Tuesday, July 22, 2014

India Beats England and Registers Historic Win at Lord’s

           After the first test match at Trent Bridge ended in a draw, England wanted a lively pitch at Lord’s. Once after seeing the pitch at Lord’s, not only Indian players but England players too were surprised. The pitch was probably greener than the green color. It looked something like this.

                So obviously, everybody thought that it is game over for India in this test match.  No surprise there. India didn’t manage to win a test outside sub-continent in 3years. So many thought expecting India to win a test against England in Lords, that too on the most greenish wicket ever, would be foolish on their part. According to many cricket pundits, India was out of the game even before it started.  And as soon as England won the toss and elected to field first, that “many cricket pundits” opinion became the opinion of “almost all cricket pundits”.  But what happened after that toss is a history which every Indian cricket lover would be proud of.

                      India won this match by a comfortable margin of a 95runs. But scoreboard doesn’t always tell the original story. This match was a well fought battle between two sides except for the second session on the final day & it decided the winner. As a Indian cricket fan, the most satisfying point about this test match is that, India managed to win this test not because of the heroics of one or two star players but because for out of the skin performances of some ordinary players. It was a team effort. Any cricket fan with some knowledge about the game would know that a win which is a result of team effort is worth billions more than a win because of a star player (taking nothing away from star cricketers here). India had one ordinary player performing exceedingly well in each day of the test. Here it goes,

DAY 1: Rahane
The first couple of hours were very crucial. England bowlers were expected to rip-off Indian top order in that first test session of the test match. But Murali vijay and Pujara showed exceptional character and played extremely well to see off those two hours without much damage being done. Their scores may not indicate their contribution but they did their job so well and played a very important role in this India’s win. They built the platform but due to the failure of the middle order, India was in some sort of bother. But as they say, when the going gets tough, tough gets going… Ajinkya Rahane showed his mettle. He along with Bhuvaneshwar kumar guided India to a respectable score. Rahane scored a century and was undoubtedly star for India on day 1.

Day 2: Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
On second day, India ended their innings at 294.So by the time England started their innings, the pitch flattened a bit. Batting on this pitch on second day was not as difficult as it was on first day. England thought of putting up a considerable lead on the scoreboard. But, Bhuvaneshwar kumar of India had another plans. He broke the England top order with some precise swing bowling. G Balance, with his century, tried to study the ship for England but Bhuvaneshwar kumar with his 4 wickets was the star of the day for India. Next day he ended up taking another two wickets, making it a total of 6.

Day 3: Murali Vijay
England managed to score 319 in their first innings, taking a lead of 24. India started their second innings steadily. Dhawan and pujara got starts but couldn’t convert them into big and lost its way in the middle. Once again virat kohli failed, Rahane too got out cheaply. Vijay at the other batted sensibly and stayed rooted to the crease. He along with captain Dhoni tried to study the innings. India ended the day at 169/4 with vijay scoring 59*. If it was not for vijay’s innings, India would have collapsed. So it was Murali Vijay who was the star for India on Day 3.

Day 4: Ravinder Jadeja
India didn’t have best of the start on day 4. Dhoni got out for 19. Binny too perished for a duck. It was then that Ravindra Jadeja came to crease and partnered with murali vijay. Vijay was out for 95, missing a golden opportunity to score a century at lord’s. India’s score was 235/7 when vijay was out and the lead was just 211. England thought they had game in control but once again Bhuvangeshwar kamar had another plan. He stayed rooted to the crease at one end while jadeja went on hitting some valuable runs at the other end.  Jadeja was scoring at a strike rate of more than 100 while Bhuvaneshwar kumar played sensibly guiding the ball and picking up the gaps.  Together the couple managed to take lead past 300. Jadeja scored 68 of 57balls and got out and Bhuvaneshwar kumar managed to score another half century in the series. It was Ravinder Jadeja’s counter attacking innings which took the game away from England on fourth day. England started their second innings, and jadeja dismissed Robson early.  England ended the day at 105/4. For his 68 runs and 1wickt, Jadeja was the star for India on day 4.

