Mohali—Epic Saga of Pressure Chances and Surprises!

A typical India-Pakistan encounter with the teams not performing to their true potential, but very true to the pressure and nerves. Eternal rivals meeting in a rare face-to-face apart, it was also a World Cup semi final which is normally tougher than the Final and watched by two Prime Ministers taking cricket to the noble goal of achieving lasting friendship between the two countries. There were pleasant surprises all around—Indian and Pakistani fans watching and cheering their teams sitting together, sweet friendly smiles and chats between the rival players on field, slogans around the stadium announcing ‘India and Pakistan are friends forever’ and so on. India won the toss and there was the shocker nobody on earth expected. Ashwin was replaced by an out-of-sorts Nehra who was condemned for his last disastrous over against South Africa. But the real point of debate was ‘how you dare changing a winning combination against the Champions Australia’! It defied all logic! It had been evi

Battle Lines Drawn! Epic Clash at Mohali on Wednesday!

England disappointed sorely and Sri Lanka won in style at the last quarter final clash at Colombo. Despite rare Sri Lankan lapses on the field England could not set a competitive target. And Sri Lanka made a mockery of the 230 run target achieving it without any loss of wickets and nearly 11 overs to spare. Like South Africa now England too must indulge in an intense introspection. Battle lines drawn now: Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand on March 29 at Colombo, Ist Semi Final. India Vs Pakistan on March 30 at Mohali, 2nd Semi Final. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 has in a way become an Asia Cup with three Asian teams making it to the semis! Barring a continuing NZ upsurge the final is going to be all Asian and if any Asian team wins it that will be its 2nd title. All ways lead now to Mohali! Clash of the arch rivals! The Epic war! Some channel calls it the Mother of all Battles! Yes, it is indeed the biggest occasion involving the two countries rarely playing each other in recent times

Now Hot Favorites South Africa Knocked Out!

South Africa choked again! They must seriously consider this malady. Big occasions, big matches and knockout stages are continuing nightmares for them. Another World Cup gone! Fours years will be long wait before they hope to team up and say.' We are no longer 'chokers'.'  Okay, New Zealand tonight outplayed them, but the scrappy target of 222 set before South Africa was immensely gettable. This is the point they should take it forward from in a determined frame of mind never to choke again. Though hailed as a major upset in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 this was not unexpected. I had been saying all the way and also yesterday that New Zealand was fully capable of winning on its day. NZ did not set a huge target, but their tremendous fielding combined with some inspired bowling finished a mindless performance by South Africa. Sluggish Dhaka pitch also helped, but that factor helped SA too in restricting NZ. Champions gone yesterday! Clinically proficient favorites gone

Team India Knock Australia Out Of World Cup 2011!

I said in one of my posts earlier that somebody needed to stop Australia before they ran away with the ICC Cricket World Cup for the fifth time! Pakistan stopped them! Team India knocked them out tonight! Incredible, but truly so and magnificently too!  More significantly, now India meet Pakistan the semi final at Mohali on March 30. If today's match was a huge one and hugely hyped, the Mohali one will be a gigantic match and a gigantic hype may be also be inadequate! Eternal rivals clash in a big one and words are not enough to describe the sensation. But one thing is sure, one nation of the subcontinent is going to figure in the final and Sri Lanka may even make it total. Finally, India bowled better, fielded better and Dhoni shuffled his bowlers better. He also made the right decision bringing in Raina which was strongly suggested in my earlier post on SA disaster. But what's Dhoni doing with the bat? It remains a worry. Only his sweating sweltering ad keeps on coming co

West Indies---Reduced To 'Minnows'! And Tomorrow's Big One!

The once mighty West Indies is on the verge of being reduced to a status of minnows. From being less unpredictable they beat even the most unpredictable by playing one of their worst games in WC history. What a way to start the much awaited Quarter Finals! West Indies can blame only themselves. Their negative mindset was palpable in the match against India. They decided to rest few of their best players signifying their 'will to lose'. It has been widely discussed that they wanted to meet Pak and not the Aussies in the QF. Well, there must be some truth in all this. If you become choosy and want to experiment about losing you just lose the competitive spirit and so cannot perform to win from there. You cannot expect a player like Gayle to just come and deliver, he lost such a huge opportunity of having some invaluable practice against India. Pakistan has been becoming less unpredictable meaning more consistent of late and this is a healthy sign. They are already in the semi

Finally Pakistan Stops Australia! Bangladesh Let England In!

