I am not a big astrology fan but the way last evening went for Lendl Simmons, someone was surely controlling the stars for him.
It doesn’t normally happen once, but with Simmons it happened twice in the same innings that he was dismissed off a no-ball. I was most disappointed that one of those came from Ravichandran Ashwin. I respect him a lot as a cricketer and as a competitor, and therefore it was tough to accept that he over-stepped at such a crucial juncture.
I am not blaming one man but merely outlining that he is our match-winner and it can get tough for the captain when something like this happens.
If that wasn’t enough, young Hardik Pandya repeated the mistake of over-stepping when Simmons could have been dismissed on 50. And later on, he was caught in the deep by Ravindra Jadeja, who unfortunately stepped on the boundary rope. It just didn’t seem to be India’s day.
They lost the toss and batted first at a venue where chasing is the order of the day. Then they posted 192 which can be considered a par score with small boundaries and a rocket outfield. Above all, there was one cricketing element which decimated India’s spin advantage – dew.
MS Dhoni is a good captain but he is at his best when his spinners are in play. He likes the hustle-bustle that his spinners create, rushing through the overs and thereby controlling the game. I could see the tension on his face when Jadeja was bowling half-trackers with that wet ball. I wasn’t surprised to see Dhoni turning to Virat Kohli for bowling. I was also not surprised to note that Ashwin’s quota of overs wasn’t completed.
Batsmen fell short
In the end, it was a game where the quality of cricket wasn’t A-class. The Indian batting could have flexed more muscles at such a high-scoring venue. Virat batted well but I don’t know how to look at Rahane’s 40 off 35 balls. I won’t want to be judgemental of his innings as that would be unfair on a guy playing his first game of the tournament.
I strongly feel the Indian team management erred by benching Shikhar Dhawan. If ever there was a venue to play him, it was the Wankhede Stadium. This was a flat pitch with small boundaries, something that would have excited him. In any case, I am never a big fan of giving a new guy a game in such an important fixture unless due to injury.
I was happy for KKR team-mate and good friend Andre Russell. He is a proud West Indian and I have always maintained that there is a method to his madness. Next time you see him bat just notice how low he gets when he is about to face the ball, and his head is still as a mountain and his hands just punch through the ball. All of this comes in wonderful synchronisation of human movement. I am sure West Indies would be proud of the fact that they won without any significant heroics from Chris Gayle. This can be a huge confidence-booster for these men.
I was angry and sad at the news of the flyover collapse in Kolkata. Someone somewhere has played dirty. I hope those responsible for this tragedy are punished. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.