Different venue, Same result!
Virat Kohli’s brilliant half century leads India to 6 wicket victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in a rain-hit 18 over game; Pakistan yet to win a World Cup match against the hosts.
India bounced back strongly after the NZ shock beating their neighbors for the 5th time in WT20s in as many games. This brings the current runners-up in contention to reach the semis though they have to face an uphill task against the Aussies. Pakistan, though have to win 2 difficult matches including the one against the NZ who are in red-hot form. India , much under pressure as compared to their previous meetings with Pakistan, courtesy to the first match defeat and home expectations, played exceptionally well to maintain their 100% win record over their arch-rival.
Eden turning track :- No one expected Eden to present a track where ball turned fair and square including the captains as well as the CAB president, the prince of Kolkata, the Dada,Sourav Ganguly. Eden Gardens, known to turn from day 4 of a test match started showing a fair bit of burn before the 4th over of the match. Dhoni mentioned in the presentation that he expected some turn due to the ground under covers for almost entire day, but not to this limit. Pakistan completely misread the conditions as they dropped a genuine spinner to include a fast bowler in Sami. Probably Pakistan may have tried to play mind games by trying to intimidate their opponents as the Pakistani pacers gave a tough time to the Indians during Asia Cup match recently. But studying the track and planning accordingly would have been a better option rather than just targeting the “hype” of opposition’s weakness.
The Afridi promotion :- Another example of Pakistan team playing on instincts rather than assessing the conditions. Afridi, hitting a quickfire 49 in the previous match, promoted himself at number 3 on a turning track which could be one of the worst tactical decisions. One needs to respect the spinners on such a track, concentrate on singles and doubles and pounce upon the loose deliveries. Afridi, who has never faced 100 balls in an innings ever in a career spanning 521 international matches, was never made for such situation. He had a torrid time at the crease and his bewildered face after every delivery he got beaten showed that a big blunder has been committed. He had promoted himself to release the pressure by hitting some quick runs and he ended up doing exactly opposite by scoring 8 runs off 14 balls faced.
Kohli masterclass :- Cometh the big-match, cometh the big-man.If the match has to be summarized, Virat Kohli was the main difference between the two sides. India were reeling at 23/3 when Virat Kohli was just at 1. He provided that gem of an innings which was exactly required at that time for India. He played risk-free strokes in the beginning , finding boundaries at times to keep the required run-rate intact. His classic cover drives made some good deliveries looked ordinary. Not a firm believer of sweep shots, Kohli unveiled this shot using it quite often as the situation (playing the spin) demanded. The Delhi-lad has established himself as an all round batsman suited to play any format of the game in any condition.
India would be worried regarding Dhawan and Raina’s form with the bat, but they do have a well balanced team which could tolerate some blunders and give the off-color players to strike back. A big learning for Pakistan team from this clash would be to study the conditions and field their team and play accordingly for the upcoming 2 big, tough matches .