went straight into the hands of deep fine leg. When he came to bat the required rate was around 7 and when got out the required rate came down to 5.7. He made 35 off just 18 deliveries.

Pandya came in ahead of Dhoni. Probably, Dhoni was nursing his back. At that stage, India needed 18 runs off 19 deliveries. In eighteenth over, Pandya was knocked over by Herath on 2. India lost its fifth wicket on 125. After that wicket, Dhoni came out to finish the job. In nineteenth over, Dhoni first hit a six over bowler's head then Kohli completed his half century with a boundary. Then only 2 runs were required to win the match and this time Kohli finished it with a six. India booked its spot in the final of Asia Cup and Sri Lanka was virtually out of it. The biggest gain for India in this match was Yuvraj's form. It was value addition in this balanced Indian side. India became the first team to qualify in the final of Asia Cup and was looking pretty good to win the title.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

#AsiaCup: Pakistan vs UAE

Welcome to the sixth match of Asia Cup. It was a match between Pakistan and UAE. It was an important match for Pakistan because Bangladesh was looking good with couple of win under their belt. If Pakistan had to qualify for the final then they needed this win desperately. On the other end UAE also was looking good. They had torubled Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with their bowling. And Pakistan' s batting was not in good touch. So UAE had to cash on it. Pakistan's seamers were in top form and UAE's batting had let them down against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. So it was a contest between two bowling attacks. On the contrary, pitch was getting better and better for batting. Its effect was witnessed during the toss. Captains were opting to bat first after winning it.

UAE won the toss and elected to bat first. UAE hadn't made any changes in there batting. Same opening pair of Rohan & Kaleem came out to bat. Amir had a new ball for Pakistan. It was a tight start by Pakistan. They didn't gave anything away in first eleven deliveries. As a result, they got a wicket on the twelfth delivery. Rohan was frustrated by the start. He came down the track and tried to hit over mid off but only managed to give a simple catch to Afridi. By the end of second over, Pakistan was off the mark. In third over, Amir knocked Kaleem's off stump. UAE was 5-2 at that stage. Anwar was the next man in. UAE hit the first boundary in fourth over when Shahzad found a gap through covers and ball raced away to the boundary. After that boundary, Shahzad nicked one to Sarfraz and UAE lost its third wicket on the last ball of the fourth over. Then, Anwar and Mushtaq assured that UAE don't loose another wicket in the powerplay. In eighth over, Anwar hit the first six of UAE innings. He just cleared Shoaib Malik at long off. Then they just carried on with ones and twos.

On the last ball of eleventh over, Afridi invited a sweep off Mushtaq's bat. Mushtaq edged that delivery and gave a simple catch to Amir at short fine leg. UAE lost its fourth wicket at 41. UAE was falling apart. It looked like Pakistan will bundle them up under 100 but Anwar had some other plans. He hit next two deliveries for a six and a four and took UAE's score beyond 50 run mark. In thirteenth over, Anwar hit Afridi for couple of boundaries. He was timing the ball sweetly. In fourteenth over, he reached in his 40s and started living on the edge. He got a chance at 44 as the ball landed between the two fielders but on the very next delivery he edged one to Sarfraz. Sarfraz took a simple catch and Anwar was back in the pavilion after making 46 off 42 deliveries. After Anwar's wicket, Usman decided to attack. He hit Malik for a six and a four in fifteenth of the innings. UAE crossed 100 run mark in sixteenth over. In eighteenth over, Javed hit two huge sixes to Irfan. While in twentieth, Naveed hit a six and a four. UAE scored 129 runs off their 20 overs.

Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan came out to chase that total for Pakistan. Naveed had the new ball. Hafeez hit the first boundary of Pakistani innings on the last ball of the first over. While the second boundary was hit by Sharjeel in the second over but after hitting that boundary, he got out. Pakistan lost its first wicket on 11. After Sharjeel, Javed got another wicket couple of deliveries later. This time Manzoor was back in the pavilion without troubling the scorers. Pakistan was struggling at 11-2. It was a contest between two good bowling attacks and the better one was going to win it. Umar Akmal came in at no. 4. UAE skipper Javed was on a roll that night. In fourth over, he picked up the wicket of Hafeez. Javed forced Hafeez to drive the ball. Hafeez did that and gave a simple catch in cover region. Malik joined Akmal in the middle after the wicket of Hafeez. They carried on from 17-3. Like Anwar & Mushtaq, Malik and Akmal assured that Pakistan don't loose another wicket in powerplay.

