So, the award for a better run chase goes to...
I have spent the evening (besides watching Manchester United outclass Liga de Quito) pretty much hearing moans from fans supporting that India's brilliant chase of 387 still outclasses South Africa's marvellous achievement of getting 414 today. Yes, they were both magnificent, however, is it justified to state one was better than the other?
Both run chases were constructed in similar manner, albeit in drastically different circumstances. Whilst the Indian public still had the tragic Mumbai Terror attacks in their mind, and the nation was reeling with pain and anger, the Australian sunshine was beating hard down on one of Cricket's greatest pitches, WACA.
Whilst the English had declared, the Aussies had been bowled out. Finally, whilst the Indians were expected to win at the start of the match, the South Africans were highly doubted.
Preceding one series was the well wishes and fantastic trust displayed by the English team, whilst the other had raving, raw and brave promises, and lots of ridiculous chatter. However all this was forgotten by few of the men batting in the middle, who lead their teams to victory.
India had chased their targets in what could be specified as three simple steps. First aggression, second consolidation, third development. Sehwag blasted any thoughts that a 3.6 run-rate may nag, Gambhir made sure he was there at one end so wickets did not fall quickly, and most appropriately, Sachin and Yuvraj finished off the match.
South Africa meanwhile were quite simple. Start with defense at a run-rate that will make Dravid seem like a T20 player, and accelerate with such confidence throughout so that the Aussies are left dumbfounded. Never could have Australia thought that the game would finish in the second session today after seeing ten runs being made in eleven overs I would think.
Both teams achieved targets comfortably eventually, with six wickets in hand each. But how good were the oppositions?
The English bowling consisted of five inconsistent bowlers. Harmison, who does not require any clarification, Anderson, who can have magical matches followed by mystical ones, Panesar, who has been declining lately, Swann, the debutant, and finally Freddie Flintoff, who has been injured longer then been in the game. However, two out of the five shine through most of the times, and the spinners were expected to trouble a lot on the last day.
Australia meanwhile played with four genuine bowlers. Lee, whose recent form was criticized but still strikes fear in the opposition. Johnson has been in scintillating form and his 8 wickets in the first innings were sure to cause more havoc, as it indeed did turn out. Krejza was on the team because of a sole game in India where he succeeded, whilst Siddle has still to prove himself, some would say even domestically.
So, all in all, the bowling line-ups were even, as both had genuine match winners but still provided no guarantees.
Personally, though India's chase may have come and the country was in turmoil, South Africa beat the better ranked team. However there is no way at all that matches like these can be compared. Minor differences cannot denounce two magical run chases.
So for all you out there, just appreciate the run chases, you may never see such innings again.
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