Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bravo & a catch win Windies the match.

Bravo continued from where he left off against the Lankans in the qualifying group match. After scalping 4 wickets in India's paltry innings of 153, Bravo took on the mantle from Gayle to carry West Indies to a superb victory over India with 8 balls to spare. Bravo's innings of 66 n.o was a mix of aggression & caution with the balance between the two changing seamlessly over the game's progress. His winning stroke was a sweetly timed sixer over long off that the bowler Zaheer could only watch in despair.
Bravo, indeed!
But what I think changed the game in favour of West Indies was the 'knocking-off'  of Indian top order of Rohit Sharma, Gambhir & Suresh Raina. All the three big hitters were back in the pavilion when India's total was just 29. The defining moment of this shift of balance was when Simmons took a marvellous catch running back for 20 odd yards to send Gambhir back.  Immediately an image of Kapil running behind to catch  out Viv Richards in 1983 WC final, at the same ground, flashes in the now overloaded mind. 
What a catch! Surely that won the match. This one and the one caught 26 years back.
What do India do from here on ? One is they can hope that even in the absence of Sehwag, the top three batsmen will find form to put up a challenging  score , which  the mighty South Africans or the unpredictable English  side will find difficult to defend.
Or they can take a do/die attitude and get Irfan Pathan to open with Gambhir with Rohit coming in one down position followed by Yusuf Pathan, Raina & then Dhoni. It was surprising to see Irfan Pathan not get his full quota of 4 overs from Dhoni ; while Ishant's & Zaheer's over pitched lollies were getting pounded.  
In the end, the team that deserved, won the match. There's only one word that one can repeat in such a situation.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Confusing,illogical & possibly unfair laws on display in T20 World Cup 2009

T20 World Cup second edition that is underway in England has already thrown up a couple of interesting laws that appear more confusing than convincing.

  1. The top two seeded teams are allocated slots in the Super Eight stage regardless of where they finish in their group. The Super Eight stage is not determined on winners and runners-up. This means that if the seeded teams qualify in their group, then they take the predetermined positions in the super eight Stage. Since India has already qualified , the results of their match, currently underway against Ireland, will not shift India's position in Group E . The abiding reason as per the Cricinfo website is to ensure supporters who buy Super Eight tickets can be assured of knowing who they will be watching - assuming their team qualifies! What nonsense! Seeding a team is based on past performances and proves helpful while drawing lots for the qualifying group. But once the qualifying groups and teams have been drawn up ; fairness of the game demands that the present performances in the qualifying matches should dictate the positions in the Super Eight stage groups & not seeding.
  2. There was an interesting situation in the Sri Lanka Vs. West Indies qualifying match today; when Sarwan had smashed a Mendis delivery to the long-on boundary. Mathews took a great overhead catch, the momentum taking him over the line. Mathews throws the ball up in the air before crossing the rope, the ball also crosses the boundary but it is in the air. Mathews is behind the rope but he jumps to slap the airborne ball back into play. The ball goes inside the ropes , still airborne, but doesn't cross the rope after that, and after an eternity of replays it is decided that will be only be three runs (run by the batsmen) & not a six. So although both the ball and the fielder had crossed the boundary rope but were not grounded during the time of contact , it was not declared a six. Clause 19 (3) of the laws of cricket defines this position of 'grounding' clearly. However, to a spectator, the situation above appears starkly unfair as the fielder & the ball are clearly shown to be outside the vertical plane of the boundary line when the contact was made to get the ball back into the field of play. If the boundary line is the definitive limit of a cricket field then then 'grounding' clause do appear limiting & unfair.