India Vs Australia Semifinals at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 26, 2015
The ICC world cup, 2015 is approaching its business end. The Quarterfinals did not throw up any major surprises. To be precise, all quarterfinal clashes ended up being one-sided affairs barring one of the greatest one-day bowling spells by valiant Wahab Riaz of Pakistan against Australia.
All the semifinalists went into the world cup with high hopes: South Africa – trying to shed the perennial chokers tag, Australia – chasing the dream of fifth world cup triumph, New Zealand – only good for Semifinals tag. The surprise entry to the semifinal is India, the defending champions whom nobody gave a sniff of a chance and no one expected ouster of Sri Lanka in the quarterfinal match.
India had a torrid time on and off the field in Australia. They hardly were able to win any matches – losing test matches, and one-day matches against Australia as well as hapless England. There were flashes of brilliance from Virat Kohli notching up four test tons against Australia, Ajinkya Rahane ably supporting Virat and Rohit Sharma in MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) one-day.
But the bowling seemed clueless in bowler-friendly conditions in Australia. The calm and composed ‘Captain cool’ MS Dhoni also looked out of sorts. He quit the test captaincy and retired from test cricket in the middle of the series. He failed to inspire the team, which was starkly unusual.
Cometh the hour, cometh the champions. Men-in-blue got their confidence back on track, registering convincing victories against arch-rival Pakistan and strong contender Proteas (South Africa) in the first two matches of the world cup. The team played with a purpose and the anthem “Won’t Give It Back” seemed real. The Indian team’s weak link, Indian bowling attack, is hitting right line and length, bowling out every single opposition seven times in a row. All the batsmen are in full form with match-winning performances. The fielding looks sharp with Raina, Jadeja, Rahane, and Kohli always on the alert.
The mojo is back for captain Dhoni and attacking field settings is a testament to the new-found momentum of Team India. So watch out Australia on March 26, it is not the same team, which you can stroll past easily. It is a team, which is vying for world cup encore, capable of beating you in your backyard, SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground).