Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hit-men in NZ

Hit-men, yeah... all that happened was just hitting the ball around in the miniature parks, relaid as belters... India is in New Zealand for five match ODI and three test series. Oh, ya, there were a couple of trailers, T20s too... the T20s were pocketed by the Kiwis, I wasn’t surprised, not like I was even bothere about a T20 party, it only makes the game more complex than whats required. Ok, now. All that done and disposed. I can just wrap up the two games, saying McCullum was at his best in both T20s, playing carefully, carrying his bat, and seeing his team till victory himself. That is very heartening for the Kiwis. For the Indians, Ishant injured his shoulder and was doubtful for a couple of ODIs atleast.

“Lets move on to the ODIs, shall we?”, says a voice in the back of my head. Agreed...
First ODI, Battling inconsistent weather, the groundsmen did a good job to make the match so good. A few rain interventions did shrink the match a bit. But, the Indian top order was not to shrink their attacking mood for anything. Sehwag and then Dhoni had a nice time out in the middle. Sehwag know what he’s like off late, don’t you? Dhoni played a captains innings, and saw that India made a big total. The New Zealand chase was cut short by the Indians, who played their first series in their new colour-kit, a dark navy blue sort of colour, with orange patches that my sister finds very funny... Back to on field events... India up 1-0, and now, to _______. More rain, and more rain and more rain ensured India entered game 3 up 1-0.
Third ODI, i missed most of it, but I don’t regret it. It was a veryyyyyyyyyyy boring game. Hit hit hit hit hit... sachin had to so many hit to and beyond the fence that his body could take any more and an internal bleeding resulted. He had earlier taken a blow on his ribs. He had paced his innings perfectly for a possible two hundred. Taking a cue from flashy innings by Yuvraj, sachin started ‘hit at will’ and made a mockery of the Kiwi bowlers. Century for young Tim Southee, sad for him, the dubious record was a part of his bowling figures, not on the batting score card of his. Then came the Kiwis, chasing an improbable 390+ for victory. The word improbable was questioned soon by Jesse and Brendon. They scored at the exact same rate and were raising hell in the little cricket bowl. A silly run out of brendon then triggered a fall of wickets... a late flurry of runs off the willow of Mills and Southee (trying to make amends) was in vain. And so, another high scoring match. India 2-0 up, atleast one hand on the trophy.
Fourth ODI. Dan was away, as he was gonna be a father that day (congrats!). Stand in captain, McCullum was playing as a batsman after he injured his hand last ODI. Domestic talent, Peter McGlashan was to fill in as the keeper. Kiwis posted a good total, a very competitive total of 270 in 47 overs was very encouraging, after what had been happening to the NZ side in the past few games, they were happy to see a good opportunity come by. The target was revised to 281 due to rain curtails. But, there was one man who had absolutely no respect for any bowler. They newbie Ewen Thompson, the fast off-cutter did not have a good start to his career. Sehwag, added another record to his kitty, being the fastest Indian to reach the three-figure mark, taking only 60 deliveries to do so. The rampage continued, and no matter how much more tough every rain break made the target, Sehwag’s outrage, and Gambhir’s sage like innings saw India through, and left Kiwis clueless.

Last one... I don’t know how, but Kiwis defeated the same Indian side in a very comfortable manner. For the first time this series, I thought, there was a classical New Zealand track. Seamers, plus Ryder destroyed the Indian line up to less than 150, and the Kiwis wasted no time in reaching the paltry total. Nevertheless, India wins the series 3-1, but Kiwis will like to build on the momentum they just gathered. Test series should be interesting, as usual. So, hang on for the beauty of the test series.