They played sensible cricket. They took their time in the middle. They were not in a hurry to score runs. They were ticking the score board with ones and twos. Along with ones and twos, they were dispatching the loose delivery to the boundary. At the end of ten overs, Pakistan reached to the total of 48 at the loss of 3 wickets. They played in that manner till the end of thirteen overs. From fourteenth over, they started attacking as the required rate crossed 9.5 R.P.O. mark. Akmal hit the first six of the innings in fourteenth over. Malik hit the second in fifteenth. In sixteenth over, UAE dropped Malik and that was it. Both the batsmen were well set and were looking for that chance only. Then there was no stopping for them. Malik brought up his half century in seventeenth over and at that stage Pakistan needed 29 runs of 22 balls. Akmal also completed his half century and after that Pakistan needed just 3 runs to win the game. Malik hit the boundary and finished the game in style. Pakistan was down on 17-3 and Malik and Akmal used all of their experience to bring their team out of that situation. They stayed there till the end & won the match for their team. UAE bowled well but were sloppy in the field. They dropped a catch at crucial stage. Hence they lost a match. Pakistan was still alive in the Asia Cup.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

#AsiaCup: Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh

In the fifth match of Asia Cup, hosts took on Lankans. Both the teams had one win under their belt. Bath have won the match against UAE. Only difference was that Bangladesh has played two matches while Sri Lanka has played only one. Sri Lanka was the favourite to win this match considering the performance of their comeback men against UAE. Bangladesh was also desperate for the win because a loss here and they were virtually out of the tournament. Malinga was not playing in this match due to injury. So that was the big relief for Bangladesh. The pitch was different at Mirpur. It was a much better wicket to bat on. And for the first time in the tournament a captain won the toss and elected to bat first.

Masrafe won the toss and elected to bat first. The openers Mithun and Sarkar came out to face Mathews. Mathews decided to take a new ball in the absence of Malinga. And he was effective with the new ball. He gave a breakthrough to Sri Lanka on the second ball of the innings. Bangladesh was not even off the mark and Mithun was walking back to the pavilion. Kulasekara shared the new ball with Mathews and he too gave a breakthrough to Sri Lanka in his first over. This time it was Sarkar. He tried to hit over long off for a boundary but he was unsuccessful in doing that. Bangladesh lost its openers at the score of 2 runs. Sabbir hit the first boundary of the innings at the start of fourth over. Actually in that over, he hit three boundaries and a six to Kulasekara. He shifted the momentum in Bangladesh's favour in that over. After gaining that momentum there was a disaster in fifth over. Mushfiqur Rahim pushed one and decided to take a single but there was a hesitation between the two batsmen. As a result, Rahim was run out and Bangladesh lost its third wicket. Bangladesh finished powerplay with a boundary but it belonged to Sri Lanka.

Shakib got its first boundary in the eighth over of the innings. After that both these batsmen steadied the ship. At the end of twelve overs, Bangladeshis were 67-3. Sabbir was in his forties. Mathews decided to continue with Jayasuriya and Sabbir started the over with a six. He brought up his fifty in style. Bangladesh took 11 runs off that over. Chameera was introduced in the fourteenth over and Sabbir welcomed him with a boundary over covers. Bangladesh crossed 100-run mark in sixteenth over. Then Sabbir decided to have a go at everything. He hit a six in that process but on very next delivery he gave a simple catch to deep mid wicket fielder. The score was 108-4 after 16 overs. In eigthteenth over, Shakib was deceived by the pace hit one in the air and Chandimal took the simple catch. Bangladesh lost its fifth wicket at the total of 123. Kulasekara came on to bowl nineteenth over but he was smashed for a four and a six by Mahmudullah. Chameera bowled last over. He took the wicket of Hasan on the second delivery of the over and Bangladesh scored 147 runs off their 20 overs.

Sri Lanka's new opening pair of Chandimal and Dilshan came out to chase that total. Taskin Ahmed had a new ball in his hands. Ahmed produced an edge on the second ball of the innings but the catch was dropped at first slip. Sri Lanka opened its account with a boundary on the last ball of the first over. In second over, Dilshan gave a catch to first slip and it was dropped again. It was a difficult catch. Mahmudullah was not able to hold it. Both the openers were given a life early in the innings. Spin was introduced in the fourth over of the innings. Shakib was given the ball and straight away he produced a wicket of Dilshan. Dilshan skied one, and Sarkar took a stunner running back to dismiss Dilshan. Sri Lanka was 20-1. After Dilshan's wicket, Jayasuriya joined Chandimal in the middle. Jayasuriya straight away was into the act. He hit a six over the bowler's head in the fifth over. Sri Lanka scored 44 runs in their power play. After power play, both the batsmen played sensible cricket. They dispatched loose deliveries for a boundary and took ones and twos on good deliveries. They were ticking the scoreboard at the rate of 6 - 6.5 R.P.O. till 10 overs.