Day 5: Ishanth Sharma
Overnight pair of MM Ali and Root played exceedingly well in the first session of the final day. The pair added valuable runs and took England closer to the win. It was just before lunch that Ishanth Sharma produced a wicket out of nowhere and the game once again tilted in India’s favor. Right after the lunch, it was complete mayhem. Ishanth Sharma made sure that England wickets fell like a pack of cards. He bowled amazing line and length. He got majority of his wickets of bouncers. English batsman just played into his trap. Ishanth ended up taking 7wickets in the second innings. He was star for India on the final day and won Man of the Match award, which he deserved 100%.

This was only India’s second win at Lord’s and it came after 28years. Entire India was happy because there are very few things in cricket which are as sweet as a win at lords.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Lookback at 2014 Football World Cup Semi-finals and Finals

Right from the very beginning of the 2014 football world cup, many people expected Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain and Netherlands to do well. Four out of these five teams, except Spain, lived up to the expectations by reaching semi finals.  The 2010 world champions, Spain’s early exit from the tournament came as a rude shock to every football fan. But, one must agree that they didn’t play to their potential which has resulted in Spain’s exit without even reaching the second round.

                         Remaining teams which include Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Netherlands played some very good football throughout the tournament.  Just before the semi-final match against Germany, Brazil lost two of its main players to injury which resulted in a complete one-sided semi final. Germany handed over a humiliating defeat to Brazil in that match. At the start of that semi final match, not many expected Brazil to win it but at the same time, not many would have expected Brazil to put up such a poor show on the field. It seemed as if, the Brazil players were clueless about what is happening on the field. They were completely out of the sink. This defeat would go down as Brazil’s worst in the history. This was on display again against Netherlands, in the match held to decide the 3rd team.

                      The second semi-final match between Argentina and Netherlands was a close game. Both played some amazing game and didn’t concede even a single goal to the opposition in the specified time. As there was no goal scored by either team in the extra time as well, the match went onto the penalty shootout. Argentina won the match and entered the final. Netherlands beat Brazil in the match held for 3rd team and settled at 3rd place.

                    In the final between Germany and Argentina, many expected Germany to win it. Argentina too had great support, but pundits predicted it would be Germany’s game.  Even in this match, no goal was scored by either team in the time so the match went to the extra time. It is here that Germany managed to score a goal, which ultimately resulted crowning them as world champions. Argentina players and fans were disappointed but they must feel proud of themselves for reaching so far.

                               One thing is sure. Argentina had Messi, Brazil had Neymar but Germany had team, which resulted in Germany winning the world cup. Congrats Germany, the 2014 football world cup champions.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Biggest Disappointments of 2014 Football World Cup

Before the start of 2014 fifa world cup, many people expected some top teams and top players to perform exceedingly well. But, as and when the tournament started a lot of unexpected things and events occurred on the football field. Current world champion Spain’s early exit from the tournament came as a shocker to not only their fans but also for all football fans across the globe.  Many people expected Spain to perform way better than what it actually did. But what is life if everything turnout according to our wishes.

                       2014 world cup in Brazil started off with a bang. The opening ceremony was nothing short of spectacular or mesmerizing.  Everyone who follows football keenly knows that, all these glitters before the games can only draw the attention of the world but for the tournament to be a success there has to be some really interesting and hard-fought games on the football field.

             In the initial stages of the tournament, Spain’s loss to Netherlands was a big disappointment.  Every football fan knows that, on a given day, a game can be anybody’s. But the manner in which Spain lost the game to Netherlands, 5-1, was humiliating. Then another loss has led the way for Spain’s early exit from the 2014 football world cup. The Next big disappointment was the exit of England team from the tournament. Before the start of the tournament, not many have believed that this England team would win the world cup but they expected it to play well & just hoped for some miracle to happen. That didn’t happen and they too had to leave the tournament with their heads held low.

                          Coming to the players’ performance, many star players who were riding high on expectations didn’t perform to their caliber. This once again goes on to prove that, no matter how good your form is in club level, it takes a lot of hard work to convert it into at international level. Some of the big names which were the reason for the disappointment of many fans were Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Wayne Rooney of England, Iker Casillas of Spain, Pepe of Portugal, Diego Costa of Spain.  A lot was expected from these but except for few glimpses of stunning show every now and then, here and there, all they could offer to their fans and football fans was disappointment.  Tournament hasn’t finished yet, so let’s just hope the remaining lot continues to do the good work on the field.