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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Idea Cup 2010

Sri Lanka's cup of joy

THE WINNER TAKES ALL: All the Sri Lanka cricketers board the SUV that captain Kumar Sangakkara was presented with for becoming the player-of-the-series after winning the Idea Cup final against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur last light.Photo: AFP

For once in the Idea Cup, and most importantly after the final, neither the winning captain Kumar Sangakkara nor the losing one Mahendra Singh Dhoni pointed finger at the 'dew factor'. Rather the match was decided on the field and the team that played better on the day won the match, agreed both the skippers in the post match briefing last night.

Sangakkara's men pulled off a four-wicket victory in the final of the Idea Cup after luck had smiled on the Lankan skipper for the fifth time in the tournament. And his men chased down the 245-run target with four wickets standing and nine balls yet to be bowled. But it was not a one-sided match like the previous ones as the Indians ran Sri Lanka right to the end, and Sangakkara was pleased that they pulled it off in the end.

"We should've finished the game earlier. We probably conceded thirty more runs. We let it slip slightly in the middle overs. But thankfully we pulled it off."

Sangakkara heaped praises on the match-winning performance of his young bowler Nuwan Kulasekara who took four crucial wickets for 48 runs. "He is an exceptional player. He gives his everything whether he is bowling, batting or fielding. And that is why he is the number one bowler in one-day cricket."

The Lankan skipper who himself received the man-of-the-tournament award for his consistent batting performances with four half-centuries credited the team effort as the reason behind this success. "It's good to have match-winners like Dilshan, Tharanga, Mahela in the side. Mahela once again proved how good a player he is."

Sangakkara specially thanked his young brigade who have grabbed their opportunity with both hands with so many of the senior players either missing through injuries or dropped for poor form.

The losing captain, Dhoni pointed out the injury of Ashish Nehra one big reason for their defeat, saying that dew wasn't there in the game. Nehra bowled just 1.2 overs and took the wicket of Upul Tharanga, but soon he had to walk off with the injury.

"Missing Ashish was a big factor. If he could play we could have made it more difficult for them. Things could have been different on a seaming track where there was no dew today," rued Dhoni.

Obviously Dhoni was not a happy man with the fact that India lost the final, but he expressed his satisfaction over his players' overall performance.

"I am happy to see our bowlers coming good. The seamers bowled very well, so did Harbhajan and the rest. They are not probably in the best of form right now, but they are coming back to form, which is very important."

Where did his team go wrong in the final? "We lost too many quick wickets towards the end. We should have got 20-30 more runs. Shot selection was not great at times. With a few more runs on a track that offered reverse swing and didn't come all that easy for playing shots, we might have pulled it off," concluded the India skipper.

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Sweet Revenge.

Saleque Sufi

Sri Lanka 249/6 [Mahela Jayewardene 71* ,Kumar Sangrakara 55 ,Tilakaratne Dilshan 49, Harbhajan Singh 2/41] beat India 245 [Suresh Raina 106, Virendra Shewag 42, Ravindra Jadeja 38, Kulashekara 4/48, Welegedera 3/53] by 4wickets .

Year 2010 appears to change the luck of Srilanka. Over the last few days of 2009 Sri Lankans were getting hammered by brilliant Indians. In January 2010 they have already beat India twice in three ODIs.The last one in apparently one sided final of Idea cup at Dhaka when Srilankan bowlers and the top guns of their batting Jayawardene, Shangrakara and Dilshan led them to 4 wickets victory against favourite Indians.

Sangrakara won the all important toss and put India in recognising the dew factor. Srilanka played 5 matches in the tournament. The only match they lost when they opted to bat first. In all 7 matches team batting second won as bowlers struggled to handle the dew. In future BCB and ICC must remain very careful about it. But Indians have very little to blame dew as they batted very poorly excepting brilliant effort of Raina c scoring a well paced century when vaunted Indian top order all failed to deliver. It has been in the past that , whenever it comes to finals of triangular tournaments, Sri Lanka have had the upper hand over India, who in the last decade succeeded in winning just four in 21 finals. A familiar tale panned out in Dhaka, where a frenetic start was followed by an enthralling finish and the result was yet another tournament win for Sri Lanka over India.

Last morning when I wrote the preview, somehow I had a hunch that Sangrakara will have the last laugh. The reason being Srilankans loosing too many matches to India in recent times. They are too good a team not to bounce back. It happened as we thought. Sri Lankans won the finals. It was a sweet Lankan revenge. They were definitely the better team in the final.

