hare hare hare hare
"A F R I D I" or "A F R A I DEEEE"

An Assault or a Blitz!, What ever! Still it sounds too polite a word to what Afridi did to the messed up Indian bowling attack. Indian bowlers were simply mugged and beaten by Afridi, all this on a day when many predictions were made on the pitch. India set a target of 250. Pakistan came to bat;

Indians had included their 2 leading spinners Anil Kumble and Harbajan. Two spin dudes [ok! Kumble does not know to spin] included on an unpredictable pitch. Like every other Indian I expected good bowling performance from them. But it was a complete turn around, by the end of the 5th over, all the 11 Indian players on the field were added to the spectator count.

They were watching Sahid Afridi thump various kinds of shots that traveled all over the ground. First ball he faced was a leg bye however from then on it was 6 4 6 4 6 4 and so on. Balaji was ransacked for 23 runs in an over. Balaji did not know where to land the ball. However in this onslaught, Zaheer managed to keep his head cool. In this total whack ceremony he managed to bowl a maiden to Salman Butt. However soon Salman Butt was also in the spectator count, he kept his nerve down and started to watch the “abAra Atam” of Afridi.

Captain Dravid was on the hot seat right from the world go. He would have felt the pressure what Gangully faced. For some time Dravid did not know what to do. Had a dazed look in his eyes, who knows he would have asked Dhoni to bowl a spell. I felt he should have asked Sachin to bowl instead of getting Kumble. Kumble started his come back spell with 3 mighty donkey drops; Afridi sent the ball on a tour around Kanpur. It took lot of time for the ball to “come back” from the stands. Spectators around the green park oval would know by now how a shattered, traumatized international cricket ball would look. Most had “dharma darshan” of the white ball that kept coming to their area at regular intervals.

Afridi hit about 9 sixers and same number of fours that took the game away from the Indians. In the 15th over Pakistan were 131. This sealed the game for them, asking rate come down to a puny 3 point nothing. Afridi completed the second quickest hundred in ODIs. If you don’t know by now, the first one is also by him against Kenya. Finally after the second quickest hundred, Afridi wanted to send a message, he is not going to swing like the usual sluggers after their priceless 100, he tried to defend but was bowled by Harbajan. By then the match was well out of Indians reach.

Why did Dravid not give the ball to Sachin?. When Sachin can take the last over pressure, he could have handled Afridi , he has take him out 3 times now. But Dravid had no plans to get Sachin or even Sehwag for that matter. Sehwag would have broken through because he knows the art of shooters. Indians needed just one ball that kept low to Afriri, but it was his day, no one could stop him.

Dravid won the toss, Ravi Sastri confused the toss and told Inzi won it, However Dravid might be wishing that he had not approach the match referee to say he actually had won the toss. India batted on a sticky wicket, ball was moving in the air and the bounce was unpredictable, at times ball kept really low reminding our good old Abidali or Madan Lal. If Chinaswamy pitch was similar to the Banglore roads, this pitched looked like a Volley ball court. India lost 3 quick wickets to Ul Hassan, India is yet to deal him properly. In fact even the mighty Aussies struggled against him in the recent VB series.

Dravid the new captain took the pressure well and started to get some runs with 3 middle order players coming good. Yuvraj and Kaif, of which later played remarkably well. Dinesh Mongia, The official replacement for Gangully hit a quick knock with 2 massive sixes that helped India to pile up a “respectable” sum of 249. Pakistan was set to score at a run rate of 5 on a so called misbehaving wicket. Commentators were cautious this time, because they simply gave the last game to India. We then know what happened.

Btw: Gangully was seen laughing to himself in this 5 star hotel lobby. He knows that he narrowly escaped the 20,000 ton trash talk on the internet and the media. A Blessing in disguise for him; I am not going to the watch the next one day this weekend. Yes I have paid for it; yes $25.00 is good chunk of money however I cannot take the pathetic and pitiable Indian losses any more.

Have a good weekend.