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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

After the grind, Super Six should be a romp

India?s amazing wins against England and Pakistan make Super Six contests look like a romp.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2003 18:26 IST
Binoo K. John
Binoo K. John

India’s astounding wins in a row against England and Pakistan makes the Super Six contests look like a romp. India carries 8 points to the Super six — four for victory against qualifier (Zimbabwe/ England/ Pakistan) — and 2 each for victories against a non-qualifying team.

Group B looks a picture of comparative tranquility since Kenya has edged in to take its proud place most probably beside South Africa and/or New Zealand and/or Sri Lanka.

Of the three league round matches every Super Six team has to play, there is a chance of victory for India in two at least, thus paving the way for a semi-final berth.

The calculation of points in the league rounds need to be re-thought now that serious anomalies are evident. If a team boycotts a match for political reasons (New Zealand, England) it loses four points but nothing happens to its net run rate.

For match boycotts a run-rate formula too should be worked out like in other sport. A team boycotting a match should also be given a negative run rate for that particular match. Otherwise in a tournament like this where the net-run rate matters a lot, there is bound to be faulty mathematical and logical conclusions derived.

A chirping confidence which wasn’t there when India started its campaign in the World Cup is now in place. Those who carped against the captaincy, the opening pair, the dropping of Anil Kumble and generally against everything that the Indian think-tank did has now been silenced.

A reporter who wrote an incredibly shabby piece against the dropping of Anil Kumble and can claim credit for his return to the team, dismissed Kumble in one paragraph in his report on the Pakistan match, with nay an apology.

Only Dinesh Mongia’s position in the team a bit suspect. But that is hardly a problem since almost everyone in the team apart from the spinners (and Mongia) has touched form. That is crucial during a tournament the format of which is planned for a gradual build-up to the final.

The quickies are firing on all cylinders, the middle order looks as unbreakable as a dam across a mighty river, the opening batting pair of look-alikes good enough to tear apart even Glenn McGrath and Bret Lee.

The Indian team’s coming to form after a dismal beginning is also a good sign. This coming-of-form has also been accompanied by some crucial strategic moves which shows that the John Wright-Ganguly pair has finally worked out something.

The promotion of Mohammed Kaif up the order was one such master-stroke, Kaif had to be given time in the middle and he made use of the opportunity, not flinching one bit against Shoaib Akhtar and two other aging quickies.

It is difficult to comprehend why the slow-bowlers are not being brought in earlier by many captains when the quickies are going for runs.

It is probably due to the mighty stature of the fast bowlers (unlike that of spinners all of whom have been dropped frequently like Kumble and Saqlain Mushtaq), that makes it difficult for the captain to take them off before 10 overs.

Pakistan went without Saqlain for the second crucial match and lost the match too. Saqlain can bowl with the hard ball as well and could have contained the rampaging Indians.

The India-Pakistan match was yet another indication that the first ten overs have now become most crucial in a one-day match.

In that clash between the fast bowler and the opening batsman there is the touch of the gladiatorial. Shoaib Akhtar charging in, Sachin Tendulkar strike-ready with his heavy bat, nothing about him betraying the sense of timing, grace and power his bat can generate.

Apart from Australia, it is India which looks most formidable as the Super Six lineup will be decided in the next couple of days.

All the other team have to come back from the brink and in any case do not have the resources that India can now summon. South Africa is in tatters due to dressing room dissension and its all-rounders and pace attack having collapsed.

Both Pakistan and the Indian team management have to be complimented for playing the match in the highest traditions of sport. They exchanged team flags, shook hands, they fought within the rules, and for once during the match, years of enmity was forgotten.

India might have won. But for sports and for cricket it was a greater triumph and that too when war is in the air.

First Published: Mar 02, 2003 15:35 IST

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