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Yuvi, Mahi take India past the finish line

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March 09, 2011

21:06  Scorecard

Yuvraj has taken India safely past the finish line for the second time in two matches after early hiccups.

Much-panned in the run up to the world cup, he has quietly played himself into form under the critics' radar in the last three matches.

Not only has he been India's best bowler in this tournament, he has also eschewed his natural tendency to be rash and has concentrated on taking the team past the finish line in the last two matches, albeit against the associate nations.

At the end of the day, though they were good in patches, India would go away from this game thinking it was not the best preparation for the crucial encounter against South Africa. Especially in the bowling department.

That should be a great match.

That's it from us here today. Good night!
20:54  Scorecard

Much-panned in the run up to the world cup, Yuvraj Singh has quietly played himself into form under the critics' radar in the last three matches.

Not only has he been India's best bowler in this tournament, he has also eschewed his natural tendency to be rash and has concentrated on taking the team past the finish line in the last two matches, albeit against the associate nations.

That's among the few things India can tick off after this match.

But the biggest worry -- the bowling -- continues...
20:48  Scorecard

Dhoni and Yuvraj bring some much needed sanity to the batting.

The target is now down 20 more and India should be home without further hiccups.

But after that begining from Sachin and Viru, this match was like a fashion parade where the main act follows after the show-stoppers have made their exit.
20:10  Scorecard

Bukhari bowls Gambhir around his legs.

There is some confusion about how the bails came off, but in the end Gambhir has to go.

19:58  Scorecard

Soon after the break, Yuvi and Gauti bit off a neat little piece of the ask.

Gambhir first took on Seelaar, skipping down the track to hoist him first over mid -off and then over midwicket for two fours.

Yuvraj then showed what he is capable of when he is in flow, first leaning into one from Borren that was outside off stump to crash it to the extra cover fence.

Two balls later, he repeated the act, this time more savage than the first one.

He rounded a hat-trick of extra-cover boundaries in the next over from Cooper as a lot of pressure is taken off.

19:44  Scorecard

India are 101/4 in 16 overs after a blazing 69-run opening partnership between Sachin and Sehwag.

So, this is not a bad time to ask: Does Team India lack the killer punch?

Have your say!
19:35  Scorecard

That one from Borren broke in by a fraction and Kohli, shaping up for a drive, plays it on to his stumps.

India have contrived to make a match of this here.

Yuvi walks in.
19:32  Scorecard

India could have been in major trouble had Borren collected a throw cleanly.

Kohli hit one behind square and the two Delhi boys completed the first run quickly. Kohli turned for the second, saw Gambhir's back to him, and returned to his crease.

Gambhir then turned and took off on his own.

But for Borren's spill that would have been disaster!

In the next over off Seelaar, Kohli releases all the pent up pressure with a savage pull, picking one from way outside the off stump and putting it in the mid wicket fence.

19:16  Scorecard

Sachin goes! Skips down looking to loft Seelaar into the sight screen, but Kruger from long on runs in quickly to pouch the skier.

Seelar has gotten both Indian openers and as i type this, adds Yusuf with a pat back caught and bowled.

Off the last ball of the previous over, Borren bowled one on Yusuf's pads.

The batsman picked it on the volley, and effortlessly scooped it over the square leg fence for six!

Seelar has silenced this Kotla crowd in a matter of minutes!

Meanwhile, up on the site: Does Team India lack the killer punch?

Have your say!
19:06  Scorecard

Sehwag toyed a little further with Seelaar before doing a, well, Sehwag.

He skipped down the wicket to hammer the first for six over mid-off. Then as the bowler varied the length, he stayed back in the crease and helped it past short third man for four.

Next ball, he stepped out and slashed one to point. GONE!! (39 off 26)

But if you are a Dutch fan dont be excited, because replacing Sehwag is...

Yusuf Pathan

First ball is a full toss, duly swatted away for four to mid wicket.

19:00  Scorecard


Doeschate digs one short to Virender Sehwag on a flat Kotla wicket!

