South Africa vs India Group match was termed as the match of the tournament. India were historically on the backfoot. Yet, the great opening duo and Gambhir crushed one of the best bowling attack of the tournament. Yet later 9 wickets fell for 30 runs on a batsmen-friendly pitch. Would batting department be considered a concern now!!
In the battle between Steyn, Morkel and co vs Sachin, Sehwag led strongest batting unit of the tournmanet, Dhoni won the toss and the top order celebrated the decision hitting the bowlers all over the park. They created the record of highest runs during mandatory powerplay scoring 87 runs without losing a wicket in first 10 overs. Sehwag and Tendulkar continued the onslaught adding 142 runs in less than 18 overs.
Sehwag fell, but Gambhir more than fulfilled his place. Tendulkar continued the devastating attack which saw him scoring 111 runs in just 101 balls, hitting 3rd fastet 50 of the tournament on the way and hitting 3 sixes too with 8 fours. In the company of Gambhir, the Maestro added 125 runs for 1st wicket. They were scoring at a healthy run rate of more than 6 an over with the strong batting line-up to follow on the batsmen-friendly track.
Yet, in the battle of two powerful teams, twists must happen. So the powerplay was taken by India from 39-43 overs, and it changed the direction of match. India lost 5 wickets and scored just 40 runs in the 5 overs of powerplay. Before powerplay they were well set for 400 runs, after powerplay it was a matter of somehow completing 300 runs, which ultimately they could not as 9 wickets fell for 30 runs and with 8 balls remaining.
Steyn with 5 wickets had the last laugh or not can be judged by the result of the match. Pundits said chasing 350 is not difficult on the Nagpur track. So chasing 297 should not be difficult at all, considering India’s poor bowling performance consistently and good batting line-up of South Africa. But how did the great batting collapse happen!!
Great Indian Collapse
First Tendulkar went, mistiming a shot during the first over of powerplay. He could not be blamed at all for that. Then Gambhir went in next over after scoring 69 runs in 75 balls when Kallis took a good catch. But what happened after that!!
The big hitter Pathan came and wanted to hit Steyn out of park on the first ball he faced from him. A good catch by Smith saw him returning to pavillion without opening his account. It can be said he was there for using power play. Well, was it the last ball of the powerplay!!
Yuvraj Singh on the other end showed his form of last three innings where he had hit three consecutive 50s. But on the last ball of powerplay he also went. Kohli appeared out of place. Appears after his first match century he has forgotten that Raina is warming the bench and waiting to replace anyone.
All wanted to score faster and accelerate the run rate faster than existing 6-plus. But they failed. After that Dhoni was left in the company of tailenders. Self-claimed Harbhajan could not connect and got frustrated. Steny reduced his agony by disturbing his wickets.
Everyone thought that in remainign 7 overs Dhoni could show some old magic. After all for nothing Dhoni is the highest scorer at Nagpur ground when he scored 124 there. Alas!! He wanted to give batting practice to his tailenders. With Steyn being in no mood of giving any reprieve all tailenders succumbed before the last over. Probably Dhoni was waiting for the last over to hit 6 sixes. That is why he was taking singles and allowing tailenders to face Steyn and co, against whom even the top order batsmen have struggled historically.
Dhoni should thank his stars that he is the captain (successful too), otherwise he would have been the first choice for a replacement of Raina. Yet the batting collapse may finally see Raina in the team against West Indies. Who will go!! It can be someone between Kohli and Pathan. Probably Kohli fits the bill right now.