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Sunday, September 23, 2007

India outplays Australia in Twenty20 semifinal

I stayed up overnight (almost to the equinoctial dawn as it turned out) to watch India defeat Australia in the Twenty20 semifinal at Durban.

While I was a Twenty20 sceptic (how can a proper cricket match consist of 20 overs a side?) I am less so now after watching some extraordinary individual performances, not all of them by batters. Yuvraj Singh's 70/30b deservedly won him the Player of the Match award, but two of the Indian bowlers S Sreesanth (4-1-12-2) and Harbajan Singh (4-0-24-1 towards the end) showed how wrong I was to think that this diluted form of the game is dominated by batters.

Yes, it isn't a middle order batter's (or mediocre bowler's) game: the Australian batting collapse confirmed the former and some individual overs the latter proposition. But there are sufficient opportunities for players (except, in many situations, nos 5 and beyond in the batting order) to shift the game in their team's direction.

Congratulations to India, who outplayed Australia. The 15 run margin of victory flattered Australia, who were a bowler and at least one batter light, and who, despite giving it their all in the field, weren't collectively as nimble as we've come to expect.
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