The Deserving and The Undeserving
India won the final of the Compaq Cup. Really? Is this the best the World number two side can do?
You know, while watching the match I had a feeling my building mates could have easily beaten Dhoni's boys. This was by far, the most pathetic performance by the Indian cricket team I've ever seen. And I will drop blood for this team India.
But lets all forget about that. Whatever mistakes I can find, Sachin Tendulkar drifts into my mind and reverse sweeps those thoughts away.
I had a bet with one of my friend's earlier in the day. He said Sachin isn't going to cross 20. I said he'd cross 50. I don't have to write who won the bet. Obviously he did. He didn't give the five Rupees he promised.
I was unfortunate to miss the Indian innings, but fortunate enough to watch the highlights. Even during the highlights, I just wanted to switch off the box after The Master was dismissed.
This was easily one of the best innings he has played and that was later confirmed by Sachin himself. But only if he had come out to field. The Little Master studded his innings with 10 boundaries and a mighty six.
Then out came Yuvraj and played another wonder knock. This was Yuvi at his best and he seriously needed such an inning after disappointing us in the first two matches.
India amassed 319 in the alloted 50 overs. Surely enough to win a final when your bowling under lights on a pitch like the one in Colombo.
To make a long story short, it wasn't.
Virat Kohli, who came into the side I would say more for his fielding than batting, dropped a sitter off Jayasuriya early on that proved to be fatal. Jayasuriya and Dlshan blasted the fast bowlers all around the park and thats when I thought I could captain my building to a win.
But the Turbanator turned things around.
First he dismissed Dilshan and then the in-okayish-form Jayawardene. Then Yusuf got Jayasuriya, but that was the end of the match for him, I can tell you. Captain Sangakarra came into steady the ship and steady he did. Playing a patient knock and not hesitating to take just the singles. He knew that if he stayed on until the end, Lanka were going to pull off an upset.
But Angelo Mathews and promoted Thushara couldn't support him. But then came in the hero of the previous match, Thilina Kandamby. The wrestler...oh, I mean, left hander, came in and asserted his authority right away, not giving the bowlers much to exploit.
Between all this, there was something really strange going on. The Indian fielders must have had some seriously butter-y food before taking the field. Everything that came the fielders way was fumbled and those that stuck were thrown outrageously.
For a team having Yuvraj, Raina, Kohli, Dravid, Dhoni, etc., you would be expecting a lot more.
Sanga and Kandamby seemed to be taking the match away and the only way India could have come back was sheer luck. And how luck laughed for them!
RP Singh was bowling another one of his dreadful overs when he bowled an utterly useless ball. An extremely slow full toss ball which at first glance would seem a no ball, but that glance would be forgotten for what happened next.
I was just telling my dad that as long as Sanga stayed, India had no chance. But Sangakkara obviously must have heard me and started feeling conscious. He went for a full fledged heave which he missed. Unfortunately for him, his bat didn't. It slipped out of his hands and flew over his head and onto the stumps. One of the most bizarre dismissals and no thanks to RP but the Indians were celebrating as if they had got Lanka all out in ten balls at the finals of the World Cup.
But Sri Lankans never lose easy. Kapugedera and Kandamby led their charge once again and India's fielding went from bad, to worse, to worst.
Yuvraj was bowling to Kandamby and he bowled a shooter pitched halfway down the pitch. Kandamby top edged and had already started walking off and Indians all over started celebrating when we saw the ball on the ground.
Yusuf had dropped a catch, which he could have swallowed on another day, with his eyes shut. There was a sense of spiritlesness in the team after that, and things were looking very bad. The fielding had gone so much down that I felt every hold on to the ball was worth applauding.
Suresh Raina though, had been bowling really well and he finally struck after what felt like milenias getting Kapugedera caught behind (yes!! caught!!).
After that, Dhoni brought back Bhajji, who picked the last three wickets to complete his five-for.
All in all, a match which should have been Sri Lankas', ended being Indias' all thanks to a small man with an awesome new bat and a big guy with a never-say-die-but-say-kill attitude.
If this was preparation for the Champions Trophy, India have to pull up their socks. But at the moment, it really looks like they don't even have socks. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, should gear up for another good tournament and might just turn out to be the team to beat.
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