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Aussie Muscles Flexed by Indian Nerves
by NT Shiv Kumar
Sep 23, 2007
Kingsmead, Durban looked more like the Eden Gardens, Kolkotta today and the Indian juggernaut rolled like Ponting’s winning streaks of the last two World Cups- it was utterly surreal, this amazing afternoon of electrifying action from the young turks of Indian Cricket who did everything magical, including winning the toss, to pull off a sensational win to reach the ‘Siachen’ summit of this tournament, with Pakistan waiting at the Wonderers for the gold and glory on Monday!

The script could not have been better for India than what they reckoned as the fairy tale winning formula-bat first, go north of 180 and get Gilchrist fast-they did all that well but Hayden’s muscles and Symonds’s monstrous hoicks almost took the game away before a spark of genius from Dhoni got Sreesanth to start the Aussie apocalypse. Hayden was castled by a beauty from that maverick Sreesanth, whose innate bowling skills get lost in his histrionics, and India just got the opening they needed to make a dent. Pathan dented Symonds’s cut and Harbhajan yorked Clarke to paste the gloom on Aussie dugout. Hussey was no Bevan this time, Haddin turned a rabbit and Joginder Sharma had at last reasons to smile. Dhoni marshaled his limited bowling options brilliantly in the most crucial overs –17,18,19- yet again demonstrating his tactically astute cricketing brain and in the end it was the unusual scene of blue triumphing over the golden yellow!

Earlier in the game, Yuvraj got into top gear right from the get go and blazed his way seeing Stuart Broad in all the Aussie bowlers- Lee was flicked for the longest six of the tournament and Symonds was dispatched faster than his throws. He and Uthappa emblazoned the Indian challenge with top quality power hitting after the initial hiccup that saw Sehwag’s swing and snick routine and Gambhir’s brave slogs blunted abruptly. Dhoni provided the flourish at the end to post a total that was formidable enough for the Aussies to come out all guns blazing. India had its tail up when Sreesanth got Gilly and with no Ponting, one felt India was in with a real chance unless they bowled smoking. They didn’t bowl or field as brilliantly as they did the other night against the Proteas but they sure held their nerves during the tense passage of play between the 10 th and 16 th overs and did not succumb to the old habits of shoulders drooping.

The post match conference was as exhilarating as the match itself- Dhoni said it was a team effort with no ‘super stars’ in the ranks, lauded Joginder for coming thru despite team management’s implicit preference for Agarkar and thundered that the dressing room was the best he has ever seen in the recent times.

Should India end up winning this WC, it will be one heck of a huge endorsement to Greg’s ‘young legs’ philosophy, so sadly ambushed by the murky world of advertising revenues and the ‘seniors mafia’!

More Views by NT Shiv Kumar
  Sehwag sizzler rocks Chennai
  India unearth ABC down under - Agility, Bench Strength, Cerebral Approach
  Dhoni says no to old age home, prefers young legs
  Opener Dravid crucial for India’s game plan
  Aussie Muscles Flexed by Indian Nerves
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