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SRT, ZAK & Yuvi the Champs!
Apr 8, 2011
Self-belief is a wonderful strength to have. And since their win in the quarter-final against the Australian side, India’s self-belief seemed to have shot up to the skies, a huge factor behind their World Cup win last Saturday.

A lot had been made of the Indian bowling and its penetration issues. It would only be fair to say that not all of it was away from the mark. And yet, the semi-final against Pakistan was won thanks to the bowling, apart from being able to restrict Australia to 260 and Sri Lanka in the first half of the final.

The middle-order batting showed glimpses of folding up under pressure. In both, the quarter-final and the final, it was this vulnerable middle that led the side to the win.

Then of course, there were Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan; the three on-field architects of the World Cup triumph. Tendulkar made crucial half-centuries in the quarters and the semis to go with his performance in the league stage, but more vital was his becalming presence in the middle and in the dressing room.

Yuvraj, on the other hand, was one who had barely made it to the playing eleven at the start of the tournament after questions over his form. Self-belief was restored with a half-century against England and he went on to win four man-of-the-match awards in the competition. His confidence-soaring can easily be attributed to the way in which he bowled through the tournament – he started off with two games in which he went for runs, before making a comeback in the rest of them.

Zaheer is an understated player in the team at the best of times but the win would have been almost impossible without his presence. 21 wickets catapulted him to the top of the order as he came on whenever the captain demanded to pick up crucial wickets.

The last word should obviously be reserved for the combination of Dhoni and Kirsten. Ganguly and Wright, before them, were chalk and cheese in nature and complemented each other well. The nature of the Dhoni-Kirsten partnership is almost difficult to describe; none make a visible attempt to wear their hearts on their sleeve, both let their deeds do the talking, unlike Ganguly, Dhoni barely shows any emotions on the field but is not averse to criticising his players in the media when required.

And yet, they have forged a partnership which has seen India topple South Africa in the Tests at the top of the rankings and now win this World Cup.

Unfortunately for the Team India, Kirsten will depart the scenes, leaving India at a never-seen before position of being the best ODI and Test team at the same time.

© CrickeyNews
The dream game for every cricket fan is here.
Apr 1, 2011
The dream game for every cricket fan is here. Before 2008, there was a growing concern that the two teams, India and Pakistan were playing a tad too often, and that the administrators were busy milking the cash cow. Post the tragic circumstances of the 2008 attacks, the two teams have ceased bilateral tours completely and the only games that get played are in tournaments like the Asia Cup, World Cup or the Champions Trophy. The only game bigger than an India-Pakistan game in a World Cup semi-final is one in the final. The actual game runs the obvious risk of becoming a footnote given the battle between fans from the two countries topped only by the political shenanigans. The two sides have taken contrasting routes to the last four stage. Pakistan have rarely been tested by the opponents, in part because of their strong bowling attack but when attacked in a game by New Zealand, they have been shown to be vulnerable. On the other hand, India’s bowling was never their strong point but it has come on a tad better than expected – thanks mainly to Zaheer Khan’s brilliance and the surprise emergence of Yuvraj Singh. The batting, on the other hand, did not come to the party as a team, till the quarter-finals and now, apart from MS Dhoni, everyone’s got starts. Despite the bookies pushing India as favourites, for a game as high-profile as this, predicting is hazardous. One can only hope that the players from either side are able to focus themselves away from all of what that has gone on and deliver a game worthy of the occasion.
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