India’s semifinal against Pakistan was touted as another battle between best batting versus best bowling (spin) attack of the tournament. And again, as it happened against Australia in the same type of battle, Indian strong batting line up crumbled. Tendulkar and Sehwag were again the tormentors of Pakistan, with timely valuable contribution from Raina.
Since 1992 it has been the same story for India. Tendulkar has been the best bet against Pakistan, and except some exceptions such as Sidhu in 1996 and Yuvraj in 2003, with the help of bowling, India has defeated Pakistan. Again the same story was repeated in 2011 World Cup.
Tendulkar the Backbone
Tendulkar like always was again the backbone of India’s decent score. From 1992 till 2011, he has done it again and again. In last four matches in World Cup against Pakistan, he has scored two half-centuries and earned player of the match award twice leading India to win. Today, again, after Sehwag’s entertainment for 5 overs, he was the only player battling the odds.
Yuvraj and Gambhir’s Poor Performance Against Pak continues
Yuvraj and Gambhir failed again against Pakistan. Yuvraj had a good knock of undefeated 50 against Pakistan in 2003 World Cup. Yet, overall his failure against Pakistan is startling. Even the reborned Yuvraj Singh of 2011 World Cup could not do anything, and went on golden duck, on the first ball. Gambhir has looked patchy throughout the series, but Yuvraj’s performance promised a good score, yet the script remained the same.
Kohli and Dhoni Kept Finding their Form
Kohli hit century against Bangladesh and then a patchy half-century against Australia. Besides that he has been struggling, and the future star of India lost the mental battle. Dhoni, on the other hand, is the only Indian batsmen besides Sehwag who has good average against Pakistan. But, his poor batting form contributed to yet another quick demise. He is surely going Ganguly’s way now.
Sehwag’s start to the inning was like thunder without showers. In 25 balls he scored 38 runs, targetting Pakistan’s key bowler Umar Gul. It was inspiration for Indians and depressing for Pakistanis, when Sehwag led India approached 50 with 8 runs an over run rate. But, unfortunately it was not prolonged. Just when it appeared that thunder can turn into showers, the Wahab Riaz wind of the day sent the Sehwag cloud back to pavillion.
Raina the Gem
Suresh Raina is one of the best ODI player for India. TOday, again it was proved why. He continued his good form from the crunch match of quarterfinals against Australia to nerve-wrecking semifinal against Pakistan. Without losing his calm, knowing he was the only person who could make India bat 50 overs and hitting sixes might reduce his chances of doing the job for India, he scored with pesky rate, slogging when he could sense the right opportunity, he took India to 260 from a position where it appeared 225 would be too much to ask for.
Raina made the difference here also. From 45-49 overs India opted for Powerplay. They only lost the wicket of Harbhajan and scored more than 35 runs, India’s 2nd best powerplay score after the match against Bangladesh.