Some random thoughts on India’s mesmerising loss to South Africa on a Saturday evening:
The word is mesmerising because that’s exactly what it was. Despite a feeling of deja vu, the Indian fan felt that it was the same old story, the same old capitulation of a much-vaunted batting lineup in the face of disciplined bowling.
Yet the South African attack was disciplined, not hostile.
Much as you and I would have liked to switch off the telly, you and I could not, would not.
Nine-for-29 tells an abject story of surrender; not the kind of performance you expect from professionals. Yet, time and again, this No. 1 Test team and No. 2 ODI team has caved in like rank amateurs.
When you felt that it was no longer about just Sachin Tendulkar (his 2000 runs in the World Cup came and went without much fanfare), the master brought the nation to its feet with a superb innings.
However, the rest of the Indian team appeared to conspire to negate his object-d’art; the elation of achievement was tempered by the bitterness of defeat. How many times has the great man endured similar ignominy? How many times again?
The timing of the batting powerplay by India is not to be faulted. In fact, it could have been taken as early as the 36th over. It is a given axiom in ODI cricket that the final 10 overs are to be used to fling the bat at the ball, irrespective of the field setting especially with wickets in hand. India had plenty.
Over-ambition and lack of a plan showed up the batters' inadequacies.
Perhaps, it’s all Tendulkar’s fault anyway. As long as he is in the middle, he makes it all look so easy. Only for his teammates to discover it isn’t quite so—once he departs.
There was no need to change the batting order. Yousuf Pathan is best at No. 7.
One word to describe India's batting collapse?
I have several:amateurism, disaster, erosion,escape to defeat, , a funeral procession,hara-kiri, an apparition from hell or simply hellish, heinous,implosion, self-destruction, ,typical, unforgivable, un-pardonable.
The bowlers were all charged up when India came back on the field. However, the Proteas had a plan and stuck to it.
Conserve wickets for the final assault.
Once the 30-over mark was breached, the South Africans lit into the bowling attack. It was not mayhem, but cool, calculated and scientific hitting.
The batting powerplay was just that—utilized to maximum effect.
In the final over, Ashish Nehra crumbled. The lack of match practice showed.
It is said fortune favours the brave, that you make your own luck.
Both statements held true for the South Africans at the VCA stadium in Nagpur.
The momentum is lost. Can India recapture it against the Windies on Sunday, the 20th of March, 2011?
Life is hard. After all, it kills you.