World Cup 2011 – And Then There Was An Eruption!




Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar

49.5 – Zaheer to Misbah Ul Haq – Misbah hits it miles up in the air, almost into orbit! But as the ball comes down, Kohli’s under it and he pouches the catch safely! And then there was an eruption!

The World Cup of 2011 continued to amaze and thrill and keep you hooked to the edge of your seats as the Asian giants, India and Pakistan, added yet another epic chapter to their rivalry in the second semifinal held at the PCA Stadium, Mohali. The end result may show India victorious by 29 runs but the match was much closer than what the scoresheet showed. The game was Pakistan’s to lose after they had restricted India to 260 and had got off to 70/1 at the end of the 15th over. But an amazing turnaround by the Indian bowlers and inexperience of the Pakistani batsmen meant that Pakistan fell short of the finish line by quite a distance.

The thunderstorms had disappeared with the night and a sunny day of cricket was in the offing as MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to make first use of the conditions. Pakistan went in with an unchanged team whereas India surprisingly left out Ashwin for the erratic Nehra. Sehwag, in typical fashion got India off to a flying start and although his stay lasted only 25 balls, he cracked nine boundaries – including five of an Umar Gul over – before being trapped in front by Wahab Riaz. Sachin and Gambhir ensured that the runs didn’t dry up after Sehwag’s dismissal as they kept the scoreboard ticking as India reached 73 by the end of the mandatory Powerplay.

The introduction of spin in the form of Ajmal brought back things under control as Sachin survived a close appeal for leg before and a stumping of two consecutive balls. Misbah then dropped Sachin at midwicket of Afridi as the pressure continued to build on the Indian batsmen. Gambhir was deceived in flight by Hafeez resulting in an easy stumping for Kamran. Kohli added 9 before Riaz struck again. Riaz then continued his impressive spell as he bowled Yuvraj with a perfect yorker first up! India had slumped from 116/1 to 141/4. Tendulkar, on the other hand, continued to live dangerously as Younis and Kamran spilled a few more chances. He got another reprieve as he brought up his 96th ODI fifty and looked good to get to a ton before Afridi finally caught him at short cover for 85. Dhoni struggled to get 22 runs before he was dismissed by Riaz. Raina added a valuable 36 runs in the company of Harbhajan and Zaheer as India finished their innings at 260/9 with Riaz getting his maiden five wicket haul.

The Pakistani openers started off in an aggressive fashion as they took 17 runs of two overs from Zaheer Khan. Munaf Patel’s introduction into the attack cooled down things a bit but Hafeez ensured that the run rate never slipped up. Zaheer came back to bowl in the ninth over and he was rewarded immediately with the wicket of Kamran Akmal. This put a brake on the run rate and pressure got to Hafeez who got out trying to sweep Munaf Patel. Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan hung around a while as Yuvraj castled Shafiq while Younis got out trying to chip one above the covers. With the required run rate creeping Misbah and Umar Akmal found the runs difficult to come by. Akmal finally broke the shackles in the 30th over as he took Yuvraj for twelve runs and Pakistan were left needing 131 of the last 20 overs. Akmal attempted one shot too many as he was cleaned up by Harbhajan and then Munaf got rid of dangerman Razzaq with a peach of a leg cutter. Afridi scored 19 of 17 but after he was dismissed going for a huge heave, the match was truly in India’s grasp! Misbah held fort from one end and got to his half century but with the required rate going above 12 in the last five overs, the match was as good as lost. And then when he scooped the penultimate ball of the match high into the dark sky, there was an eruption!

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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