Boom Boom Pow
We all have played cricket. At whatever level. Tennis ball, tape ball, rubber ball, leather ball, and sometimes even the golf ball.
Now we all have been whacked on some part of the body while batting. And we all know, even if it's just a tennis ball, it hurts.
Now how many of us have been smacked on the head, first up? I would say a few. But in seriously scarce numbers. But how many of those can say, I smashed a hundred by tearing apart each and every bowler that came to me and scored a hundred batting at a position people believed was too low for me.
Not many. Not many international cricketers. Actually one. Have you seen the Saw movies? I haven't, but from the promos and spoofs, etc., I know its a pretty gory film. With the cutting and chopping and bleeding, etc. Dhoni's batting reminded me of that.
If instead of a bat, he had a sword, the next day's headlines would be, "Captain slays 11, Reserves and Coaches flee." Batting so powerful, I felt the pain of the Aussies. Who said Dhoni should come in at three?
Three days before the mass murder, the India-Australia series got underway. I've been going on and on about this series being a success and stuff like that, but this start was just perfect.
Ricky Ponting asked the Indians to field first but his thoughts of a good start were rubbed of thanks to Ashish Nehra who trapped Shane Watson leg before in the second over. But there is always a problem when a team gets an early wicket, especially when India gets an early wicket. The next wicket take eons to come.
Ponting and Tim Paine, who I think is awesome, rallied on and shared an excellent partnership of 97 runs before was caught behind of Ishant Sharma, who seems to be getting his rhythm back and it's nice to know he's clocking speeds up to 142 now.
But then again, the next wicket took time. Cameron White came in and continued to tire the bowlers along with the Punter before Ravindra Jadeja was called in and bowled a peach of a delivery to dismiss Ponting.
The rest, as they say, is Hussey.
Once again Mr. Cricket, Mr. Consistent, Mr. Crisis (there is a long list given by Sivaramakrishnan but that is another article) guided the Aussies with a flawless knock. He started off slowly and picked up the pace towards the end to lead Australia to 292. The pick of the bowlers being Sharma and the biggest disappointment being Harbhajan. He being the most experienced bowlers should have bowled better.
Out come the Indians and in went Sehwag and Sachin within the first eight overs. Destruction awaited.
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni did well to support Gambhir, who scored a valiant 68 but at the end of the fortieth, India were 201 for 7.
There are very few people who will bet for you, when you're team needs 93 to win in 60 balls with three wickets in hand. I'll tell you what though, that doesn't seem to be such a bad idea.
Praveen Kumar and Harbhajan came in and smacking the Australians everywhere. I thought we lost it, but now I was sure I was going to have to swallow my words. It came down to the last over. Nine from six. Peter Siddle took his mark. His heart in his mouth. If he had given away a four on his first delivery, I wouldn't be surprised if he vomited it out. Lucky for us, it was a leg bye.
The rest, as they say, was Bhajji.
Yes, I believe Bhajji should take blame for the loss. After batting so well, after getting it so close, after nearing his fifty, why did he have to play a cut shot for a full pitch ball??
Well, the rest IS history. India lost, but by just four runs. Advantage India, possibly.
The teams arrived at Nagpur. The new stadium didn't seem to make the Indians happy. They looked as serious as teachers who believe their subjects rule but students hate it.
Well, India were put into bat by Ponting this time. Dhoni, Gambhir, and Raina. Need I say more?
I was really disappointed to see Sachin walk back early. I bet that he would cross 17000 on the day. I got a nice whack on my back as my friends taunted me. But not for long. Everyone was so exhilarated by what Dhoni did. You won't see innings like those and Gambhir and Raina played their roles superbly.
If it wasn't for an unfortunate run out, there would be two centurions in the team. Gambhir, I think its safe to say, is the next Tendulkar,
Raina came towards the end and began playing test match cricket before he exploded and began playing F-5 cricket.
India amassed 354 but not before the Paine show, which included two superb catches and a cheeky run out.
Australia came out to bat with all guns blazing but Nehra and Kumar seemed to have their bullet-proof vests on. The openers were struggling to get anything. But Praveen ended their misery with an amazing in-swinger, knocking off Tim Paine's leg stump. So much for his awesome-ness.
Ponting came in, but he, too, couldn't find the gaps. He hit the middle alright but the Indian field was a tough cookie to break.
Then came in Ishant and out went Watson with an excellent short ball which rose up to Watson's chest before it his retreating bat and fell into Sachin's hands. Next over, Ponting was given LBW thanks to another peach balled by Kumar. This was too easy. Not.
Again Mr. Crisis, Mr. Consistent...whatever started making the bowlers suffer after struggling with his first five balls. White at the other end gave ample support but Harbhajan, who was relatively quiet, duped him to lose his wicket at mid wicket.
After that, it was just small partnerships which failed to be converted into big ones and that cost them the match along with the Kangaroos disability to maintain the required run rate. Jadeja came in late on, and bowled with gusto to pick up three.
The match was wrapped, and India won by 99 runs.
Any guesses for man of the match? I got a few fingers for that.
So, two ODIs done, and both teams have delivered their punches, but round one is India's, after coming close from nowhere to lose by just four runs at Vadodara, and destroying the Aussie bowling at Nagpur. What happened to '7-0', Mr. Lee?
The bowl is in India's court, and its a nice and juicy volley, which is being prepared to be whacked for the winner.