by Sajed Ahmed
Unfortunately for them, the Proteas retain the title of chokers that they have had for 14 years straight, in this edition of the T20 world cup. I haven’t quite been able to figure out why, A curse probably? Or maybe growing pressure to lose the chokers tag? Either way the South Africans have another year to figure out what goes wrong every World Cup Semi-Final as the 50 Over WC is scheduled for next year. As far as India is concerned, we don’t have to worry for the next 15 years. The future of Indian cricket is in very safe hands. This game was yet another proof that Indians can handle anything (except non-Asian venues).
MSD won the toss and as usual, put the South Africans to bat. That was a very smart move by Dhoni considering the fact that the Proteas were playing 4 pacers. It’s definitely better to not give Dale Steyn a fresh hard wicket to bowl on. To be honest, Imran Tahir has always been a very ordinary bowler against India. In fact, Most of the spinners don’t perform well against India. Narine, Saeed Ajmal and Tahir didn’t bother the Indians at all. India’s bowling wasn’t at its best as well. In every other game this WC the bowlers made the work of the batsmen very easy by restricting the opposition. Though Kumar got de Kock out early, the Proteas middle order did an amazing job to bring up the score to 172. For no reason Amit Mishra chose to bowl very full and Mohit Sharma decided not to use the little pink thing inside his head. Ashwin was the standout performer from the Indian bowling unit. The delivery to dismiss Amla was legendary. Even the wise old Amla was confused. Ashwin has always proved to be more effective than most of the other spinners in the shorter format of the game, a reputation that is very tough to achieve for a spinner in a very dynamic game like T20 Cricket. The South African batting unit was rigid and dominant at every stage of their innings. Duminy played a very crucial innings that was carefully constructed and precisely paced, something that is very rarely seen in T20 cricket. His innings is a proof that T20 batting isn’t about a no holds barred all out madman frenzy. Instead, it’s about normal cricket shots, normal footwork and simple good old fashioned batting. Another proof is Rahane’s innings up the order. He is just another wasted pool of talent like Wasim Jaffer. BCCI is going to keep denying him a proper chance till he’s too old to represent India. He can open the innings along with Dhawan while Rohit Sharma reinforces the middle order. Rahane along with Rohit set the tone for the India run chase. After Rohit’s departure, Kohli took his time while Rahane went after the Proteas bowling. The best part about our batting line up is that every other batsman is able to take charge and play a supportive role without much change in their batting style. Virat played a supportive role and then saw India home and the transition from a support role to the man of the match was beautifully subtle. Yuvraj couldn’t get going and that’s a bit of a setback for India in terms of the middle order strength and a setback for the fans because we would love to see more of his perfect golf swing loft over midwicket. Raina played one hell of an innings to secure India a comfortable win. We are in our second T20 WC finals and hopefully win our 4th World Cup. Winning this world cup would be an excellent for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, especially with the critics doing a lot of talking off late. Now that I have a summed up the summary of the game, there’s someone more important that I have to write about, someone that we as Indians should feel lucky and happy about, VIRAT KOHLI. I haven’t written anything about Virat Kohli despite him being more consistent than Don Bradman himself. The reason is because I couldn’t find the exact words to describe him and I wouldn’t be satisfied with using plain simple words to describe him. The batting style of Virat Kohli is flamboyant, flashy and yet very very responsible. That’s a very tough combination to achieve. Some of the batsmen who can be compared to him in terms of their batting style are Kevin Pietersen, AB De Villiers and Sourav Ganguly. What makes Kohli stand out is his consistency. He isn’t definitely one of those guys who remain calm all the time. He is known for his nasty temper and outrages. But the best part is the anger doesn’t cloud his judgment or his shot selection. Instead, it drives him towards piling up more runs and snubbing it on the faces of his opponents. That is something that the cricket world never gets to see very often. He can definitely carry the Indian batting lineup in his shoulders for the next ten years easily. It was good to see MSD let Kohli have his moment. A gentleman moment in the gentleman’s game.
With our batsmen and bowlers in very good form, winning the cup shouldn’t be a tough job right? Wrong. The Lankans are equally strong and dangerous in every aspect of the game. The most threatening part of our bowling lineup, the spinners will not be able to scare the crafty Srilankan batsmen. This contest would be amazing to watch as the possibilities are endless. MSD coming to the rescue again, Kohli taking India home as usual, Malinga making a joke out of the Indian batting lineup, the Sanga-Mahela love affair stealing the game away from India. All these are possible. India and Srilanka have convincingly defeated every other team in almost every format of the game in the sub-continent very the past few years. It’s almost impossible to beat India and Srilanka at home. This T20 WC would decide which team among us would prevail. The clash of the Asian power-houses and I have a feeling the spotlight will be on MSD again. Fingers Crossed.