It had to be Pakistan! Pakistan was trounced by New Zealand who in turn was beaten squarely by Australia. And now Pakistan ends Australia's run of unbeaten World Cup matches since 1999. They have topped Group A followed by Sri Lanka, Australia and NZ. But hardly anything can be said about what they are going to do in the first QF. You saw how Afridi got out today with the team needing him urgently at that moment and balls remaining were nearly three times more than the runs needed! Pakistan need to be a little more predictable or a little consistent if they want their second title. Bangladesh who caused a major upset defeating England crashed out today doing immense favors to none other then England only! Though they are still with the same points as West Indies, their net runrate is so bad that it is not even mathematically possible to make it if West Indies is defeated tomorrow. India is likely to meet Australia in QF if they defeat WI tomorrow and take the second spot in Gro

England Stays In QF Contention! Is India In or Out?

You must thank England for making every match it played very close and exciting. It will be a tragedy if they bow out of the world cup. They were in dire straits when their match against West Indies threatened to go out of their reach at several points. Finally England prevailed and got WI all out for 225, 18 short of the England total. So, for the moment they stay in contention for a birth in quarter finals (QF). There are many possibilities as who out of England, WI and Bangladesh makes it to QF. First let’s take a look at the Group B points table: Group B - Standings Rank Teams P W L NR T Points NRR 1 South Africa 5 4 1 0 0 8 +1.606 2 India 5 3 1 0 1 7 +0.768 3 England 6 3 2 0 1 7 +0.072 4 West Indies 5 3 2 0 0 6 +1.650 5 Bangladesh 5 3 2 0 0 6 -0.765 6 Ireland 5 1

Pray For Japan!

The 9 point earthquake, worst ever in world history, struck Japan on Friday and then came the devastating Tsunami. In mere minutes Japan was reduced to junk, rabble and desolation. But hats off to tremendous technological advance achieved by the tiny country which saved millions of lives. Suffering suffering and sufferings for the Japanese people. You can see and feel the pain. The crisis is far from over. With blasts and possible more blasts in the nuclear plants the radiation factor has become a real threat. Fears are expressed like in the case of Chernobyl Nuclear Accident in 1986, but here again the high technological standards of Japan can come to the rescue. Let us pray for the Japanese to tide over the worst ever crisis after World War II. How helpless are humans before Nature! Up to whatever extent you make progress it can be wiped out in minutes if Nature feels like it and you just cannot do anything about it. So much for the power of mankind! You make nuclear plants to

A Thriller India Never Deserved To Win!

Because, from a position of supreme command, an incredible opening partnership, 99th international hundred from a master you got to a situation of 9 overs, 9 wickets and 29 runs. The matter of absolute shame is that you failed to bat through 50 overs yet again after you boast of batting strength and opt for 7 batsmen! After getting into an incredible position with 8.5 runrate you surrender the psychological advantage squarely to the opposition. And yet, they could have won with 13 needed off the last over. But, the great skipper gave the ball to Nehra, about whom it is not even clear if he is fit or not. And not to Harbhajan who bowled excellent, fielded excellent, involved in catching and run outs and was a live wire on the field. Time now for Raina to come in, time now for five main bowlers and time now for underplaying so called batting prowess. So far only two or three batsmen delivered in almost all matches. With so many powerful batsmen around batting order shuffling always f

Team India Hiccups Into Quarter Finals!

India win by five wickets with more than 13 overs to spare. But Netherlands made them labor for the win. Not convincing Team India! Top celebrated batsmen fell in heaps. Thanks to Yuvraj Singh who stars in both of the last  wins.  There are questions all the way... If unfit Nehra could be tested then why not test the  sitting spinner Ashwin as well. If you are not giving him a chance against the minnows when you are planning to cap him or not at all. Chawla is hardly doing anything except being Dhoni's favorite. Sreesanth was dumped for just one bad spell that too in the very first match and was also rewarded with rebukes. That aggressive fellow has a lot to contribute to Team India's fortune or how would you know if not tested at all. Why the same standards not being applied to Chawla too? Or is the thinking other way round? First ensure QF birth and then go on with the experimenting! Meaning you want to experiment against the likes of South Africa and West Indies! While who