After that they decided to go big. Jayasuriya started the eleventh over with a six and Chandimal tried to finish the over in the similar fashion but found Ahmed in the deep. Sri Lanka lost its second wicket at 76. After that, Jayasuriya came down the track in twelfth over. Shakib saw that and bowled a wide delivery and Jayasuriya was stumped. Perera came out bat at no. 5. In thirteenth over, he gave two chances to Bangladesh but Bangladesh missed both of them. Sri Lanka was living dangerously. In fourteenth over, Bangladesh finally picked up the wicket of Perera. Mustafizur hit one straight onto his pads and he was judged LBW. Sri Lanka was in trouble. At the end of 14 overs, Sri Lanka was 88-4. By the end of fifteenth over, Sri Lanka lost one more wicket. After that wicket, Sri Lanka slowed down a bit and due to that required rate went up to 15 R.P.O. Sri Lankan needed big hits to win the match. Mathews went for the big hit but was caught. Sri Lankans were six down in the eighteenth over.

Shanaka connected one and dispatched it over the mid wicket boundary. It was a good hit. Sri Lanka needed more of that to win the match but Bangladeshi bowlers bowled a very tight line. At the end of nineteenth over Sri Lanka's total reached to 116 run mark. Sri Lanka needed 32 runs of that last over to win the match but Bangladesh conceded only eight. Bangladesh won the match by 23 runs. It was an upset. It was not going Bangladesh's way till the first half of the Sri Lankan innings but they came back very strongly after that. Bangladeshi bowlers bowled a great line throughout the innings. Bangladesh's fielding was not that great but they took some crucial catches by the end of the innings to pull off a famous victory.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

#AsiaCup: India vs Pakistan

Here comes the match no. 4 in Asia Cup. Whole world was eagerly for it. Yes, it was India vs Pakistan. People were more excited for this match than the tournament as a whole. India and Pakistan play each other occasionally but whenever they play, the game becomes more energetic. History between the two countries add more emotions to the India vs Pakistan tie. In India defeat against Pakistan is considered as the biggest defeat. If India loose the tournament, it's OK but they are not allowed to loose against Pakistan. Whenever India has met Pakistan there has been a great contest between bat and ball. It has always been India's batting vs Pakistan's bowling. In this match as well the teams were like that only. India had star studded batting line-up while Pakistan had some great swing bowlers. Above that the conditions at Mirpur were favouring the fast bowlers. So Pakistan's fast bowlers were ready to give tough time to Indian batsmen.

India won the toss and Dhoni elected to bowl first. Hafeez & Sharjeel Khan came out to bat for Pakistan. Dhoni gave the new ball to Nehra. Hafeez defended the first ball but played on the second ball, he played a cover drive for a boundary. Nehra bowled couple of full deliveries first up and realised that Hafeez is quite comfortable with them. Hence he bowled a back of the length delivery and Hafeez nicked one straight to Dhoni. Dhoni took it easily and Pakistan lost its first wicket. Manzoor came in at no. 3. Bumrah shared the new ball with Nehra and he bowled a maiden over first up. Pakistani batsmen decided to attack Nehra to recover from the early blow. They took 11 runs from Nehra's second over. They hit a boundary to Bumrah as well but Bumrah made a tremendous come back with Sharjeel's wicket. After Sharjeel, Shoaib Malik was the next batsman and he bagan his innings in style. He hit a boundary to Bumrah to end that over. In fifth over, Manzoor tried to scoop one over the keeper's head but only managed to get an edge in that attempt. Dhoni took the catch cleanly but umpire gave him not out. Mazoor got a life in that over.

