Sunday, June 13, 2010


India finally managed to beat Zimbabwe on this tour. And it's Twenty20. Looks like Zimbabwe is more comfortable playing the longer game rather than 20-over cricket. The only match they lost during the round robin stage in the tri-series against Sri Lanka was also reduced to 20-odd overs due to rain. Weird, I used to think that shorter the format, greater is the chance for the underdogs... the weaker team.

And then I thought... maybe, Team India is the weaker team. Zimbabwe has been far more impressive than India over the past couple of weeks. Their departments have played as proper units... the army of spinners choking the opposition and the batsmen remaining cool during the crunch moments. Neither of the two has been the case with India.

As India ends the Zimbabwe tour today with the second and final Twenty20 and then regroup with the seniors to fly to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup, they will need to deeply think about really how good is the team. The team was World No. 2 on ICC Rankings before the tournament... I do not know if there is a fall after the two defeats to Zimbabwe... but are we really playing as a No. 2 / 3 team?

A clearer picture will emerge when an almost full-strength squad plays at the Asia Cup. Matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh might test the Indians... but the match against Pakistan has the ability of separating boys from men. India play Pakistan on 19th June... it's been quite some time since their last meeting at the Champions Trophy in South Africa last year. In that match, Shoaib Malik hit a match-winning hundred to take Pakistan to victory. Who will be the man this time?

The build up is not quite the same... but it should be a cracker nonetheless!
The build up to this match has hardly been what it was like for the meeting on 1st March 2003 during the World Cup at South Africa. But that should not mean the match will be anything less than a cracker! Luckily, the FIFA World Cup fixtures that day include just one team that I am interested in... the Netherlands, which will feature against Japan in the first match on that day. After that, I can use that Saturday to pay complete attention to an Indian cricket fan's delight... an India v Pakistan match!

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