Monday, March 13, 2006

Freak Show!

(Mark Boucher pumps the air after hitting the winning runs)

Australia - 434/4 (50.0)
South Africa
- 438/9 (49.5)

Can you believe this?! Would anyone believe this, who hasn't watched this match? I'm sure this match would remain like an one-off incident; one spike in the relatively saner landscape of one-day cricket; one deafening toll of some distant bell in the normal chitter-chatter in the world of cricket. Something to tell your grandchildren about. I say send this DVD to Mars and the outer space, this is the best we can offer to our alien friends!

Of course, the boundaries were short & the track was totally dead. Yet, there have been deader pitches - especially in the Indian sub continent - & shorter boundaries (Singapore pops into my mind) but never did we have a 400+ score, ever. But what makes the match extra-ordinary is the South African effort. After letting the Kangaroos run away with it and posting an impossible total of 434, one can imagine how gloomy the South African dressing room would have been during the lunch. Even the staunchest supporters wouldn't have seen any silver lining in that dark cloud. Yet, they refused to kneel down to the pressure and fought back & fought hard. And when the finally reached there, they had scripted an epic saga which made the tale of David & Goliath look like a cheap imitation.

Australian inning was dominated by their captain’s scintillating knock. There is something very chilling in the way Ponting bats. Right, he’s not the only one to play such aggressive cricket. We have Sehwags, Afridis, Gichrists & of course Gibbs, but there is a subtle difference in their approach to the game and Pontings’. While others take risks and make shots to get the scorecard hit the roof, Ponting approach is more calculated & easygoing. He has such huge confidence that rarely he mishits or looks like manufacturing shots. The difference is somehow similar to the game of Jayasurya & Arvinda D’Silva. While Jayasurya relied on high-risk shots, D’Silva could maintain the same run-rate in a very low-risk manner. And that was what made him more dangerous for the opposition. Ponting brings the same sense of danger to the opposition. His approach doesn’t have the belligerence of Afridi or makeshift brilliance of Sehwag, still he is no lesser than them in his own cool style. Lately, it looks like impossible to get him out early; his technique leaves no chink for the opposition to attack. That’s why he is the best ODI batsman in the recent times.

The South African reply was hinged around Gibbs’ innings. Though half the battle was won when they believed that such an total can be chased, still it was an impossibly uphill task and if they were to even get closer to the Australian total, they needed a solid yet speedy start. Dippenaar disappointed but this couldn’t pull the team morale down. The partnership between Smith & Gibbs made it possible to even think that this can be done. Gibbs is one hell of a character! Immensely talented, extremely unpredictable. His arsenal has almost every attacking shot in the book. He reminds me of the Windies World Champion team. His game has the same gay abandon which was once associated with the calypso cricket. On his day, I don’t think he can better this performance. Though I felt a tinge of pain when he finally fell before going past the 194 run mark (Oh! How badly I wanted him to wash that scar off every Indian cricket fan’s mind :-), I don’t think I remember any ODI innings better than this one. Batting under imposing pressure of chasing an utterly impossible total, and then to come up with such a gem – truly awe-inspiring!

This match is definitely going to be my favorite match for quite some time. It is not always that you get to see such an entertaining freak show. That's what it was, an insane freak show! Pure madness & sheer brilliance!

P.S. - Good luck to the Indian team too. Com'on, kick some pommie butts!
P.P.S. - Wish me some luck too. Have IIMC interview tomorrow.


Jeet said...

Bahut fundoo likha hai ji :-)

All the best for IIMC interview !! Interview se pehle magne ki bajaye cricket match dekh rahe the :> hmm.

Deez said...

the spirit of that match is just the thing for u matter what t target chase it till the end, and knock it off.

in other words...all the best for ur iimc interview :)

Ravi said...

best of luck dude!

rachana said...

In the praise of SA--
"They played with simple logic "maaro yaa haaro",
They played like there is no tomorrow!!"
best luck for ur intv.

gammafunction said...

an unbelievable match!!...87 fours and 23 sixes and i think even boucher played a very important part in the of luck for your interview!!

Poxy said...

What happened to your interview ? I tried calling you, but could not reach you on your cell !

J said...

Unbelievable stuff!!!!
Aus-SA made my completion of 24th trip around the Sun memorable(My Bday is on 12th of March)
The SA spirit was amazing..impossible truly became i m possible.
Good Luck for your interview
Trust me you ll be through.

Varun Singh said...

@Jeet: thanks rahega. Waise bhi kya padh leta yaar interview ke liye, they can ask *anything*

@Deez: for the interviews, I try best for survival, i.e. not to get knocked off ;-) Thanks for the wishes, they helped.

@Ravi: Mushi-mushi and thanku-nara

@Rachana ji: thanks!

@Gamma: I was cursing Boucher when Kallis lost his wicket to the building pressure. But in the end, Boucher played a very crucial knock. Kudos to him. Thanks for wishes!

@J: Totally rocking stuff maaaan! Can't believe the match and surely won't forget it ;-) Thanks!