Shoaib Malik began the sixth over with a boundary but ran Manzoor out before the over ended. Pakistan lost its third wicket at the score of 32. Malik gave his wicket in seventh over. It was a wide delivery from Pandya and Malik tried to make most of it but in the end edged it to Dhoni. After that, Dhoni gave the ball to Yuvraj Singh ahead of Ashwin and Jadeja and Yuvraj straight away responded with the wicket of Akmal. Akmal missed a straight delivery from Yuvraj and umpire shown him the way to pavilion. Pakistan lost its half side at the total of 36. After Akmal's wicket, Afridi tested Jadeja's arm in the process of taking two but that experiment was not successful. Jadeja's arm was more powerful than Afridi's legs. Afridi ran himself out. Pakistan was falling apart. The biggest challenge in front of Pakistan was to play 20 overs. Riaz & Sarfraz tried that and stayed there till twelfth over. In tweflth over, Riaz missed a straighter delivery of Jadeja and was adjudged LBW. Pakistan lost its seventh wicket at the total of 52 runs. Then Sarfraz got some runs as he got support from Sami at the other end. He took Pakistan's total to 70 but then Jadeja's quicker delivery knocked his middle stump. Sarfraz made 25 off 24 deliveries and it was almost over for Pakistan. Last two wickets added 13 runs to the total. Pakistan was bowled out on 83 inside 18 overs.

Indian bowlers did a fabulous job. They didn't allow Pakistan's batsmen to settle down. India needed only 84 runs to win the match. Considering India's star studded batting line up, it was a cake walk for them. Rohit Sharma & Ajinkya Rahane came out to chase that total. Afridi gave new ball to the comeback man Mohammad Amir and straight away he started troubling Indian batsmen with his swing. First ball, full outside the off stump. Rohit Sharma survived. Second ball, in-swinging delivery. Rohit Sharma out, leg before wicket. India 0-1. After Rohit Sharma, it was Rahane's turn. Amir bowled an in-swinging delivery to Rahane as well and he also got out in the similar fashion. Indians were 2-2 in the first over. Raina came in at no. 4 and started playing cautiously along with Kohli. Pakistani seamers were swinging the ball both ways and were troubling them a lot. As a result, Raina flicked one straight into the hands of Riaz. Indian was 3 down on 8 runs. Yuvraj was the next man in. It was a great opportunity for him to spend some time at the crease and get his confidence back.

Yuvraj opened his account with a boundary. It was the first boundary of Indian innings. After that full delivery, Irfan & Amir started targeting Yuvraj with short stuff outside the off stump. Yuvraj played those deliveries sensibly. India needed a partnership desperately. In power play, both the batsmen gave respect to Pakistani bowlers. After that, Kohli started finding boundaries. He hit couple of boundaries to Amir in seventh over of the innings. Then Wahab Riaz was introduced in the ninth over. Kohli was well in by then. Thus Wahab Riaz was hammered for three boundaries in that over. Two boundaries were hit by Kohli and one by Yuvraj. India crossed 50 run mark in that over. Those boundaries took the pressure off Yuvraj and It allowed Yuvraj to spend some time at the crease. After that over, it looked like that these two batsmen will take India home. They carried on well till 76 but then Kohli was adjuged LBW on one of the deliveries of Sami. Kohli has edged it but umpire thought he has missed it completely, thus raised his finger.

Kohli got out on 49. India was just 8 runs away from the famous win. Then Hardik Pandya came in ahead of Dhoni and straight away he nicked one to the first slip. He got out for a duck and India was 5 down on 76. Dhoni was welcomed at the crease with a WOW. Actually it was the over so far wicket(W) zero(0) wicket(W). He finished the game in typical Dhoni style with a boundary through covers. India registered a 5 wicket win over Pakistan. If Pakistan has scored around 130, they had a great chance to win the match. On the other end, India gained some great positives from this match. First, Indian bowlers restricted Pakistan to 83 and second, Yuvraj spent some good time at the crease. And big players like him need that only to get their form and confidence back. It was an advantage for India before #Wt20. With this win, India put a step forward towards Asia Cup final. India was just a win away from the place in the final of Aisa Cup.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

#AsiaCup: Bangladesh vs UAE

In third match of Asia Cup hosts Bangladesh took on UAE. Both Bangladesh and UAE had lost their first match. Both the teams were looking forward to gain some momentum in the tournament. Though Bangladesh had lost their first match by bigger margin but they had an edge in this match. UAE was also confident after their first match against Sri Lanka. They bowled really well in that match. So they were also looking forward to win the match. The pitch was the same in Mirpur. There was lot of grass on it. It was testing the skill of batsman but it was not good for the television ratings. When it comes to associates or minnows, people want to see big hits. Only high scoring matches between the minnows attract the viewers towards it.

