Note: This is an observational piece written through the eyes of a cricket novice. A coffee cup in hand and surrounded by cricket fanatics, I decided to give this novice a penny for her thoughts.
What was your reaction when India won the match against Afghanistan? Did you also feel happy with a lot of uncertainty gushing in as well? Certainly, there is no need to make an imaginary divide between the contesting teams, by deeming any contingent as a weak one and the other as strong; especially, after what we saw on Wednesday. Considering that Afghanistan has been a politically volatile country for a while, nevertheless, their team did not leave any stone unturned in mounting a spectacular challenge.
Any regular viewer would not be slow in concluding that India’s practice match with Pakistan was quite a giveaway as far as their preparedness is concerned. The Afghanistan players were quick to conclude that the Indian bowling line was fragile to the willow. On winning the toss, Nawroz Mangal chose to bowl saying that he was confident of his batting order. Soon after, the results were visible; even after having to play their first match with India, Mangal’s team did not show any signs of apprehension. Their ace bowler, Shapoor Zadran dismissed Gautam Gambhir and Virendra Sehwag early into the game.
Just when things were getting out of hand, Virat Kohli came to the rescue, making his first half-century of the series; Yuvraj Singh came in to give him a hand but failed to hang back. Then towards the end Suresh Raina added some crucial improvements on to the scoreboard; while captain Dhoni’s contribution in the last over insured ten more runs in our favour. Although, if Afghanistan had paid more attention to their fielding, then neither Kohli nor Raina would have been able to prolong their innings.
Yes, that leaves us with a sumptuous argument, has Dhoni made the right decision by shuffling between only four bowlers? I am of the opinion that a fifth option would not be a bad idea; since we have a star-studded batting order. As of now Yuvraj Singh’s bowling has been doing the magic but he can’t keep the opponents at bay all alone; probably the fifth bowler could make up for Zaheer Khan’s frosty period.