It sails over mid wicket for six.
18:56  Scorecard

Knowing that this won't last long at this rate, Borren decides to let the batsmen generate the pace by bringing on the slow Pieter Seelaar.

The openers traded singles before Sachin helped it past fine leg for another four.

At the other end, ten Doeschate carries on. Some courage.
18:52  Scorecard

After a couple of wides, Sehwag slashed one to third man for a single, bringing the Real Tendulkar back against the Dutch imposter.

First up, he leaned into one that was wide of the off stump and caressed it through the ring for four.

Then, he slammed a fuller one again through covers. The Dutch fielders just stood and watched it whizz past them.

He rounded off the over with a lofted on drive for four.

Sehwag then faced up to Bukhari, and hit one that landed on good length past the bowler for four.

He then danced down to loft it above mid on but edged it to the square leg boundary.

Another slap-pull was just wide of an outstretched Eric for four again.

These two are in a wicked mood today. Will take some stopping.
18:37  Scorecard

It is safe to assume that the Dutch would never before have taken the field accompanied by drumrolls, dhols, and counches blaring, with over 40,000 throats ripping it out in unison.

But that is what happens in India everytime Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag take the field.

Suitably dazed, they got off to a shaky start with the ball, with Viru taking a four and a brace of a wayward Bukhari.

Ryan ten Doeschate came on at the other end and made the elementary mistake of bowling to Sachin's pads to be promptly despatched for two fours.

Soon, the public announcement system belts out 'Dilli, Dilli' from No One Killed Jessica.

18:31  Scorecard

Sach and Viru are out in the middle.

If India win this, they will go three points clear of South Africa at the top of the table ahead of their crucial encounter.

1) Can India also boost their run rate in the process?

2) Also, where will Yusuf Pathan, who the skipper thinks needs some time in the middle, bat?
18:02  Zaheer cleans up the innings.

Netherlands all out for 189 thanks to 42 runs from the batting powerplay.
17:40  Scorecard

Borren finally falls, miscuing a skier to Nehra at fine leg off Zaheer.

Can the Dutch bowlers now get them to 200 and give themselves a shot at India's batting?
17:35  Scorecard

This is one aspect India would do well to iron out.

While the West Indies and South Africa shot down the Dutch for 115 and 120 respectively when they opened up their batting order, India have continued with their struggle to wrap up tailenders.

Borren and Bukhari have now added 30 in three powerplay overs.
17:25  Scorecard

If one had to choose the worst of this very disappointing Dutch display today, it has to be the running between the wickets.

Their top order survived some ridiculous calling and the middle and lower orders have gone looking for non-existent runs.

A glaring aspect has been the lack of communication between the batsmen in the middle.

Frequently the batsman has hit the ball and taken off while the non-striker looks at the ball.

It was again on display, this time to fatal effect, as Kruger, who had hit a four of the first ball of the batting powerplay, hit one straight to Kohli at cover and ran.

Borren, meanwhile, has had enough. Immediately after the wicket, he takes Chawla for two sixes, taking the score to 164. How many more can he take, as Nehra returns.
17:19  Scorecard

Skipper Peter Borren, who had asked his boys to play brave cricket, is the only one displaying it in any measure, getting to 11 off 16 so far to give him the highest strike rate in this disappointing Dutch innings.

Earlier in the 39th over, Chawla pitched one so ridiculosly short that the batsman could have swung twice before the ball came to him.

Kervezee probably was bamboozled by what a dolly was coming his way and mistimed his slap-pull straight to Harbhajan at deep mid-wicket more in confusion than due to any guile from the bowler.

Watching the ridiculous ball and the result, one hack in the press box chortled: 'Tomorrow's headline today: Piyush vindicates Dhoni's decision'

And it really has been that sort of performance from Piyush. Some good stuff, and some ridiculous stuff, but two wickets to take home.

The eighth wicket pair of Borren and Kruger are pottering around and will most likely take their team past 150, which is a good 30 runs more than what they got against the Safs and the Windies.

That aparkling performance against England looks like it happened in a different era.
16:56  Scorecard

Ever since India broke that third partnership between Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Cooper, Dhoni has kept at least seven men inside the ring for all bowlers. After Yuvi and Zaheer's double strike, de Grooth and Kervezee found themselves with attacking fields and quickly rotated bowling changes.

The pressure mounted and as was bound to happen the two set off for a non-existent run. Chawla fired a throw and Dhoni whipped off the bails with a diving de Grooth well short of his ground.

How quickly can India wrap this one up?
16:35  Scorecard

Before this match, asked what particular issue he would like to iron out in this match, Dhoni spoke about not letting a new batsman settle down.

He has done spectacularly well on that front.

At the fall of the third wicket, he brought on Nehra, who got a wicket off the first ball of that spell.

He then introduced Zaheer at the other end, and the ace promptly traps Bas Zuiderent plumb in front.

The Dutch have now lost three wickets for two runs in 13 balls.

16:25  Scorecard

Yuvraj gets the Dutch Tendulkar.

He flighted on that pitched short, and ten Doeschate (11 off 28) skipped down the wicket to the pitch of the ball, but did not quite manage to middle it.

Zaheer, who was a bit wide at long off, quickly made ground to come under it in time.

As the new batsman walked in, Dhoni brought bac Nehra, who had bowled only one over till then. Off the first ball of his second spell, Nehra delivered his bread and butter ball angled across the right hander, and Cooper, who had played a good hand till then, went fishing for it and edged it to Dhoni.
In their short stint together at the crease, Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Cooper played like they and their openers operated on two entirely different pitches against different opposition.

The two put on 35 in nine overs, with plenty of singles around the field and were quick to spot the bad balls, despatching them to vacant spaces.

The Dutch needed on of these two to stay on for longer, but now they will have to start from the scratch.
16:06  Scorecard

While Dutch the openers repeatedly found the fielders against India's spinners, and tied themselves up, Cooper and Doeschate are finding the gaps and are working the field.

The two have now added 19 in five overs, but have been looking to get the ball between the fielders and rotate the strike.

Raina update: In the 23rd over, Sachin came back on, as Raina left the field.

But immdiately after Piyush finished over number 24, Raina came back again in his place.
15:58  Scorecard

In the 21st over, Cooper slashed one on the off-side, and took off without looking at Ryan, and Suresh Raina, subbing for Sachin, pounced on it and fired a flat throw, at the wrong end.

Cooper makes his ground by the time Yuvi can relay it to Dhoni.

Raina has now done some bit of fielding in all of India's matches in place of someone in the XI. Wonder how long before teams catch on to this ploy...
15:52  Scorecard

Yuvraj Singh comes in in the 19th over, and after a few looseners, looped one to pitch on the off stump and straighten. Barresi was trapped in front and was given out leg before.

Barresi thought it fit to take it upstairs to Babloo, who quickly upheld the on-field umpire's decision.

The Dutch are 68/2 in 19 now. This has been a rather dull first third of the match so far, the Dutch approach totally in contradiction with their skipper's declaration of playing brave cricket.

The top order has been content with nudging and nurdling the spinners with no intent, and they weren't even asked too many questions by the Indian bowlers.

Doeschate walks in. Can he live up to the huge expectation that rides on him everytime he steps for this Dutch side?
15:34  Scorecard

The much-criticised Piyush gets his man with his much-hyped ball, the googly.

He hadn't bowled it in the first 13 balls of his spell and just when the Dutch openers had gotten into a false comfort zone, he unleashed it against Eric, who could do nothing but stand admiring it as it crashed into off and middle.

Good stuff from Piyush. He has also flighted the ball well and landed it in mostly good lengths in his first three overs now.

Tom Cooper comes in.

15:29  Scorecard

In Piyush's second over (14th) the openers decided they had seen enough of this Indian bowling attack to shift to the next gear.

The standout shot was a superbly executed late cut by Eric, who almost cut it from the 'keeper's glove, for a four to raise the Holland 50.

This shot was bookended by six singles off both the spinners.

These two are now getting busy and are looking to score off every ball.

