Tag Archives: T20 World Cup 2010

Alternate Reality

The Venue: Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia

The Occasion: 2nd Semifinal, T20 World Cup, Pakistan vs Australia

The Scene: Chasing an improbable 192 runs to secure a spot in the finals, Australia, thanks to mind-numbing blitzkrieg from Michael Hussey, are at the threshold of proving to the world, yet again, the “Never say die” Aussie attitude.

The Equation: Australia are 187/7 off 19.3 overs. 5 runs required off 3 balls, off a so-far-very-ordinary Saeed Ajmal over with M. Hussey on strike (having just got to his fifty by hitting yet another thunderous swipe for a six).

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Do-or-Die Update

Mid way through the India-Sri Lanka match, India have made 163 in 20 overs. So, if Sri Lanka make 144, India are out of the tournament (that is still assuming Australia beat west Indies).

Rather strange inning it was. Initially, there was plenty of scoring and India got to 90 of 10 overs but managed only 70+ in the second half, even with the batting depth they have. Possibly due to slow pitch. From the looks of it, its a pitch where as the ball gets old, stroke making is difficult.

Key to India, early wickets and put pressure on Sri Lanka and make the 144 run chase seem like 180. As I write this, SL’s form batsman Jayawardana is out in the firs over. Hmm.. 1 down, 9 to go.

Poll Time

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Match Summary: India v South Africa T20 Worldcup

After accomplishing the first step (as easily as they were expected to) in regaining the T20 world cup trophy, India were on to sussing their strengths and weaknesses, against an equally strong South African team, who should be among the top 3 contenders for the cup, on Sunday May 2, 2010. India had a setback before the toss, with Gautam Gambhir declared unavailable due to diarrhea. Also, they rested Zaheer Khan, which meant, India went in with a spin heavy attack and a brand spanking new opening combination (both bowling & batting).

The pitch, similar to other pitches in the Caribbean, was expected to be slow and assist spinners. But due to the early start, there was to be some assistance to the pace bowlers as well. The outfield at the picturesque Beausejour cricket field was lush, which meant its gonna be slow and there is not gonna be much value for the shots and there will be premium put on running between the wickets. South Africa, winning the toss, elected to insert India in, to take advantage of whatever assistance their pace heavy bowling line up could get from the pitch and through the air. Continue reading

Coming full circle with Sanath Jayasuriya

The beginning and the (seeming) end of the great career of Sanath Jayasuriya has tremendous symmetry to it. He began as a bowling all-rounder for Sri Lanka considered initially for the short format of the game, the ODIs. Now, as the sun sets on his cricketing career, he is again, in the short(est) format of the game for his country, primarily as a bowler, and comes way down the order. In fact, in the last couple of games for Sri Lanka at the T20 world cup, he has actually come in at number 8.

In his debut international match, Jayasuriya did not even get to bowl. He made a very insignificant 3 off 5 balls and Sri Lanka lost chasing a very moderate 229. This was no harbinger of the things to come in the mid-1990’s where he wreaked havoc on a cricket field. He made his ODI debut in 1989 (same year as the other leading luminary cricketer of this generation, Sachin Tendulkar) and his test debut in 1991. His career was going nowhere till Arjuna Ranatunga (the fore runner to Sourav Ganguly in terms of abrasive sub-continental captains who galvanized their respective teams and changed the way their teams were perceived by their opponents), transformed the fortunes of Sanath and in doing so, that of Sri Lanka.

In 1993, Arjuna pushed the little known Sanath up the batting order during the Sharjah tournament where he scored back to back fifties.  Soon, he was making headlines with his aggressive and explosive batting opening the batting for Sri Lanka. The 1996 world cup, Jayasuriya put on a show for the world to see in the company of the little Kaluwathirana. The way they went about their business, utilizing the fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs of an ODI, changed the way the game was played, forever and brought the world cup to Sri Lanka.

There was no stopping Jayasuriya after that. He brought the same aggressive approach to opening batting in test matches as well and scored runs by the mountains. As always, he complemented his run making with his smart left-arm off spin and agile fielding. During a stretch, he WAS the most destructive batsman in the world topping the charts in tests and ODIs, setting world records for fastest fifty, century and plundering India for 340 runs in a test match. As with all great athletes, age -the enemy that always lurks around the corner- caught up to him.

Towards the second half of the oughts (2000’s), the Sri Lankan cricket board also did not manage his situation well. They were not sure what to do with this enormously gifted cricketer. The SL board wanted to move towards a youth centric team, with the reigns in the hands of Mahela Jayawardene and then, Kumar Sangakkara. So, initially, they dropped Jayasuriya from the test team, only to reinstate him on the back of public protests in Sri Lanka. Later on, he announced his retirement from all formats of the game, only to be cajoled by the country’s president to come back and play ODIs and T20s. He signed with the Mumbai Indians of the IPL in 2007 and showed no signs of slowing down, even though he was not playing the top flight of the game.

However, 2009-10 has brought the rude message home for Jayasuriya. He dabbled a little in politics and even tried his hand at commentary. He was not good at either. So, he went back to what he thought was his sanctuary. This meant, he had to accept whatever role the team management (Mumbai/Sri Lanka) made out for him. This is a man, whose very sight at the crease, holding a bat, with those lightning quick square cuts aided by his piston-like forearms, made grown men shiver in their boots. Now, he is being pushed down the order, played as a part-time bowler. In the 2010 IPL, after a couple of scratchy innings, he wasn’t considered for the starting 11. The great Matara Marauder couldn’t out duel some of the younger ones for a starting spot.

He is now in the SL squad for the T20 world cup 2010, and its almost sad to see him come in at number 8, after the likes of Chandimal and Kapugadera who can’t even hold a candle to what he has accomplished for himself and his country. Its a shame, really, to see him get devalued like this, but yet he soldiers on. As the song by Elton John from the movie Lion King goes,

Some of us fall by the wayside
And some of us soar to the stars
And some of us sail through our troubles
And some have to live with the scars

In the circle of life
It’s the wheel of fortune
It’s the leap of faith
It’s the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life

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