Any dry throats and thumping hearbeats at the start of the game became dryer and thumpier as Rohit left early. With that, the game was afoot, as Holmes used to say, or so we are told by Conan Doyle. This was the other marquee matchup in Pool B, ranking in importance second only to the Ind v Pak affair. ( for Indians and Pakistanis anyway..)
Rohit: wasn’t there much. So far in CWC15 he hasn’t really been around.
Dhawan: The name now is Shikadawan. One word. He rode his luck, and rode out into the sunset with a 137 to his name. Held himself together, stuck it out and found 5th gear right when he reached the open highway.
Kohli: Played fluently and picked off the runs with Shikadawan. He hit the right shot to a rank long hop from Tahir and failed to keep it down despite his best intention.
Rahane: How underrated is this guy? When you compare the stuff written about him to the reams of prose on Rohit, one begins to wonder if cricket journalists and critics really know what they are talking about and whether we should continue to read them. However, you’re reading this, so one assumes that you read critics, even armchair ones from cold Canada. Therefore, you’re either gullible or starved of cricket posts or just starved of cricket anything. He should always play at #4. When he’s not taking Rohit’s place at #1, that is.
The rest: failed to push things along. At this point the plan to hold wickets in hand for the final push hasn’t really been a resounding success. Maybe the drop in pitches don’t allow cold batsman to hit hot shots. (Digression Alert: Must we hear about “drop in pitches” every 5 minutes from the commentators? We got it! These are drop in pitches! ) It is still not a bad plan and it has helped get 300+ each time. And as the experts keep telling us (and I agree, said so before the tournament started ), 300 is the new 250.
South African bowling:
Steyn: Surprised he opened with Philander instead of Morkel. Didn’t really do too much but is too good a bowler to be trifled with. 7/10.
Philander: was mothballed after 4 overs. Would have been interesting to see how the Indian batting handled him.
Morkel: Not a good day for him. Was erratic with his line. Still not as bad as
Parnell: was all over the place. Ended up being criticized by the captain.
Duminy: For some reason, India has struggled with offspinners and thus Duminy was allowed to bowl with more freedom that I think he deserved.
Tahir: Not sure why they said he bowled well. I didn’t see him spin the ball, bowl a googly and tease anyone with flight. He got Virat with a long hop. Shane Warne said he’s a good bowler, so I suppose we’ll have to believe him. I remain unconvinced. He has a Test bowling average of 46.39 and a Strike Rate of 78.0. On the other hand in ODIs, he bowls at 20.28 runs per wicket and takes a wicket every 27.7 balls. One presumes, in ODIs the batsmen’s eyes light up when he shows up to bowl and they make silly mistakes. He’s played in about a gazillion teams which tells it own story. Whatever!
South African fielding was ungodlike, with 2 spilled chances. Despite the runouts, the high standards set by them were not maintained and they paid the price for it.
South African batting:
Amla: Was strangely lacklustre and failed to look like he normally does. It seemed that the usual refined silk had been replaced by raw silk. Didn’t last long, holing out to long leg.
De Kock: Has he been thrust into the limelight too early? He did not look comfortable at all before he left.
duPlessis: was scratchy to start with, never really convinced, but ground it out. Then he threw it all away.
AB: like Faf, he did not fully settle down, but was starting to when he was hoist by his own petard. Run out, brilliantly from the deep.
The rest: If there is a top team with a tail longer than India’s, it has to be South Africa. Parnell tried to keep it together, but lacked any support or fight from his buddies as wickets fell in a cluster. 6-44, to be precise.
Yadav: He needs to find a way to be more economical. Put up some good speeds, but is not taking wickets and giving away too many runs. Some adjustments are necessary, methinks.
Shami: I must confess, I was not impressed with the way he bowled in the Tests against Australia. He looked tight and strung out. In the 2 ODIs so far he’s looked more relaxed and has been troublesome for the batsmen.
Mohit: A strange galloping run brings him to the crease, he is not as quick as the other two, but he does bowl it straight and true. A good supporting first change effort. He was very good in the field, too.
Jadeja: His job is to keep everything nice and tidy and he did that quite well and picked up 2 wickets as well.
Ashwin: He’s changed a bit since I saw him. It would appear that India erred by not trying him out in the Tests against Australia from the outset. He would have bolstered the batting a bit and kept the batsman against him thinking.
India were tight in the field and the 2 run outs were the result of that effort. Far too often Indian teams have let it slip away and drift, but MSD seems to have found a new resolve and new faith for he kept the pressure up till the end.
India are almost sure of the QuaterFinals now. Of the rest of the matches, Ireland would seem to be the biggest challenge now that Pakistan and South Africa are done and dusted.