15:22  Scorecard

Ahead of the match, Ryan ten Doeschate, when asked about the Indian team, rightly pinpointed that India have not clicked as a bowling unit and that his batsmen will look to exploit it.

The way the Dutch openers have played India's spinners -- albeit on a slow track -- looks like they don't belong to the same team as ten Doeschate.

Ditto with regard to skipper Borren's remark that they will play brave cricket. Nothing of that sort on display here.

Piyush starts with a good first over, where he got some turn and varied it well.

Eric went down to sweep one, and as the batsmen ran, India asked for a review.

Not Out. India's poor run with reviews continues.
15:11  Scorecard

Yusuf and Bhajji have kept it very tight and have kept the openers subdued.

In the ninth over, Barresi skipped down the track to Bhajji only to get a leading edge that landed well clear of the fielder.

In the next over from Pathan, Barresi picked one up from outside the off stump and pulled it flat past a diving Yuvi at midwicket.

The first 10 overs have belong to neither team. The Dutch batsmen have not shown any initiative and have been circumpsect against spin. And India's spinners, while they have been disciplined, have not been really imaginative in this first period.
14:59  Scorecard

In the fifth over, Zaheer Khan went around the wicket for Eric, who took advantage of the angle to play him off his pads to the mid-wicket fence.

Two balls later Zaheer kept it outside the off-stump, but was marginally short, as Eric, tapped it through the vacant slip for four.

This shot brings four every time it is done right, but also brings along with it the risk of the batsman chopping it on to his stumps if the ball climbs on him, the way Amla was dismissed against England.

In the sixth, Barresi played out a maiden from Pathan. Either he was studying Pathan really closely or he is damn scared of spin.

Dhoni brought in Harbhajan at the other end, and the offie straight away forced a leading edge off Eric, which did not carry to the bowler.

It is now spin from both ends well inside the mandatory powerplay. The Dutch too seem very circumspect against spin to begin with, while they look to use the pace of the ball off Zaheer and Nehra

Dhoni has used four bowlers in the first seven overs.
14:46  Scorecard

Dhoni started off with a lone slip for both Zaheer and Nehra. After one over from each, he prompty brought both the fielders in catching postions in front of the square, on either side of the wicket.

There is not much in this pitch for the bowlers and whenever they have even marginally strayed from the tight stump-to-stump length, they have been punished. The best ball of this period, the last ball of Nehra' first over, was more because of the way the bowler angled it across the right-hander than because of any assistance from the pitch.

As the Dutch eased to 16/0 in 3 overs, Dhoni brought on Yusuf Pathan, who, surprising, got the most turn off the pitch during practice yesterday.

Pathan took the pace off the ball and the two openers got a good look in at him, as he rushed through his first over.

The Dutch need a massive score here to avoid being overrun by the Indian batting line up.
14:33  Eric Szwarczynski and Wesley Barresi open the batting for Holland.

Unless Zaheer cleans him up real quick and spares me the trouble, the first mentioned batsman shall be referred to as Eric for the duration he is in the middle.

Here's the scorecard
14:27  The teams are out in the middle for their respective national anthems.

While it works really well in football, it just doesn't seem to wash when done here.

This is partly due to the fact while in football and hockey, immediately after the anthems, the players -- all 22 of them -- run in to their postions all pumped up. Whereas here, the side batting first walks off (here again the openers walk off too, to come back to the pitch five minutes later, and the fielding side ambles around before walking away to their postions at liesure.

Total anti-climax this anthem routine is for cricket.
14:08  Nehra drafted in place of Munaf:  The Netherlands have won the toss, and in a bid to rectify their poor showing in the last two matches, have chosen to bat first.

India have made a straight swap, bringing in Delhi boy Nehra in place of Munaf. Dhoni had hinted yesterday that Nehra might get a look in. The skipper reckons Piyush needs his bit of time in the middle, while he says Ashwin is 'mentally stronger'. He endorses Ashwin further, saying he has full confidence that the offie will come in hit his straps straightaway whichever match he plays in.

Could this also be read as a last chance for Piyush?