It is not India; it is Srilnaka which lifted the first trophy at stake in the new decade. In the just Concluded Idea Cup Trination tournament at Dhaka featuring India, SriLanka and host Bangladesh Srilanka beat favourite India by 5 wickets. Put into bat India could manage only 245 in 48.2 overs which in consideration of dew factor were never enough. India was infact lucky to get that much as well after getting reduced to 60/5 in 11th over. Suresh Raina scored brilliant 106 and was featured in a 6th Wicket partnership of 106 with Jadeja.

Sri Lanka did not have a happy tour of India in late 2009. They lost both test and ODI series. In tests the strong Indian batting on placid wickets mercilessly punished their bowlers. The ODI series although very closely fought was also lost. They had to leave behind two of their all time greats Jayasuriya and Muraltharan back home. They also started without Mahela Jayawardene. Srilanka had to put their acts right at Dhaka. They were in serious busness from the very outset. 5 matches they played in Idea cup they won 4. They won the Idea Cup Tri Nation tournament as worthy winners.

Sangrakara put India to bat. He could not expect more than what appeared a dream a dream start.

Early Dramas

These happened in quick sequence within 21 deliveries into the match.

Ball 0.3: Kulasekara to Gambhir, OUT, freak dismissal, a length ball on the pads, Gambhir misses on the flick, the ball hits the protruding thigh pad and ricochets on to the leg stump. The scorebook will say: Gambhir b Kulasekara 0

Ball 1.6: Welegedara to Kohli, OUT, he's gone! Poor shot, cuts away at a wide delivery without any feet movement, and edges it through; this one didn't come in with the angle, rather held its line. Kohli had been edgy through his brief stay, and such a loose shot was always around the corner

On the other end Spanking Shewag was singing his own song. It was the third over of the match.Shewag was in his element.

Ball 2.2 :Kulasekara to Sehwag, FOUR, first boundary of the innings, driven on the up, opened face, beat cover, flied along the outfield, 7000 ODI runs for Sehwag

Ball 2.3: Kulasekara to Sehwag, FOUR, good shot, almost a yorker, on the pads, and he flicked it away nonchalantly

Ball 2.5: Kulasekara to Sehwag, FOUR, strayed onto the pads again, and Sehwag dismissed it to the square-leg boundary, despite the field change on the on side.

Yuvaraj joined Shewag but his run of poor form continued.

Ball 3.3: Welegedara to Yuvraj Singh, OUT, Yuvraj goes chasing, and Samaraweera took a good catch at first slip. Yuvraj's feet were rooted as he went for this cut, and he ended up playing awkwardly and away from the body, the edge in but natural. Samaraweera timed his jump at first slip to perfection and took a nice overhead catch

Dhoni did not last Long:

Indian captain Dhoni joined his deputy Shewag a bit too early in the 4th over. He tried to steady the rocking boat .But good tight quality Srilankan bowling also removed Dhoni soon.

Ball 8.5: Kulashekhra deivered a clever delivery marginally wider drawing Dhoni in to drive. He obliged.without reaching to the pitch he played away from the body.Shanga gladly accepted the nick low to his left.

Shewag Blitz also Blew out Soon:

While all these were happening the irresistible Shewag was going strong. He should have been a little restrained. But Shewag plays in one frequency only. Caution and restrain is not in his dictionary.Shewag should have put more price on his wicket in this match. He was looking all right. But that is the way he plays. This Indian team still needs calming effect of Rahul Dravid.

Ball 10.4: Kulasekara dug in short, Sehwag looked to upper-cut it, but it followed him and the edge nestled in Sanga's gloves. It was 301 st victim of Sanga. At 60/5 in 10.4 overs India was in deep trouble

Kulashekara and Weelegedra were doing wonderful job on a flat wicket.India’s top five were back within 11th over before woking day crowd could even reach stadium taking some hours off from office.

Young Guns Played Responsibly:

Young Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina got together in the rescue act. Bangladesh in the last group match was rescued by Saquib and Riad in almost similar situation. Raina and Jadeja were to be a bit more cautious as after them only Harbhajan could be relied .Nehera, Sreeshanth and Zaheer Khan did not have much reputation.

Jadeja and Raina batted very sensibly rotating stokes and punishing anything loose. The 106 runs 6th wicket partnership in 24 overs created momentum. But at a stage when India could launch counter offensive Jadeja got out to who was bowling his off spinners very intelligently.

