Super 8 Round-Up: India vs. West Indies

Both India and West Indies needed a win to keep their chances in this tournament alive at more than a statistical improbability. Once again, it was the former World Twenty20 champions India who played a poor game of cricket and thus have effectively booked an early flight home. Just as in the previous edition, where back-to-back losses against England and South Africa led to our non-statistical elimination, we now rely on a rickety-bridge sequence of events to occur for us to have a chance. More on that later.

Starting off with poor team selection…

When captains stick to players who have failed, they are putting a vote of confidence in those players. This is generally a good thing to do, except if the player you are putting your confidence on is as pathetic a Twenty20 player as Ravindra Jadeja. I singled Jadeja out for a bashing in the previous match and I will do so here, again. However, today Dhoni takes the blame for selecting him in the first place. Once again, Jadeja made his effect felt in the match in all facets of the game. He started off with a misfield off a simple pick-up in the circle early in the game. He then went on to drop Chanderpaul, who added only 9 more runs but more importantly allowed a huge opening partnership to set the platform for a late onslaught.

When he came on to bowl, Jadeja leaked 27 runs in his 2 overs, which puts his total at about 60 runs in the 4 overs he has bowled in this edition’s Super 8. His first over featured 2 sixes in the first four balls, which coupled with the fact that he had given 6 sixes off his last 9 balls in the previous match, meant that Jadeja has given 8 sixes off his last 13 balls. That’s better than a six every other ball. That’s 4 sixes an over. Yet, he gets selected by Dhoni.

Finally, Jadeja was issued a vote of no-confidence by Dhoni when Harbhajan was sent in ahead of him in the batting order. A good decision, too, because Bhajji actually knows how to wield the long handle. Jadeja couldn’t even clear the infield when he was batting. In fact, he couldn’t even hit the ball in the air when we needed it to rain sixes. Sure, you don’t have the talent or strength to smack a maximum, but what about intent?

To summarize this tirade, please get Ravindra Jadeja the hell out of the Twenty20 squad. I don’t care if  you select him for ODIs or Tests but this guy should be way behind in the pecking order. India would have been so much better off by picking a real bowler and not going in with three specialists only. Sure, there’s the thought that our batsmen would be skittled out by the short deliveries (which they were. But if 7 batsmen are going to get out to bouncers, the 8th one isn’t likely to play a game-changer. Jadeja contributes nothing with the bat or ball. We should have played Piyush or Vijay Kumar.

Batting continues to struggle against short bowling…

The Indian team has NO EXCUSE for this one. They could have played the “surprise” card at the World Twenty20 in England last year when we were bounced out by the West Indies and then England. However, we’ve now had 10 months to fix it. We’ve known that the Twenty20 World Cup is going to be in the West Indies for a couple of years, now. We’ve known that we are shit against short bowling. But instead of doing anything, we prepare for the fiesta that is the IPL and its flurry of flat tracks. The fact that we don’t have a single pace bowler who can hit 140k’s is embarrassing in itself. The fact that international grade cricketers can’t pull the ball is pathetic. How the hell are these guys going to play ODIs and Tests outside of the subcontinent?

The mathematical uncertainty…

There is a tiny ray of hope for India to qualify to the next round. First, Australia will need to wallop both Sri Lanka and West Indies. Then, we will need to wallop Sri Lanka. This will put Australia at 6 points and India, West Indies and Sri Lanka at 2 points. However, for this to happen, Sri Lanka will need to be destroyed by both Australia and us since their NRR is at an imposing +2.850 compared t our -1.575.  I’ll post a mathematical update at the completion of the Australia-Sri Lanka game in the event that Australia win. To recap, if Sri Lanka win, India is mathematically eliminated. This will put Sri Lanka at 2 wins and since Australia and West Indies both have 1 win each and play each other, one of them will have 2 wins, which is more than India can manage.

Australia go in with 5 front-line bowlers. India went in with 3. </discussion>

enjoying the hot heat

It has been a while since I updated this blog, but that does not mean I have not been eating mangoes in plentiful proportions (not that there is any direct connection between those two events). The last few days have been quite “busy” where business contains large expanses of time where I’m lazing around doing nothing in front of the television.

First and foremost, I want to give a shout out to the gym here at my parent’s new apartment. It is quite possibly better than the gym at Rice, though probably containing a fewer number of equipment. This is probably because the gym just opened and hence all the equipment is in mint condition! Anyhow, what this means is that I’m working out pretty much 4-5 days a week (the gym is closed on Mondays). What this also means is that I’m waking up at an unreasonable hour for a vacation (between 8.30am and 9.30am). Oops. Need to work on that and maybe workout in the evening.

I also played basketball at school last Tuesday, and am planning to go tomorrow, as well. ASB has changed a hell of a lot, but my performance in the MPH was torrid as usual. I don’t think I scoerd a single point on offense, although I did have the most number of layup opportunities (and I missed all of them). My jump shooting was poor. I’m hoping it’ll have improved by tomorrow! Not only was I playing basketball after a couple of weeks, but the conditions were alien as well (shut up, Shulmith!). Hopefully I’ll cab it tomorrow so I can stay later.

Another thing I have been doing the last few days is trying to get a decent grounding on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). One of those summer-projects of mine is a cricket simulator for an online cricket community I’m a part of, and I’m trying to work the UI through WPF instead of WinForms, since I have limited knowledge of both. It has been a steep learning curve, especially compared to the fun world of web UI programming. I’ve managed to find a few solid resources, though, so hopefully I should have a first version of the UI up later this week.

Our family went through the 2 dozen mangoes we purchased in little under a week, and we then purchased something like 2-3 dozen more. So there are a plethora of mangoes available for efficient consumption from the fridge. I’ve taken a few photos, but the camera and all the supportive cabling is too far away so that’ll have to wait for another day. Meanwhile, you can just trust me for telling you that the mangoes are, indeed, deliciously tasty.

Oh, I also watched a lot of the Indian Premier League (IPL) including the semifinals and finals. I didn’t really support any team after the Mumbai Indians crashed out, but I didn’t mind the Deccan Chargers, the eventual winners of the tournament. The thing that concerned me, though, is the fact that throughout the finals weekend, it was evident that the teams/players haven’t adjusted to playing after losing early wickets, yet. In all three games, the team batting first lost a few early wickets and then went into their shell and set substandard targets. In the semis, Deccan and Bangalore made short work of the targets set by their superior opponents, but in the final, Deccan managed to defend a small target thanks to a bit of luck. In the second semifinal, MS Dhoni was the key culprit after slowing down the scoring in the middle overs and being unable to accelerate towards the end. The man will have to do some thinking before going into the Twenty20 World Cup in a couple of weeks.

Also, a note on the NBA Playoffs–what the hell is going on? The commisioner must be in a frenzy as his Kobe-LeBron championship appears to be in jeopardy at the moment as the Magic have stepped it up. Although the Cavs still have homecourt advantage, the Magic look pretty good. Of course, the NBA Eastern Conference finals are not important enough to be screened on ESPN/Star here. The Western Conference games are shown… live. Go figure? Sure the Eastern Conference is usually boring thanks to teams like Detroit (=P) but still… Kobe and the Lakers have wrested back homecourt advantage after the Nuggets stole one in L.A. Game 4 is tomorrow and I’m contemplating waking up at 7AM to watch it.

I think that’s all for now. I’m just going to go back to my WPF self-training. Cheerios.