" Cricket Etcetera was voted as the Best Cricket Blog by Google during the World Cup 2007 "

Saturday, September 22, 2007

World Twenty20: It's a India vs Pakistan final

It was the expected thing in the 1987 Reliance World Cup, but didn't happen as England and Australia spoiled the fun at the penultimate juncture. Twenty years later in the Twenty20 Cup, with both India and Pakistan fielding young teams and new captains at the helm, no one expected the sub-continent arch-rivals to reach this far. But then cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties, ain't it?
In the first semi-final of the inaugural World Twenty20 championship, New Zealand took on Pakistan at Capetown. Daniel Vettori won the toss and asked Pakistan to make first use of the wicket which promised some movement and early help for the faster bowlers. Shane Bond got into the act in the first over itself scalping opener Imran Nazir ever before the young man had opened his account. But from there on it was Pakistan all the way as they thrased the Kiwi attack all round the park. Even Vettori, who has had a most economical series so far was not spared. The hapless NewZealand captain was taken for 24 runs in his final over as Shahid Afridi just missed breaking Yuvraj Singh's record of T20's fastest fifty. Afridi was finally dismissed for 49 off just 10 balls. (for the video of Afridi's 8 consecutive sixes, click here :)) .

Chasing a mammoth target of 222, NZ got off to a blistering start reaching 75 in just 5.0 overs. It was the brilliant change of attack from the Pakistan captain that changed the tide of the game completely - in the 6th over, Malik brought on himself even though the fielding restrictions were still on and in the 7th over, a double change happened as spin was introduced from the other end as well, in the form of Afridi. Malik and Afridi bowled in tandem right from the 6th to the 13th over - and what a spell it was! Many many years from now, cricket fans would still remember this afternoon in Capetown when two Pakistani spinners mesmerized the Kiwis into abject surrender.
Not a single wicket fell in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th overs but the Kiwis were in deep tangle as the scorecard read 80/0. Just five runs were scored off the last five overs and the asking rate had climbed to a steep 14.20. Under intense pressure to get going, one after the other NZ batsmen threw away their wickets and by the time the two spinners had finished their quota of overs, the match was for all purposes over. The scorecard read 92/7 at the end of over no.13 . Pakistan finally won the match by 92 runs to reach the final.

In the other semi-final at Durban, Australia who chose to bat first were dismissed for all of 43 runs. Ajit Agarkar who once again managed to find a place in the India XI wreaked havoc on the Aussies as he dismissed Gilchrist, Hayden, Symonds, Hussey, Hodge, Clarke and Watson. He finished with figures of 3.5-0-21-7 . India rattled off the required 44 runs without the loss of any wickets. Speaking at the post-match conference, Adam Gilchrist said, "It was the most humiliating day of my life." (Gilchrist was out hit-wicket as a squash ball fell onto his stumps :) )

Gilchrist embarassed as squash ball falls onto his stumps

No comments: