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Soccer style bowl-out in cricket and Chak de India!
by NT Shiv Kumar
Sep 14, 2007
For the avid students of India-Pakistan cricket history, today’s contest was a grand throwback to the Sharjah thrillers of the 80’s and early 90’s –fluctuating fortunes, rabble-rousing cheering, high voltage action but an unusual climax. It was not the typical ‘well fought, bad luck’ story for the Indians-this time around, with Chak de India on their lips, they defied history at the Kingsmead, Durban!

The Dhoni brigade gave Indian fans much cheer that should last till the next World Cup. This was the ‘mother’ of all matches, an absolute must-win even if they ended up not winning the Cup- India pulled off a tie from the jaws of Agarkar-inspired defeat and then smiled their way to knock the stumps and their arch rivals out in the soccer style ‘bowl-out’. The swing and seam that had earlier aided Pakistan bowlers in stalling India’s batting ultimately betrayed them during the ‘bowl out’- their fast bowlers missed the stumps as the ball seamed away and Afridi chucked one down the leg to make it a hat trick of misses. It was ‘chuck de Pakistan’ written all over the face of a very ‘neutral’ Rameez Raja anchoring the coverage of those tense moments in the end.

The men in blue triumphed in the battle of nerves and it was a refreshing change seeing them sparkling with bright colors. Uthappa yet again showcased his enormous talent with an intelligently powered fifty, Pathan had a fairytale comeback, Harbhajan bowled with lot of smarts, Dhoni ‘kept’ his cool and Sreesanth’s billion prayers to zillion gods while bowling stood him in good stead atleast on the last two balls of the final over.

So what next? India take on England, New Zealand and South Africa in the Super 8 stage and should have one common theme to outwit them- that is spin them out of the game. All three teams have familiar blind spots against quality spin and after seeing Harbhajan’s renewed sense of purpose today, it may not be a bad ploy to have Sehwag and Chawla chip in with a few overs as well- after all, they cant go for more runs than Agarkar and in the bargain they could end up getting crucial wickets.

In the passing, I couldn’t help but chuckle on the thought of todays win heralding the transition of Indian Cricket from the demure Dravid era to the razz-matazz of Dhoni ‘Dhamaka’!
 
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