UAE won the toss and elected to bowl first. UAE was lucky with the toss. They won it second time in a row. UAE put a great show with the ball against Sri Lanka. Hence they elected to bowl first against Bangladesh as well. Sarkar and Mithun began the Bangladeshi innings. It was a edgy start by Bangladesh as the ball was doing a bit. Mithun hit the first boundary of Bangladeshi innings on the first ball of the second over. It was quiet start from Bangladesh. They only managed to score 22 runs off first four overs of their innings. In fifth over, Bangladeshi batsmen broke the shackles. Bangladesh scored 17 runs in that over as Javed bowled pretty ordinary line in that over. Bangladesh carried that momentum forward. Sarkar dispatched first ball of the sixth over for a six but after that he gave his wicket away. Instead of playing sensible cricket he went for the big one again but was not able to clear long on. Bangladesh lost their first wicket on the total of 46.

Sabbir Rehman joined Mithun in the middle. He is a kind of batsman who takes some time to get in. He started playing according his nature but Mithun had got his eye in by then. In eight over, he flicked one for a six and then a four off his pads. Bangladesh was looking to set a big target. Seeing Mithun going for big ones, Sabbir also decided to hit some boundaries. In tenth over, Sabbir tried to hit a six over mid wicket but found a fielder at deep mid wicket. Mushfiqur Rahim came in at no. 4. Mithun was in 40s for the first time in his career at the other end. As he was nearing his half century for the first time. So there was nerves in him and those nerves pushed him to play defensively. In the process to reach his half century he ran himself out. On 47, pushed one delivery into his pads and started running without looking at the ball. The ball went straight to the keeper and keeper dislodged the bails. In this way, Bangladesh lost its third wicket on the total of 81. Shakib Al Hasan joined Rahim in the middle.

Hasan & Rahim has won lot of matches for their team. Here Bangladesh needed them again to put up a decent total on the board but they disappointed. Rahim was caught behind in the thirteenth over quickly after Mithun's wicket. Mahmudullah & Shakib took the Bangladesh's total past 100 runs but at very slow rate. Fall of wickets kept Bangladesh's run rate under 7 R.P.O. Shakib was not able to find the midlle. He was getting the runs in edges. In eighteenth, Shakib was knocked over by Javed. It was a full toss and he missed it completely. Nurul Hasan was the next batsman and he straight away tried to clear deep long on but was not able to clear it. Bangladesh lost two wickets in two balls. Then Mortaza got out in the nineteenth over. Bangladesh was struggling at 114-7 but when Mahmudullah is there, Bangladesh always cheer. He took the total to 133 at the end of 20 overs and it was compatible one.

Rohan Mustafa & Kaleem came out to chase that total for UAE but it was a disappointing start from them. Taskin bowled a tight first over and UAE batsmen started panicking straight away. Kaleem went for the wild swing in second over but only managed to give a simple catch to Mortaza. Then Rohan and Shahzad steadied the ship with some sensible cricket. They were waiting for the loose ball every over & were hitting it for a boundary. They played in that fashion till the fifth over. On the last ball of the fifth over, Rohan skied one on the off side and a fielder at short third man took a simple catch. At the end of the fifth over, UAE were 25-2. Then, Shahzad cleared his intents with a six but Anwar got out to a seaming delivery from Mortaza. UAE lost the momentum there. Mustafizur picked up two wickets in two balls after that. UAE were in all sorts of trouble at 34-5. UAE batsmen were only finding the edges at that time. As a result required rate started to climb. Javed hit his foot to the wickets trying to steal the single in eleventh over. UAE batsmen were inventing new methods to get out.

UAE was six down on 45 but they didn't stop there. They were just throwing it away. Tariq was stumped off Shakib's bowling on the total score of 46. Eighth wicket fell on 55. Then Usman hit couple of 6s to give some hopes to UAE but after hitting two big ones, he was squared up by Taskin and his off stump was knocked off. Then Naveed got couple of boundaries off the edge of his bat and then UAE was bowled out by Bangladesh on 82. Bangladesh got its first win in the Asia Cup and it was a comprehensive win. Again UAE's batting was disappointing factor. UAE's bowlers troubled the opposition on both the occasion but their batting let them down. On the other end, Bangladesh's bowlers mixed their pace well to defend the total. Bangladesh's victory opened the table. There were three teams with a win each on that table and Pakistan was yet to play a match.