Thursday, March 31, 2011

World Cup 2011 - India vs Pakistan, The Battle Of The Two Losers

What. Was. That.

I have just witnessed, without doubt, the most bizzare semi-final match for as long as I have been watching the game. Compelling and interesting? Absolutely. But never have I seen two semi final teams so unskilled, so inept, so utterly determined to lose the match. Everything from ball one to ball six hundred was shrouded with nothing but chaos, with only a handful of bowlers deserving to compete at this level. Here are the many reasons why:

The Gul Trash
I can blame the opening exchanges on nerves, and Sehwag has taken apart his fair share of good bowlers. However his comeback spell was equally abysmal. Full tosses, wides, no-balls, what was going on? Pakistan's leading bowler became its leading liability.

The "Fielding"
Both teams are a disgrace on the park, India only marginally better on the night. The commentators will naturally refuse to highlight it, but Pakistan, aside from dropping Tendulkar four times (!) leaked 20-30 runs with a combination of leisurely and amateurish efforts. A startling drop given the fantastic benchmark set by all the other world cup sides.

This isn't the Hot Potato world cup. © AFP

The Ugly Tendulkar
I like Sachin Tendulkar, but if his innings went on to result in this hundredth international century, it would be an insult to the man. I have never seen him play such an ungainly innings. As one rash shot followed another, he would have realized that the freebies would have been snapped up by any other fielding unit in this world cup. That includes Kenya. He was completely clueless against Saeed Ajmal in particular, and I have no idea how that LBW shout was shown to be missing leg stump. Hand over your Man of the Match award to Wahab Riaz thanks.

The Suicidal Indian Batting
The so-called best batting unit in the world, were anything but. The trio of Gambhir, Kohli and Dhoni were prodding, poking, and needlessly charging the impressive but not impossible bowling attack. Add to that, Bhajji getting the same doosra treatment he endorses and comical swinging for glory by Zaheer Khan to leave Raina, the real batsman stranded. IPL batting at its worst, 260 could have easily been 160.

The Run Chase From Hell
There were no demons in the pitch, and the Indian bowlers were tight at best. Apart from peaches that removed Razzaq and Umar Akmal, the other batsman have no excuses. Hafeez's paddle sweep attempt, to a Munaf Patel ball that was a meter outside off stump was inexcusable. Younis and Misbah ensured that the required run rate soared above eight and beyond when it should never have reached six. Batting powerplays too are overrated it seems, Afridi preferring to hoick a Harbhajan full toss to nowhere and seal the loss.

But Above All...
Where was the aggression! What happened to the rivalry, the competition, the history! All the players out there were lumbering around, smiling and grinning like it was a Sunday morning tea party. They might as well have held hands and had a sing-along. My thoughts turned to wishing that it was all a bad dream, one big joke before the real match started. Alas no.

"How are the wife and kids?" © AFP 

We were treated to a fantastic contest in the first semi final between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the true meaning of a playoff match. Two teams desperate to win, playing to their peaks and not giving the opposition an inch. This contest should have trumped that, but instead we got the sloppiest match of the cup, two teams playing under a false pretense that they are champion sides.

Anything but a Sri Lankan world cup victory will be an insult to cricket, regardless of who won today. There were no winners today, India lost, Pakistan lost, cricket lost.


  1. i think you watched a different game mate :-) Not sure what your grouse is but nonr of what you have pointed out was really "new" or happening for the first time

  2. When i will order the dominos pizza i got one surprise and great news from other side. last time india vs australia at that time i bought one pizza. india will win first time defeat in anustralia in world cup match semi final. so i bought 3 dominos pizza they will 30 differ run.. oh next time i will buy 10 pizza. india will win by 10 wickets

  3. @Golandaaz, compare this match to the World Cup 1996 match, or the 2003 match, and you may see my point. Everything was down a notch here.

  4. LOL at you picture captions and yes agreed, a VERY unsatisfying game! Sri Lanka better win :)