A game of uncertainties - that's cricket!
With the expected, some unexpected things too happened at Jamshedpur, writes Atul Sondhi.india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 12:36 IST
Cricket is a funny game.
It is the unwritten code that the unexpected happens when you least expect it.
Commentators have often talked about the glorious uncertainties of cricket.
The match at Jamshedpur had its fair share of the unexpected, and the expected was just not palatable.
Let's have a look at the unanticipated happenings at Jamshedpur.
Sixth wicket partnership failed to do the trick
Before Jamshedpur, whenever Dhoni had been involved in a sixth wicket century partnership, India always emerged victorious. The earlier instances have made it quite clear that whenever India had a good partnership after the top order collapse, it invariably crippled the opposition.
Century partnerships for sixth wicket
(Since World Cup 2003, excluding Jamshedpur ODI)
The sixth-wicket partnership has been the backbone of many-a-lower order fight backs. And this time too, Dhoni and Powar threatened to take the match away from England with a terrific partnership of 107 runs.
Rare failure from Raina and Yuvraj
Men with the magical Midas touch, for once, failed to click. Maybe Raina is a better finisher than builder. In this series, his most elegant knocks have come at the fall of the fourth wicket, and in difficult situations.
But, in Jamshedpur, his promotion in the batting order, even though by just one slot, may have disturbed the routine task. Both the in-form batsmen, Yuvraj and Raina failed to click and this made all the difference in the end.
Flintoff's absence lucky for England
It's tough fighting for a losing cause. For a player of Flintoff's caliber, a defeat is a defeat. If England were crippled without Trescothick and Vaughan, they were to be wiped out without Flintoff.
But the series threw its biggest surprise as England, without its leader at the helm, went on to prove a point in a war that had already been lost. Maybe Flintoff can continue to advice his troops from the sidelines.
England again fail to complete 50 overs, but with different result
One of the biggest criticism of England in this series has been their inability to finish their full quota of overs. In all the previous ODIs, they failed to bat till the end.
Although in the second, third and fourth ODIs, the visitors could not bat for the last 16 balls, this will always prove to be a psychological boost to the rivals for the matches to come.
If you can take ten wickets of the opposition in an inning, the cracks in batting become all the more evident. India did it four times, as they clinched the series.
England don't play 50 overs
This time too, England's quota was left incomplete, but with a different result. For a change, rather than a meek surrender, the English grit was displayed.
In a series that looked like becoming one-way-traffic before Jamshedpur, some smart moves were also made
Disappointing Venue for India
Among all the grounds in India, the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur is the most jinxed. Six losses in 8 games here before Wednesday gave India a loss percentage of 75. Things have not improved for sure.
Worst home grounds for India (Minimum 5 matches)
Losing so many matches can't be a coincidence. However, a complacent India, not expected to put up a great fight, did not really disappoint.
Does law of averages apply to Dhoni?
In a calculated move to woo his fans, Dhoni was sent as the opener this time that clicked. Although he failed against Pakistan, this time he was duty-bound to perform. The son-of-the-soil was determined to make amends, and did it in style.
Even as the top order crippled like ninepins, Dhoni kept on the pressure. Of his 96 runs, 62 were scored in the areas of cover, long-off, long-on and mid-wicket, thus showing his disdain for England bowlers.
Dhoni's partnership with Powar was a classic example of playing with caution when the innings were in a turmoil and then getting into the full gear once they had settled. Initially, Dhoni played at the same pace as Powar, but went full blast after the partnership had crossed 50.
Partnership Progress of Dhoni and Powar (For 6th wicket)
Sehwag and Kaif did not disappoint
In keeping up with their dismal performance, it would have been a surprise had Sehwag or Kaif managed to deliver. Together, they have mustered a meagre 102 runs in their ten innings combined in this series. Compare this with Pathan' s show.
Two big guns versus a bowling all-rounder (In the series against England)
Keeping both in the side while resting in-form players was a luxury India could ill-afford. Lack of balance in selection proved expensive in the end.
Ultimately, India paid the price for their complacency and rendered England the hope of a 2-4 verdict. The visitors nonetheless will fancy their chances with Dhoni not playing the final encounter.