Tuesday, March 29, 2011

India - Pakistan World cup history

Pakistan's overall ODI record is superior to India in the head-to-heads. However, in the last 8 years or so, since that blitzkreig 98 off 75 balls from Sachin in World Cup'03. India and Pakistan have played 35 ODIs, 17 India has won, Pak has won 17 and 1 abandoned.

In world cups, India have a hundred percent 4-0 over Pakistan!

1) 1992 - India was all but out of the world cup by the time they faced Pakistan. Pakistan on the other hand were clutching on by the finger nails. Famously bowled out for 74 by England before rain came to their rescue to keep their world cup hopes alive! India won the toss and put up a fighting 216 on the board. The top scorer? .......surprise surprise......SACHN TENDULKAR! Amazing that, I randomly pick out a match some 20 years back, look for the top scorer......and there he is again! Unbelievable......Pakistan were bowled out for 173.....this being the highlight

......yeh dil maange (monkey?) more (kiran?)

2) 1996 - A high-voltage encounter. India won the toss and decided to bat at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Banglore. There was already some controversy to this game even before it started. Akram declaring himself "unfit". India rode on Sidhu's 93, and Jadeja's blitzkrieg 45 off 25 to lift India to 288, last 3 overs yielding almost 50 runs. Pakistani openers was looking to make lightwork of the target. Anwar and Sohail were unstoppable. The highlight?

3) 1999
The circumstances were similar to the 1992. Pakistan was almost through to the semis and India was all but out. But the stakes were high. Edgbaston was full off people waving the tri-color and indeed the Paki flag. India made 227. Pakistan was bowled out for 170 odd, Prasad picking five wickets again. The highlight - Sachin's pull off Shoaib(prabably at his fastest at that time) through mid-wicket for a boundary!

4) 2003
India was through to the super 6 this time and Pakistan had to beat India to stay alive. They made 274, India's nemesis Anwar scoring another century. The atmosphere at Centurion was electric and Pakistan were charged. But so was another certain Tendulkar for India. (who admitted later he had some sleepless nights preparing for this game). Sachin cut Shoaib for 6, then clipped him through square leg for 4 and then played his signature on-drive for 4 to remove Shoaib from the attack after just one over. This set the tone for India's innings and reached the target with ease in the end. Sachin scored 98 off 75 balls......

5) 2011?

Got this forward.......

AFRIDI :- Hum Sachin ko kisi bhi haal me century ki century nahi banane denge.
SHOAIB :- Magar hum use rokenge kaise..?? Wo to Gajab ki form main hai....

AFRIDI :- Hum 100 ke andar All Out ho jayenge....!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Almost the perfect recipe

250-260 pitch
2 spinners
Ashwin in
Raina in
......that was almost the perfect recipe for India. It is our home ground. So, it is not, by any means, illegal or unsporting to make pitches that suit us. Featherbeds donot suit us, neither do green tops. I am not saying we cant win on those pitches. But the Mortera wicket was ideal for us against Australia. It is the ideal wicket for us to play against most teams except for may be SriLanka. Should we meet the islanders in Mumbai, a green top may be the order of the day for us.

Indian bowling is badly exposed on featherbeds and this was brilliant from the Indian thinktank (if indeed they asked the curator to prepare this kind of wicket). Playing 2 spinners, playing Raina for Yusuf(as we were not able to bat 50 overs in previous games) were again good decisions. The only worry now for India is Munaf Patel. Did we really need him? I guess, the answer was no today.

But looking ahead to the Pak game, the Mohali pitch has traditionally has had something in it for the quicks and we will need Munaf there (though there is still some doubt if he qualifies as a 'quick'!!) Quite ironic, if you think that a few years back he was India's fastest bowler!! (
The reason Munaf is playing is that he is more economical than Sreesanth and Nehra. He was our 4 bowler today, bowled 7 overs for 44 runs without picking up a wicket. In the Windies game he was our fifth bowler, and bowled 5 overs. Now I would assume that the logic behind not playing Sreesanth is that we can't rely on him completing his 10 overs, given his erratic nature (of bowling!). But between these, Sreesanth is definitely more of a wicket taker. He is more likely to produce the 'magic ball' to give us the break through. So, if Munaf is only bowling 5 over spells, why not play Sreesanth?? That is something for Kirsten, Dhoni and co to think about.

Everything else looks good for us. I cannot see Pakistan defeating us. I know the "" but Paki batting is too weak.

