How did it come to this?
After 39.3 overs of a pulsating contest in Bangalore, Bangladesh seemed to have a first ever T20 victory against India in their grasp. Two runs needed off three balls, with Mushfiqur Rahim on strike. The game should have been done and dusted, and India was staring at an early exit in the World Twenty20 in their own backyard.
However, Bangladesh proceeded to remarkably offer India a way back into the game, with Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah both being caught in the leg-side boundary off Hardik Pandya. Two needed off one, and suddenly, it was Bangladesh feeling the heat.
Pandya ran in for the final delivery, bowled outside Shuvagata Hom’s reach, and MS Dhoni, who had earlier pulled off an outrageous stumping to dismiss the dangerous Sabbir Rahman, ran in 15 yards with one glove and ran out Mustafizur Rahman, who had only just walked into the cauldron.
One can indeed ask: How did it come to this?
Afghanistan is probably asking the same question, given the fact that they had England against the ropes, and may well have been the victims of a dubious LBW decision when Moeen Ali, who eventually scored a match winning 41, was on 20.
Proteas versus West Indies
Taking on the reigning champions on a pitch where they last managed a paltry 79 in a five day test match is indeed a daunting prospect. This will be more of a mental challenge than a physical one for our boys.
Team selection will be a crucial factor, given the condition of the Nagpur pitch. Thus far, our fast(er) bowlers did not produce the goods we expected. Duminy’s injury, after regaining his batting form, adds to the difficulty in picking the right bowlers. Steyn and Rabada are likely to be left out, with Phangiso coming in for the latter and Wiese, despite not making the grade as a bowler, adding strength to the batting line-up in place of Duminy.
The leading team at the tournament, New Zealand, opted to replace their form seamers, Boult and Southee, with two spinners, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. This proved to be a stroke of genius, and have assured them a place in the semi-finals.
Behardien is another option on the Nagpur pitch, but could be a risk against the hard-hitting Windies.
‘n Berig in Media24 verskaf die volgende interessante statistiek:
Tot dusver het snel- en naatboulers gesamentlik 132 paaltjies teen ’n gemiddelde van 29.31 geneem, terwyl draaiers met 131 slagoffers teen ’n gemiddelde van 20.63 spog.
Om dit verder in perspektief te stel het daar 54 draaibalboulers in vanjaar se toernooi verskyn en 70 snel- of naatboulers.
Ek hoop dat die Windies so op Imran Tahir gaan konsentreer dat Phangiso hulle onverhoeds gaan betrap.
Teen môreaand behoort ons te weet of ons nog houers van die Choker-trofee gaan wees, of ‘n verdere geleentheid gaan kry om dit aan ‘n waardige opvolger te oorhandig.