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Monday, September 28, 2009

Champs Trophy --- India VS Pakistan

This is one of the most fiercest rivalries of cricket . An encounter between India and Pakistan makes people to finish their jobs soon , or leave the work what they are currently doing and make them glued to their television sets . This rivalry started way back in Sharjah when Javed Miandad scored a last ball six of Chetan Sharma to ensure a win for Pakistan . Till date the intensity continues and a win for either teams makes sure that the entire nation celebrates .

India held the upperhand by beating Pakistan in all major matches of ICC World Cup , but it lost the last time when they met in the Champions Trophy last time . So September 26 was a red letter day for both the cricketing giants as they met after a gap of fourteen months . India received a serious blow by missing the services of Yuvraj Singh , who injured his finger during the practice . Pakistan started playing mind games , where the Indians have been a victim on many occasion , stating that the team looked vulnerable without Yuvraj . True it was . Young Mohammed Ameer of Pakistan openly said that Tendulkar would be his target . These sort of statements made sure that Pakistan held an upper hand even before the match had begun.

So it all boiled down to the bull ring at the Centurion . This was the very same venue where India thrashed Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup , in which Sachin Tendulkar played a stellar knock of 97 . Pakistan Captain who returned from an injury commented that he would be happy if he would play a similar knock for his country .

M.S.Dhoni who is always lucky with the tosses was not to be this time , as his counterpart won the toss and decided to bat .
The pitch was flat and as it was a day night encounter , the sun was baking down . Pakistan started briskly , but soon lost its way . They were tottering for 60 by giving away three wickets .

This was the time Dhoni missed the ploy of not bringing Harbhajan , instead he tossed the ball to Virat Kohli , who bowled gentle medium pace . The flow of runs dried but this ensured , the pakistani pair of Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Yousuf settled and got their eye in .

Shoaib Malik is a big game player , here again he proved his mettle . The kind of acceleration he showed in the middle overs shocked me . Dhoni was clearly a bowler short , the inexperience of the bowlers were clearly seen as they were bowling too short and wide , but my greatest shock was Harbhajan Singh , he looked like a bowler who forgot bowling his off - spin . Better luck next time Bhajji , you are one of my best cricketers , but this was not your day really .

Mohammed Yousuf played second fiddle to Malik , but ensured the flow of boundaries . There were too many short balls as i had mentioned above and they were cut with disdain , Malik reached his century and it was one of the memorable one day innings you can see .

India pulled things back by taking wickets during the batting powerplay but the damage was already done , Pakistan set a mammoth 303 , for India to chase , a daunting but a possible target.

Mohammed Ameer who looks like a school boy lived up to his words , he picked up Sachin Tendulkar , a priceless moment of this kid`s career .
Gambhir counter attacked , free hits sailed over the ropes , but a moment of madness cost his wicket . He backed up a lot and found his stumps shattered by a direct hit from Younis Khan .

This was the moment i switched off my television and walked off . Dravid as always was struggling as he saw men come in and walk out . Suresh Raina can be called unlucky as he was given leg before where the ball had taken a clear edge before striking the pads .

My friend messaged me , it was half past one , saying that India lost badly . Yes it was acceptable , India did lose badly . There were no positives to carry forward to the next game and it was a day to forget for the Indian bowlers really .

So today ( 28 .9 . 09 ) India face the ever challenging Aussies .Dhoni has indicated he will be going with 5 bowlers , a nice ploy given the bowling should click !! Yusuf Pathan looks like a man who has forgotten to play cricket , it is good on Dhoni`s part by giving him the confidence and waiting for him to deliver . The problem is that he should deliver at the earliest else India will be packing their bags and watching the rest of the tournament in their respective drawing rooms !

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