Ball 34.2: Dilshan bowled from close the stumps, Jadeja tried to defend , playing for the spin, the ball - just changed – the ball skidded on with the arm, and Dilshan appealed only as a second thought because it' was dead plumb. 7/166 .Harbhajan walked join Raina.

Raina continued to bat brilliantly. Sri Lanka at this stage missed the usual service of champion Muralitharan and talented Aajanta Mendis. Young Suraj Randiv will have to learn a lot of tricks to bowl effectively in such situation.

Ball 42.5: Playing out of character innings Harbhajan stayed with Raina adding useful 47 runs in 7th wicket partnership. He fell to Randiv trying to sweep a top spinner and getting trapped plumb in front. 213/7 in 42.5 overs. Just before power play loss of sweet striker Hrabhajan dented India further. Zaheer Khan played a little 8 ball cameo of 16 runs with two fours and six .233 /8 in 44.5 overs. Raina scoring a brilliant century his third in ODI could not continue .he got out to his first poor shot of the day.

Ball 45.3: Welegedara bowled straight. First unsmart shot of Raina of the innings, took the risk, went for the slog, missed, and the ball is full and straight and hits the middle of middle. Nevertheless Raina played superb innings 106 in 115 deliveries hitting 10 fours and a six. Without his courageous innings Indian innings could fold at miserable score.

Ball 48.2: Perera knocked out Sreeshanth. India got all out at 245 in 48.2 overs. Much better score after loosing top 5 at 60 mainly due to brilliant century of Raina. Srilankan seamers bowled exceeding well on a placid wicket.Kulashekera took 4/ 48 and Welegedara took 3/53.

Srilankan Response:

Srilankan response also started in similar dramatic fashion. Upal Tharanga got out in the very first over

Ball 0.3: Tharanga edged Nehra and gone! Kohli took a nice catch at second slip. Slight hint of movement away, from back of a length, and he slashed at it without any feet movement, and Kohli gobbled it up overhead. Second straight duck for Tharanga

Ball 0.5 It could be two for Nehra in the first over if review system was there .There was a , big, big shout for lbw, length ball, pitched leg, straightened, Gould thought that the swing would carry it down leg, Hawkeye thought it would have kissed the leg stump, got to go with the umpire's instinct .

After this mini hiccup the two master Lankans combined well to put solid foundation of 93. Srilanka scored 50 in 45 deliveries. They were proceeding merrily till Dilshan nicked one behind at one short of 50. h His partner Sangrakara also did not also last longer after this. He stroked Harbhajan, the pick of Indian bowlers to Shewag after scoring 55. From then on Mahela took over playing a very skilled innings of 71 not out. But there was another hiccup when Indian Jadeja and Hrabhajan claimed two more quick wickets of Samaraweera and Kandamby. At 5/189 in 38.4 overs with not much batting left Indians were somehow back in the contest. But Mahela is good good to throw away his wicket. He steered his team out from the spot of bother playing very cool and calculative cricket. Young Randiv gave him good support. Randiv got run out at 228. But by time Srilankans were in safe water. Mahela finally landed the Srilankan ship to port of joy with 9 balls to spare.

The difference between India and Srilanka in the match was top Indian batting failed to fire when it mattered but all main Srilankan batsmen contributed in the pressure cooker final. Srilankans played this tournament much better than the Indians. Indian bowlers struggled in all matches especially in the last overs. Even Bangladesh scored very freely against them n both matches. Top Indian batsmen Yuvaraj and Gambhir did not fire, Shewag did not produce one of his Bradmanian innings. India must rethink about the bowling. Unless they bowl well in the late overs their brilliant batting may not win them many against strong teams.

Srilankans on the other hand looked good. They started without Jayasuriya, Muralitharan, Mendis and Mahela. They were either not in form or injured.Mahela joined in the midway. They played 5 matches and won 4.The one match they lost was against India in the league stage when Sangrakara winning the toss experimented to ball under dew condition. Dew could me given the event of the series award. Kulashekara for his brilliant bowling 4/48 deservedly won man of the match award.

End of the day one must say the best team of the tournament won the trophy. New Srilankan attack is looking good. This attack with Murali,Jayasuriya and Mendis added will be awesome. They will be among the favourites for the ICC World Cup 2011 to be played in the region.

: Saleque Sufi





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