Much has been said about the importance, psychological and “political” (well, apparently) of today’s game. Pontifications galore, today’s match was one that was hyped up beyond proportion and assumed a sort of “centrepiece” status in this world cup. Here are my 6 penny’s worth:
- Reassuringly, India have clicked. It would be generous hyperbole to claim they have arrived in ominous fashion, all guns blazing. However, they have overcome the massive shadow of doubt that has been perpetually lingering over them for the last few weeks and announced themselves as able contenders and as the rightful defending champions, if not as tournament favourites.
- Keeping in mind Rohit Sharma’s twin centuries (tri series and warm up), India’s top order finally looks the well oiled machine that manages to be more than the sum of it’s parts.
- How good was that Dhoni six over mid on? Nevertheless, the skipper will be conscious, no doubt, of his rather indifferent batting form recently and will have loved the knocking-in he got today. Not quite the MS of lore, but he’s getting there (hopefully)
- The Indian batting line up is the stuff of mythicised common knowledge. So, no gaping jaws on it coming good finally (more, like relieved sighs). However, the much and often derided bowling attack really put up a strong and disciplined, if not menacingly incisive performance. Shami looked every bit like a man who really dug into his all for the big game, on the biggest stage of them all. MS got away with his two spinner ploy today. Knowing how comfortable he is fielding that combination and considering the pace-friendly conditions down under, a few eye brows are bound to be raised, issuing words of caution. Stuart Binny is probably going to be given a look in for games in New Zealand, one would presume, but otherwise, I feel MSD is making his intentions clear by choosing to operate with an attack he is incredibly adept at manoeuvring and milking.
- Pakistan looked out of ideas and out of sorts, almost throughout the game. Their bowlers maintained commendable lengths and lines through the opening half of the indian innings but hardly looked to trouble the Indian top order, which as has been pointed out from far and wide, was not nearly at it’s best recently.
- Mohammad Irfan’s inclusion, though his obvious lack of fitness, reeks of the typically pakistani brand of “strategising”, or lack of quality, therein. The giant huffed and puffed his way through his 10 and did not look like he belonged one bit. Pakistan’s apparent “trump card” fizzled away to be nothing more than a foiled parlour trick.
- Pakistan’s sloppiness in the field cost them dear. Absolutely awful. India needs to be cautious enough to up their game against foes who surely won’t give them as much leeway, with either their fielding or their execution.
- Kohli is back and and it’s all there- intent, aggression, control and timing. This could well be his tournament.