India beat Ireland by 8 wickets on Tuesday to register their ninth consecutive World Cup win - an Indian record, if one takes the 2011 edition into consideration as well. Skipper MS Dhoni overtook Sourav Ganguly, who had led India to 8 successive wins in the 2003 World Cup.
Dhoni, usually referred to as 'Captain Cool', was in pro-active mood on Monday and was shouting instructions regularly. He also didn't hold back in applauding his bowlers and fielders after every good ball and save. The stadium being sparsely populated was another major reason for Dhoni's mic instructions being so clearly audible.
William Porterfield dispatches the ball for a four after Ravindra Jadeja gives him enough room to cut. The next ball is aimed at the stumps, but the line is short. Fortunately, Porterfield decided to defend this one. The third ball is short again and results in a single.
Jadeja bowls a slower one to Paul Stirling, but keeps it full. Dhoni is impressed and urges Jadeja to make him play on the front foot, "Badhiya. Aage se maarne de."
The next ball is short again and Stirling hammers it over the midwicket boundary for a six. Dhoni immediately takes him off and brings Suresh Raina into the attack.
Lesson learnt: The boss is always right.
Ed Joyce is new in the crease and has just faced 7 balls so far. He scored a century in Ireland's last game against Zimbabwe and the stage is set at 91/1 for him to score some brisk runs.
Raina bowls a quicker one first up and Ajinkya Rahane fields the ball in the covers. Dhoni then advises Rahane, "Halka peeche reh sakta hai Jinx, ye dheere nahi khelta." He was trying to tell Rahane that Joyce isn't known to takes singles by nudging the ball softly.
Raina bowled the next one a little slower, but directed it at the stumps. Result: Joyce tried to cut, missed and saw his middle stump pegged back.
Ashwin flighted a delivery and Porterfield came down the pitch looking to tonk the ball. He checked himself in the last second and just blocked the delivery.
Dhoni was alert about Porterfield's aggressive instincts and asked his fielder to be ready for an aerial hit.
"Ye upar se dekh raha hai. Halka upar rehna, tere paas aa sakta hai."
Porterfield didn't come on strike again in that over and Dhoni's wisdom remained untested.
Raina was the standout bowler in this match and complimented R Ashwin well by bowling wicket-to-wicket. He didn't give Porterfield any room to open his hands.
Porterfield drove a ball towards cover, where substitute Ambati Rayudu was fielding. Rayudu managed to stop the ball and prevented a run, but him waiting for the ball to come to him didn't go down well with Dhoni.
"Rayudu, jaag ke zara. Iska pair dekh kaise hil raha hai. Uske hisaab se anticipate kar. Volleyball ki tarah khada hua hai beech mein."
Dhoni is a livewire on the field and expects similar commitment from his fielders.
Niall O'Brien was going great guns and he kept guiding Raina down the leg side throughout the over.
After the 5th ball, Dhoni wanted Mohd Shami, who was fielding at fine leg, to stand finer. "Ye waala peeche khada ho jaayega, udhar maarne ke liye." Shami didn't listen and O'Brien sweeped the next ball for a four.
Dhoni sure is a master tactician and adept at reading players.