It was a beautiful day. The combination of the blue and the green in the atmosphere was simply brilliant. The light sky blue. The sea of blue in the audience. The luscious green grass. It was beautiful.
I know. I know. This is not a poetry. This is supposed to be a blog on cricket. But I just can’t help myself. Finally, no rains. That has to be appreciated, yes? It was a very nice day for cricket. Not really, when it comes to the number of runs on the board. But, it was a good day.
So here’s what happened. India won the toss and sent the Proteas to bat. A pretty good decision. Another good call - Bringing in R Ashwin to the team. The word out there is that India Decimate South Africa to reserve a berth in the semi-finals. The South African really looked out of sorts. India won. By Eight Wickets. And 72 balls to spare.
When India walked in, they had a target of 192. The openers began their innings with a maiden over and then unleashed their batting prowess on the already shattered South Africans. Shikhar Dhawan’s 78 along with Virat Kohli’s 76 was more than enough to storm their team into the semi-finals of the ICC Championship Trophy 2017. And all this happened at the Oval. The knock knocked South Africa out of the tournament.
It was a pity that Dhawan missed his century. But he did manage to make himself the leading run-scorer in the tournament so far.
Earlier in the day, when the South Africans came into bat, the sun was shining and it looked wonderful. ( yes I’m done with nature talk). The atmosphere was intense. From the very beginning, it looked like the batsmen were under pressure. The run rate hovered between three and four. This by itself looked rather dismal from the Proteas point of view. And then the wickets began to tumble. Literally. Now it’s very easy to sit in front of the television set and comment about how they buckled under pressure. They were under tremendous pressure, without a doubt. How else can you explain three run-outs?
Their first wicket fell when they had scored 76 runs. Though the run rate was low, Quinton De Kock had scored 53 and Amla, 35. By the time the last wicket well, there were only 191 runs on the board. That’s ten wickets in a span of 115 runs. The number of dot balls was so high, the batsmen were forced to scramble for the ones and the twos. A couple of bad calls, some excellent fielding by the Indians and wickets fell.
Full credit to the Indian bowlers as well. The fiasco against Sri Lanka may now be forgiven and forgotten. They did very well to restrict the South Africans to a dismal score in what could have been a close match.
End of the day, despite it being a very one-sided match, the army of Indian Fans walked out of the Oval Happy and thrilled. Everything clicked for the Indians.