India vs Australia: Finally India finds the Fire to Win
Every Indian cricket fan is ecstatic at the moment as India defeated Australia last night quite convincingly. It was a sweet revenge for the Team India. Indian fans were reminded of the heartbreaking moments after the 2003 World Cup Final. Yesterday’s win marked the end of the era of Australian dominance more so by registering the thumping win that will create fear among other ‘favorites’ of the cup. There was quite a few changes that was visible in the Indian team’s performance yesterday. Indian team was due for a convincing win and they finally reached their potential.
Throughout the group stage, India’s performance never instill the confidence among the fans that it could win the cup. Tie against England and loss against South Africa and the circumstances that led these results showed the team in the bad light. Even the wins against the minnows weren’t convincing too. The team was winning but that fire that frightens the opponents was clearly missing. The team never lacked the talent but thanks to the lack of that ‘fire’, sometimes due to wrong team combination and many times due to lack of back up plans, the team never looked like a ‘clear’ favorite.
The Indian performance was uninspiring and it started creating more questions than giving answers. But yesterday’s performance was of a different level. The team had got the perfect team combination. Before the match, I had wrote a post mentioning some of the strategy that India should adopt. Thankfully, India had adopted most of them namely preferring Raina over Yusuf, going in with Ashwin and a 2+2 bowling attack. Luckily, India needn’t face the dilemma of when to take the batting powerplay as their job was almost over by 45 overs when India decided to take the powerplay. India’s fielding too was astonishingly improved. While inclusion of Raina in the team ensures one more sharp fielder inside the ring along with Kohli and Yuvraj, even the fielding along the boundary line was much better yesterday. With all positive things happening for the team, it recorded a clinical victory. Limiting Australian innings 20-30 runs short and then chase down the 261 runs score on a slow and turning wicket professionally: Indian boys deserve all the credit.
Among all, Yuvraj deserve more praise than others. Few days ago, Yuvraj’s place in the team was not certain. Fans weren’t happy with Yuvraj’s performances. Even Yuvraj has admitted that he thought of leaving the game last year. But what a turn around! Yuvraj is having a dream tournament with the bat and ball. Match after match, he has been giving match winning performances consistently and winning the Man of the Match awards. Yuvraj is now key to this team and a lot will depend on Yuvi when India meets Pakistan in the semi final.
On the 30th March, India faces the Pakistan in the semifinal. That will certainly be a cracker of a match. It won’t be surprising if there is un-announced ‘Bharat Bandh’ on that day. Roads will be deserted, offices will remain vacant and colleges will see very low attendance. The mouth watering prospect of India fighting its traditional opponent Pakistan is enough to declare the 30th as national holiday. Keeping the jokes apart, the match will certainly give quality entertainment. Importantly, the match is a knock out and the winner will go to the Final of the tournament. It will be highly important for India to continue its good performance. With spinning tracks in the sub-continent, the importance of spinners in this world cup is well known. Traditionally, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the spin super house. This time South Africa has a good spin attack. As India faces a prominent spin power of Pakistan (powered by Shahid Afridi), it will be interesting how India resists the Pak attack. On the other hand, Pakistan’s fragile batting will be tested against Indian bowling. India has always beaten Pakistan in the World cup. Let’s hope the trend continues. It will depend on if India can keep the new found ‘fire to win’ alive.