India once again stood up under pressure in a crucial game; they have been doing this on the Sri Lankan soil since the Asia Cup. Whenever the chips are down, Dhoni and his boys live up to the occasion, and it was a repeat show against the Kiwis on Wednesday.
It was a Sehwag show all the way. The way Viru batted on a turf where everyone struggled just showed his class and the standard, which he has set for himself and his batting. Leaving Sehwag aside, the rest of the team contributed only about hundred runs. It just goes to show the quality of his batting. The rate at which Viru scored on a track where others struggled exhibits his class. For the younger members of his side, it was a showcase of how to bat in any given condition.
The youngsters once again failed to make the most of the opportunity they got. But Sehwag very kindly said, "you have to give them time", which is understandable. But, there should be some timeframe. The youngsters must remember that they need to consistently score in difficult conditions, and create an impression, which is going to last in everyone's mind.
The team management made the right decision to field four fast bowlers as the conditions at Dambulla have suited the seamers most. Once again, Praveen Kumar was the pick of the bowlers, and his success showed that genuine swing bowling can create problems for even those who have been brought up in such conditions.
The New Zealanders, after a good start in the tournament, lost their way. Their predecessors have also done the same in sub-continent conditions. Other than Ross Taylor, the New Zealand batting looked 'un-classy' and clearly lacked quality.
The final is going to be played between the two best teams in the tournament. And, I have a strong feeling it is going to be India's game. Sri Lanka will have to find ways to get Sehwag out. His ODI record show that his follow-up game after a hundred is not very good, and completely different from what he does in Test matches.
Viru also knows at the same time that India's batting will not look the same without his contribution and, so, the man in form will be up for another challenge in the final.