What's your feeling when I inform you that "If West Indies plays India in the finals of this DLF Cup on Sunday, they get 1 million US dollars"..??
Different feeling are expected but by keeping this special prize into DLF Cup, India cricket board - BCCI has surely diluted the excitement that Indian team has brought by winning the Match 5 triller against West Indies here on Wednesday and kept their hopes of reaching the Finals, alive..
One can say this decision by BCCI to give away US$ 1 million to the team who plays India in the finals is derived by the fact that the viewership of that final match will be easily 50 times less than a final without Indian team, but doesn't it sound like BCCI is wrong by offering such a stupid and conditional prize ... trying to encourage other West Indies to play final against India rather than Australia.
To me, it sounds like this but let me also tell you that Match 5 of this DLF Cup was by no means lost by West Indies.... INDIAN TEAM SNATCHED IT FROM THEIR HANDS.
The start of the match :-
Being stroke makers, Indian batsmen seem stupid when the pitch starts to offer some assistance with the new ball and the batsmen has very little chance to play their shots. This is what happened and Indian team slipped to 38 for 4 and then to 78 for 6 when Ajit Agarkar was bowled by Dwyne Bravo off a slow yorker..
But Sachin Tendulkar was determind to keep fighting and all he needed was a partner at the other end - In came Harbhajan Singh. Although his strokes always look unorthodox, but Harbhajan has proved to be a handy batsman and today in this 5th match of DLF Cup at Kinrara Oval in Malaysia - Harbhajan hit 2 sixes and a four in his 60 ball 37.
And as Indian team looked like moving towards a fighting total of 220 or so, disaster struck - Harbhajan caught behind and Tendulkar run out as RP Singh hit one Samuels delivery back to the none striking end. Tendulkar Dismissal in this ODI was probably the worst part other wise Indian team would have reached at least 200..... which wasn't to be. Indian team bowled out for just 162 in 39.3 overs.
The start of West Indies Innings :-
As India played only 40 overs, West Indies innings started only 10 mins later and Indian fast bowlers were asked to bowl 8 more overs before the lunch break.... BUT NO WICKET FELL.
West Indies were 28 for no loss at the lunch time and needed only 135 more runs to win the match.... what no body expected was that Indian team needed 10 wickets to win match as well..!!
It all started with a miss timed pull shot from Chanderpaul, then bad cut shot from Sarwan and an overly ambitious drive from Runako Mortan that West Indies fell from 44 for no loss to 58 for 3.
This was the first time Indian team looked like smiling but the job wasn't over. They needed more wickets and the good thing that West Indian Captain Brain Lara did was he kept on sending his "out of form" young batsman like Samuels, Smith and Bravo up the order to have some batting practise, which eventually resulted in cheap wickets for India..
In fact, at 96 for 7, Indian team looked like winning the match 5 with a bonus point, for which they needed to bowl out West Indies for 129 of less. This was When Brain Lara came out to bat - at number nine, for the first time in his career of 274 ODIs. Well, "Bonus Point" didn't happen for India and Brain Lara took West Indies to within 16 runs before Corey Collymore was caught LBW by S Sreesanth.
India wins the match by 16 runs.
Important notes -
1. Had India beaten West Indies with a bonus point, i.e, bowled them out for less than 129, they would have got 5 points instead of 4 which they got, they would have equalled with Australia at 7 points in all and in case of No Result for the India vs Australia match on Friday, Indian team would have made it to the finals as they have little better Net run Rate..
Now they have to beat Australia to reach the finals of this DLF Cup in Malaysia.
2. The reason that Indian bowlers managed to get so many West Indian wickets in such a hurry, or i should say the reason 20 wickets fell for just 162 + 146 = 308 runs was because there was a patch on the pitch, right at the driving length of right handed batsmen. This patch was criticised by commentators last time and this time the curator had filled some mud to even up the pitch - Which of course wasn't working. Bowlers kept on hitting that patch - specially Devon Smith, Munaf Patel and Ajit Agarkar and resulted such a small scoring ODI match.
3. In case you have missed the live telecast of this match, you can watch the highlights of this 5th match in DLF Cup between India and West Indiest on Zee Sports at 10 pm tonight. It will be a 2 hours replay program which will also be repeated on thrusday at 7 am, 9 am, 5 pm and 10 pm. Do note the time of hightights on ZeeSports in case you were in office when all the above thrills happened..!!