Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Semi final two - the match of all mothers

Daljit Singh's dilemma
Fantasy Bob's slumbers were disturbed the other night by the insistent ring of the telephonic communication apparatus.  Dishevelled and half asleep - ie more smart and awake than he usually is - FB answered to find a distressed voice imploring him for advice.

'This is Mr Daljit Singh', the voice intoned, 'curator of the Mohali cricket pitch.  Those swine at the ICC have scheduled the India Pakistan mother of all matches on my square.  If India lose it will be my fault for not preparing the right surface.  Mr Fantasy Bob I am desperate - I need your help and advice - and maybe also that of your doughty groundsman at Carlton Mr Magnus Moon of whose work we hear great things.  Everyone can see that India is the batting team and Pakistan the bowling team.  So what is the best surface to prepare?'

A tricky dilemma.  If Mr Singh delivers an absolute road, the inferior Pakistani batters could do well.  A bowler's wicket might allow the class of India's batters to come through.  Mr Singh resumed his plea,  'It's too much, the fate of the nation and the future of the world rests in my hands and how I use the light roller.  Tell me what to do.'

FB is a soft old soul.  he hates to think of anyone in distress.  He recognised that the wrong word could tip Mr Singh over the edge.  He quickly consulted local history.

At one time the pitch at Mohali had a bit of a reputation.  India were even rolled over for 83 on the first morning against New Zealand in 1999 - but it changed complexion drastically over the next few years and turned into a dead pitch producing high-scoring draws.  It is more often than not an IPL featherbed.  But its ODI heritage is grand - including a tight World Cup semi-final in 1996 when Australia squeezed past West Indies to win by 5 runs.  In a low scoring match, the innings were mirror images of each other -  Australia went from 15 for 4 to 207 and Windies from 165 for 2 to 202.  During the second innings Richie Richardson struck umpire BC Coorey in the head with a sweep to square leg.

So what would he say?  'Mr Singh you must prepare a good cricket wicket with something in it for the bowlers and the batters.'  The effusive expression of gratitude was overwhelming.  FB is modest - for that is all any match needs a good cricket wicket.

Afridi -
leading from the front
Yuvrav - all round brilliance
Afridi and Gul against Tendulkar and Sehwag.  The clash of nuclear powers.  To FB is looks like it should be an epic an titanic struggle.  Afridi and Yuvrav are runaway contenders for player of the competition.  One of them will prevail.   Pakistan need to get past the top order.  But it is bowlers who win more matches in this competition adn Pakistan's bowling has been firing.

FB has a soft spot for Afridi, but it would be fine to see Pakistani cricket in rude health after recent history of being itinerant and exposed to scandal.  Either way a good cricket wicket and a victory for cricket - a cliche writer's dream.  But everything else tells FB that it is  India who will prevail in front of a clamorous home crowd (and why the match of teh centry is being staged at the smallest ground in India remains a mystery to FB).  Indian batting seems just too powerful and the bowling should be adequate in Harbajhan, Yuvrav and Khan.  Somewhere no doubt there is a script in which the words Tendulkar and destiny can be found together.

1 comment:

  1. Surely it is the the match of all mothers. Hoping for india to win in this match. For other world cup news please visit my world cup page and make your own page too.