Monday, 4 April 2016

WT20 2016 - India over steps, West Indies triumphs

Well, 2016 WT20 in India and everyone thought India is favorite to win the cup this time and given the current form in T20s this year I thought it's true. But, the very first match proved us wrong. After bowling out NZ for a paltry 126, we failed to chase it down. It was a remarkable collapse and NZ assessed the condition well and played with three spinners and Indian team played like they have never played spin before. Dhoni fought till the end, but it was too much even for him. Now, the expectation changed from winning the cup to qualifying for the semis.

Then, the biggest game of any ICC tournament, INDIA vs PAKISTAN. Rain threatened to stop the match, we had an 18 over a side match and once again India bowled well. But, again our batting threatened to collapse, thanks to solid Kohli who had it under control and steered India to victory in front of his idol, God of cricket, Sachin. Kohli saluting to Sachin and Sachin acknowledging was my favorite part of the match. And, with that win India's campaign was back on track.

The most thrilling and entertaining match of this tournament was, sadly, India vs Bangladesh's league match. After making a modest total, Bangladesh was excellent in the chase until the last three balls of the match. Mushfiqur and Mahmadullah getting out in two successive deliveries going for a big shot when they needed just two from three balls was a brain freeze. And, the last ball was excellent from Pandya and as usual Dhoni kept his cool and sprinted towards the stump to run-out Mustafizur and finish the match. And, his stumping of Shabbir was one of the best stumping I have ever seen. And, with that we kept our hopes alive. But, I would have liked to have a game of this kind against a better side than BAN. And, India made it to the semis with a win against AUS with another Kohli special. He played clean and proper cricketing shots along with some amazing running with Dhoni.

On the other side, Group A, it was mostly high scoring games. It was Gayle storm against the ENG and they chase down 180 runs comfortably and that was his only major contribution. Then, SA starts their campaign with hitting 229 against ENG and to everyone's surprise ENG thrashed Steyn & co to chase it down comfortably. Thanks to Roy, Root and Butler. And, AFG almost repeated the same against SA after AFG's Dhoni, Seshzad's amazing innings in that match. But, they managed to win their last game against the table toppers WI (world champions now). The best moment of that match must be when Gayle joined the AFG team celebration after their victory. And, the tournament's other favorites SA and the defending champions SL exits after the first round when ENG stunned everyone.

NZ after playing excellent cricket throughout the league phase was knocked out by ENG. After defending any kind of total in the league, they failed to defend against the ENG, Roy once again gave an excellent start and took the game away from NZ. And, in the second semis, WI chases down 193 quite easily after letting Simmons go on and on by taking his wicket in two new balls. No-Balls can change the match. It was a convincing performance with the bat from India for the first time in this tournament, with the openers getting runs, Rahane replacing Dhawan. And, as usual Kohli was in sublime touch, even got a wicket and bowled an over without a boundary, but it wasn't enough. Even though India got rid of Gayle and Samuels cheaply within the power-play. When Indians took bulk of their scoring by running, these guys were hitting the balls out of the ground easily. But, still you can't hate these guys even they knocked out India.

India never looked like a side to win the cup, but they looked completely different before the start. They played poor cricket, but for one man Kohli, huffed and puffed into the semis and a well deserved team beats them in the semis. And, another excellent find was Bumrah and his death bowling, it was exiting to see him bowl those yorkers consistently. And, the oldest-young man Nehra, amazing and consistent throughout the tournament. So India deserves this, but I really feel sad for Kohli, I hope he gets his cup soon.

And, the finals was a terrific game between two worthy teams and a game worthy of the finals. Samuels stepping up on a big day and won his second MoM in a World Cup final, but everyone will just remember the finish. 6, 6, 6, 6 in the last over of a World Cup final is beyond imagination. Brathwaite, you beauty,  now I get to know why you were most wanted in the IPL and feel sorry for Stokes. That was an unbelievable finish to the world cup and WI lift the cup for the second time and their third title this year after U19 team and Women's team this year. Great year for WI, well played and we don't mind losing to such a side. And, I don't think we would have loved any other side as much as WI after knocking us out.

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