Kamran Akmal, Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah, Umar Akmal, Afridi, Razzaq. I really cant see this batting line-up score more than 250 consistently. Umar Gul is their only bowler that will really concern India. I cannot see Afridi picking easy wickets against our batting the way he has against the likes of WIndies, Canada and Kenya.

Unless something dramatic happens, India should beat Pakistan pretty comfortably........

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When Wallace was the menace

The last time Pakistan and West Indies played in a major trophy in Bangladesh was way back in 1998, in the champions trophy quarter final.

Pakistan were the favorites. But there was a West Indian batsman who had some plans of his own. Nope, it was not Lara. It was the burly West Indies opener Philo Wallace. The Barbadian went barbaric and smashed the likes of Wasim Akram, Azhar Mahmood and Saqlain all over the park after Lara won the toss and elected to bat. By the time he was run out, he had scored 79 off 58 balls and West Indies' run-rate was over 7 after 20 overs. Despite a mini-collapse, Shiv (the only member from that game in the current squad) made sure that West Indies reach a more than respectable 289. A total which could have been much more, given the start. Pakistan were never in the hunt even though the margin of victory was only 30 runs for the Windies.

Philo Wallace then smashed India in the semi-final for a quickfire 50 starting with a first-ball six of Srinath. In the final, he hit South Africa for a 103 off 102 balls. Quite ironic that he just disappeared from the international scene after that and hence not many remember him.

West Indies will want Gayle to do a Wallace and pray to Shiv to provide the calming influence he did some 13 years back!

Monday, March 14, 2011

CRicket World Cup 2011 and India

Well, the India-South Africa match a classic for a neutral, but for an Indian fan it was a horrible memory which needs to be erased with a good performance against WI.

One of the best things about the match from the Indian perspective was the message from the skipper to his team at the post-match conference. He said it twice.

We should play for the country and not for the crowds

Which is why Dhoni's 12 off 21 balls may have received a lot of flak from a lot of crowd, but that was what was required at the time. To not bat 50 overs was criminal. And had India won the game from there, it would have put paper on lot of cracks. So, even though there is a slight chance of India being knocked out before the qrtrs, I think this is a good kick on the backside of this Indian team and I am hopeful they will revive their performance against the West Indies.

1) One HUGE question is when the batting powerplay needs to be taken? and more importantly how we approach it?
a) Take it from overs 16-20, especially in the situation that we were in the SA match. Sehwag and Sachin were butchering the SA attack. So why not
b) Second option is take it from overs 46-50. So even if we commit hara-kiri like the SA match it would not ahve as drastic as effect as it did when we took at around the 38 over mark.

But most importantly, its not when you take it, but how you bat in the PP.
It does not matter when you take it, 5 overs 29 for 4 is not something we can afford in any 5-over period of a 50 over game.

2) 2nd seamer and 3rd bowler
India would be better off preparing spin-friendly pitches and going in with 2 seamer + 2 spinner combo. (Nehra + Munaf) is a very weak combination. We cannot play both in the same match. Both are decent bowlers, who have performed reasonably well over the last few months. But both are ordinary fielders a can barely hold the bat. We do not have the bowling attack which can restrict batsmen on featherbeds like the one in Nagpur. So why dont we take the home advantage? Lets prepare 250-260 wickets and get our spinners into action.

The WIndies are loaded with lefties (Gayle, Devon Smith, Chanderpaul and the "Lara-clone" Dwayne Bravo). I am almost certain that Aswhin will play this game, which would mean either Nehra or Munaf will make way.

While India are top of the pool and almost assured of a place in the qrters, there is still a chance that they can go out.

These are the games that remain in our pool:

1) West Indies vs England
2) Ire VS SA
3) Ban vs SA
4) India vs West Indies

Ind are on 7 points from 5 games (1 to play)
WI are on 6 points from 4 games (2 to play)
SA are on 6 points from 4 games (2 to play)
Ban are on 6 points from 5 games(1 to play)
Eng are on 5 points from 54 games(1 to play)

For India to go out, the following has to happen

WI loses to Eng
SA beats Ireland (which is a given)
Ban beats SA
India loses to WI

Point to note is that when SA plays Ban they would have already qualified (assuming they would have beaten Ireland by then). So there is a good chance they will give the likes of Kallis and Steyn a break. That gives Ban all the more opportunity to cause an upset with the crowd behind them.

By the time, India plays WI, all the other matches would have been played.
Either way, they must have all bases covered, "Be Men" and "Do the right things"!!