Cricket is a great leveller and don’t we all know it. A batsman can bat brilliantly till 99 and yet not get that one run that makes him a centurion or he can score a big hundred in the first innings but get out first ball in the second innings or vice versa. Bowlers too could grab a handful of wickets in one innings and get clobbered all over the park in the next.
That is why good experienced cricketers stay humble and do not play around when their form is good, for they know a bad patch could well be round the corner. This game has the uncanny habit of coming back and biting you on the backside if you don’t respect it and fool around with it.
The Australians in their last Super Eight game took the match lightly as they were pretty certain of qualifying for the semi-finals. They allowed the Pakistanis to run away in the last few overs of their batting and when it came to chasing the Pakistani total they batted with an abandon not even seen in the last round of a net practice.
Batsman after batsman played right across the line to be either bowled or found leg before the wicket. Suddenly they were in a situation where they were struggling to get the minimum runs needed to stay in the semi finals. They got there but then played the remainder of the overs in a seemingly disinterested manner and didn’t bother to add too many runs.
It was as if they did not want India to get in the semis and were making it harder for them. The more runs they had scored would have meant that many runs less by which India had to beat South Africa to qualify for the semi-finals. If a team from the sub-continent had batted like the Aussies did, all the antennas would have gone up and there would have been a demand for an inquiry by the authorities to see if there was any hanky panky or not.
The West Indians walloped them in the semis and that would have brought smiles in India. The Aussies found that they were not able to raise the level of their game to get the runs needed for once a certain approach creeps in, as it did in their last Super Eight game, it is not easy to simply shrug it off and the game of cricket laughs at you for having taken it lightly even as it takes a big bite of the ego.
The finalists deserve to be there and it is going to be a raucous evening what with the home crowd giving their team huge support with music and slogans. It is extremely tough to predict who has the upper hand. The Lankans beat the Windies quite comfortably in their Super Eight clash but this is the finals and it brings different pressures than a group game.
Will Lanka stick to the left-hand spinner Herath after seeing the mauling given to Doherty by both Gayle and Pollard or will they pick the callow youngster Dhananjiya. Will the Windies bring back Dwayne Smith for Johnson Charles?
This is the fourth final for the hosts and if they have learnt anything from the earlier ones, then they should prevail but the former world champs, West Indies, are on a resurgence streak so its a tough call indeed.
Professional Management Group