As I write this, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni are fighting it out in the pre-lunch session on Day 3 of the final test match between India and England. The duo is battling hard to save the test and thus the series. But with Monty and Swann turning the ball and Jimmy Anderson working some reverse swing, things are not looking too bright for the Indians.
First things first, considering that India lost four early wickets last night, Kohli’s and Dhoni’s foremost task here should be to take India to safety. It is to take themselves as close as possible to England’s first innings total and stay positive during the course of the play. Because, like we know, cricket is a funny game and test cricket is even funnier, so expect anything.
In this series, we have had three results from three games and that sounds exciting. In fact the pitches which were prepared for these three tests were seemingly very home side friendly. And like I said in my post last month, England during initial part of this tour looked as if they would be challenged hard on such pitches. But it has been a dramatic turnaround with England using these pitches better than Indians and scoring two very convincing wins.
Come the final test match at Nagpur and accidentally or otherwise the pitch on offer here doesn’t seem good enough for test match cricket. It is slow, it is low and it is definitely heartbreaking for a cricket fan. Dead pitches suck life out of the game and whatever be the result in the end, the journey to that result isn’t enjoyable and you would agree: that defeats the whole purpose of the actual result, be it a win or a loss.
If test cricket has to stay a form which can pull fans to the stadiums, pitches need to be re-looked at and more than the pitches, what needs to look into is that ‘thing’ which results to such pitches. Is it the soil or something else? Whatever it is, the reality is: dead pitches are horrible for cricket. The hopes of revival are not dead though!
Dharamshala, the Tibetan exile world in India, a place super serene and beautiful is ready to host what is so unlike it. Fastest version of a cricket game arrives to a place that is greatly associated with calm & tranquil.
With Himalayan peaks in the background, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings clash for a place in play-offs. For sure this match promises to be a spectacle and there are two very strong reasons for that. One, both the teams find themselves in a much win situation and would put everything into it, and two, even if cricket doesn’t live up to one’s expectations, surroundings certainly would do.
Chennai seem to be getting stronger every game and they start favorites. Bravo’s last ball six against KKR must have given them tons of confidence and belief. They are a champion team and looks like they are getting into the groove at the right time. Dhoni is eyeing another title win and they are storming towards it.
Punjab on the other hand is facing challenges with consistency. They have won some good tight games against top sides, they lost some easy ones, and they won some away matches and lost some at home. Overall they have shown promise but intermittently and that is what they must sort out going into this game. Potentially, they hold the chance to get four more points from this stage on (unlike most teams) as they still have two more games to go before the play-off.
David Hussey and Azhar Mahmood would want to bring all their T20 experience into this game and so would Dhoni and his men. Keep watching folks, it’s getting beautiful AND exciting !!!
Dhoni’s men rarely find themselves looking down the barrel. But IPL 5 is different. They won few, but not consistently and now they face a situation from where they must keep winning invariably to keep their play offs’ hopes alive.
There have been instances of individual brilliance from Super Kings but collectively they haven’t fired too often this IPL. They however need to, NOW. Dhoni is a brilliant leader, calm and composed and he’ll be ready with his plans. Though the boys must step up and execute those plans on the day.
Rajasthan Royals have come back very well in their last few games after losing some of their earlier games. Especially their one run loss to Delhi may have been heartbreaking, but the way Rahul has kept the side motivated is commendable. Watson has added strength to their batting which was primarily dependent on Rahane and Dravid. Oawis Shah and Hodge also look in good touch which makes their top-order really powerful.
The thing with most T20 games is, however strong a team looks on paper it is a matter of few crucial moments in the game that turns it in favour of one or the other. Each of these two very good teams know that and would be looking forward to winning those moments. Because folks, mind it, from here on, it’ll get tougher.