Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Game

Since 1992,these teams have met 4 times in world cups(50-50), and every time the same team won.No matter what team plays the world cup finals,this game garners the huge attraction.Every cricket world cup craves for this match.In 2007,with a fixed schedule the tickets of this match were already sold out,the teams failed to qualify and the two teams  did not meet for the first time in world cups since 1992.The t20 arrive and these teams competed in the finals of the first edition of te02 and still the same side won.Be it t20's or odi's only one team won and that was India.By this time the other team would have been guessed easily by you .It's Pakistan.

In 2011,these teams contested in a game in what would earn the team that won , a place in a world cup final to face another sub-continent giant ,Sri Lanka.For the first time in 10 editions of the world cup two sub continent giants would clash for the coveted trophy.A team other than Australia for the first time would lift the world cup since 1999.The whole film fraternity of India were there,both countries Prime Minister were there,BCCI was there ,ICC was there.And possible talk resumptions between the two coutries after this game,an India-Pakistan clash could not get any bigger.

Pakistan were the dark horses while Indians were the hot favorites to win the world cup.The way Pakistan played the world cup,it was reminiscent of 1999,the last time Pakistan completely dominated.With a loss to Newzealand providing the exception,Pakistan were the team to beat.They put an end to Australia's winning streak.The bowling attack of the Pakistan is the best bowling attack this world cup.With captain Afridi ,being the highest wicket-taker ,he lead the way for the team.On the other hand,India did not have a smooth ride in group stages.The hyped batting line up's middle order continuously failed and the bowling with exception of Zaheer khan continuously failed to perform.But in quarters everything changed.The game against Australia saw everyone raise their game.Yuvraj singh  excelled with bat and ball,Raina ,Kohli proved their mettle with the bat and Bhajji started to regain the form.The favourites tag started to re-emerge.Now lets get on to the game.

India won the toss and choose to bat.The battle was about to begin.Pakistan bowlers vs Indian Batsman.But it did not begin all rosy for Pakistan.Umar Gul,pakistan's best bowler was smashed all around the park by sehwag.India's 50 was brought up in under 7 overs and was starting to flourish until wahab riaz struck and sehwag was gone.Tendulkar on the other end was scratchy,survived  a lbw with help of a  referral and a stumping chance.He survived 2 dropped chances before reaching his 50.It was not tendulkar in his element.In the other end ,Gambir was getting on his stride before he fell to a off spinner trying to give the charge.Kohli and Tendulkar stabilised  and tendulkar was let off 2 more times and Pakistan were wilting and memories of the match against newzealand where the dropped chances of ross taylor came back and haunt them in end started to refurbish.But Wahab Riaz,who was bowling exceptionally well came back and produced a double strike ,Kohli and the in-form yuvraj.Dhoni and Tendulkar had to keep it tight and do not let Pakistan to rout the Indian line up which they had managed to do to other teams.Just when tendulkar was seem to get his stride,Ajmal finally got the man.Dhoni also got out quickly to another wahab riaz delivery .And with score at 6-205 ,250 seemed far.But Raina took the responsibility and with bhajji and zaheer khan playing some tailender shots india managed to get to 260-9 in 50 overs.

Pakistan's batting line up was not in its best with their highest run getter being Umar Akmal(212 runs).Yet when it comes to india,they have to perform.The opening partnership og Akmal and Hafeez smashed india's premium bowler Zaheer Khan all over the park.He was taken of the attack after 2 overs and brought back in the 9th over.And voila he got the wicket of Akmal.Asad shafiq ,emerging youngster of of Pakistan joined hafeez and runs were starting to flow in smooth way until hafeez played the worst shot of the tournament trying the dil scoop(pepsi ad) and getting an outside edge.This turned out to be the turning point of the match.Younis khan who had a poor run in the tournament except for the srilanka match took too much time to settle and put pressure on youngster shafiq,who in pursuit of getting runs fell.Misbah another slow-coach joined younis and just upped the required run rate and against the run of play Younis Khan fell.Umar akmal played some blazing shots before he was undone by a faster ball from bhajji,Abdul razzaq was done in by a beautiful slower leg cutter from munaf patel.Afridi came hit some shots and fell to bhajji.

With misbah continuing in snai'ls pace it was curtains for Pakistan.What seemed to be a high octane clash was turning into a lopsided contest.The powerplay which had to be taken when razzaq , afridi were in crease was finally taken in 45th over or forced upon them.Misbah tried to bring back memories of 2007 t20,but he had ran out of too many partners and the task proved too much.Zaheer khan fittingly took the last wicket .And pakistan were yet again outplayed by Indians in a world cup game,this time  by 29 runs.

A high octane contest turned into a lopsided contest courtesy-younis khan and misbah.The man of the match award went to sachin tendulkar and he was all smiles as he would probably playing is last world cup match in home ground and with  world cup at stake and his 100th international century ,we would not be able to witness a better farewell for the person who has only brought only laurels in his 20 year journey to the country.

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