15 September 2007


Last night, there was a chance that the last fifteen minutes spoilt what was forty overs of riveting, edge-of-the-seat stuff. We could've done without the comical bowlout, especially since there was no need for it, given that both teams had found themselves in the next round. Quite foolish, especially when cricket fans have lived with the idea that it is possible for a cricket match to not have a winner, for more than a century. By all means, please devise a method to decide crucial knock-out encounters that end in a tie, and perhaps a bowlout might actually be the fairest that the imaginative administrators could think of - so let it be.

This match had as many twists and turns as a compelling Test match - all rolled into three hours, and proved the conventional wisdom that the best cricket is played on tracks with a little in it for the bowlers - no matter which form of the game it is. What this match has also done is that it has ensured that the most financially important fan bases for the game at the moment, are hooked on to the shortened version - for life, perhaps. The match had everything you may expect from a classic India-Pakistan encounter. Poor top-order batting against good guality swing and seam, excellent rearguards from both teams, bowlers losing their cool and some bowlers keeping their cool.

Asif, Pathan, Arpee, Sohail Tanvir, Harbhajan, Sreesanth, Uthappa, Misbah, Dhoni - all put their hands up at different points in the match, and both teams fielded a couple of notches above what we have seen them do in recent times. The biggest plus for India however, was undoubtedly the relaxed return of Irfan Pathan, and credit to Dhoni for handling the situation well.