It was one of the days when “nothing really worked” said Dhoni at the post match presentation. He was being too mild in his criticism if i can say that towards team INDIA’s lackluster performance against West Indies. It’s unlike the younger Dhoni who used to speak his mind in his hay days. India by virtue of being the champions in 2007 had been placed in an easier group and didn’t have to sweat it out to reach the super eight stage whereas Wes Indies were in the group of death and managed to beat Australia convincingly to enter the super eights.
You could say the lack of tougher teams to face in the initial stages has done India more harm than good. Whatever be the reason that is either cited by the captain or the coach , the thousands of fans who had come to the Lords, Mecca of cricket to see their team perform and perform well had to return disappointed. Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat which has been his strategy so far, might have to rethink after today’s loss. When Sehwag was ruled out of the T20 WC there were questions raised as to how it would affect India’s chances to regain the WC. But the make shift opening pair in Rohit and Gambhir had been working well but when it came to the big match they stumbled. The pace of Edwards caught them unawares as both of them got out trying to pull. Dhoni who had been coming in at No 3 decided to send Raina in at the fall of Rohit and he didn’t do much and edged one to the wicket keeper who took a well judged catch. India were struggling at 29/3 in 4.2. Photos
Yuvraj and Dhoni had to do the rescuing act. Yuvraj was timing the ball well but only for singles. Dhoni was neither timing the ball well nor was he taking any singles. He struggled to get the ball past the fielders. He managed only 11 of 23 before holding out to Simmons of Bravo. Simmons was absolutely brilliant in the field taking 3 catches of which Gambhir’s was spectacular where he had to run backward and take it. Yusuf Pathan joined Yuvraj. The score was just 66/4 in 12.1 and needed some acceleration. Yuvraj finally decided enough is enough and started playing his big booming drives and his flicks one of which went for a 6. Yusuf pathan too gave a good supporting hand to Yuvraj and they got the scoreboard moving. It was looking dangerous for the West Indies with Yuvraj in sublime form and the score 130 with 14 more balls remaining. Edwards who started the slump again got the crucial wicket of Yuvraj who made a wonderful 67 of 43 balls. The last over from Bravo began well when he bowled Yusuf with a slower one and 2 balls later had his younger brother caught by Simmons. Harbhajan came in and spoilt the over with 3 consecutive boundaries which helped India reach a total of 153. Photos
The total of 153 seemed eminently defendable when India’s bowlers snuffed out the threat posed by Chris Gayle. They tied him down, allowing him only 22 runs off 28 balls, and he eventually top-edged Yusuf towards short fine leg. However, India could not take it easy as they had pushed Sri Lanka in their group match at Trent Bridge without Gayle. Bravo led the charge in that game but couldn’t take his team to the top of the group. Today he saw West Indies through to the finish. Photos
Bravo, with his footwork and penchant for the inside-out loft over extra cover, countered India’s spinners. He scored 48 runs off 28 balls against Yusuf, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, ensuring the asking-rate never got out of hand. He even prospered against Ishant Sharma, who has found rhythm operating with the older ball, scoring at a strike-rate of 183 against him. Photos
“Bravo was milking the bowlers and he got quite a few boundaries in the middle overs,” Dhoni said. “He played shots over covers and through midwicket and you can’t really have fielders there. We were able to raise the required run rate close to 10 runs per over, we were good at that but he took the game away from us.” Photos
Interestingly, this was the first meeting between the two sides at the historic Lord’s in 26 years. The last match between India and the West Indies at the venue was the 1983 World Cup final, which India won to claim its first and only 50-over World Cup title.Watching the proceedings from Lord’s gallery was batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar with wife Anjali and son Arjun. The ace batsman, who made himself unavailable for national Twenty20 selection so as not to upset the team’s winning combination, released Tendulkar Opus, an 800-page coffee table book, on Thursday.
However West Indies’ seven-wicket victory has left India in a precarious position. They now need to win both their games against England and South Africa to qualify for the semi-finals. Coincidentally, they were in the same position against the same opponents two years against in South Africa. Hope they pull up their socks and do it again for the billion fans 🙂 photos
Man of the Match : Dwayne Bravo