The date was 2nd October, 2012. The venue was the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The occasion was the 24th match of the ICC World Twenty20 2012. The contenders were India and South Africa. South Africa won the toss and asked India to bat first. South Africa were already out of the tournament. India needed to win by 31 runs to qualify for the semi-finals. They couldn’t. Instead they settled for a nail-biting one-run victory.
Something similar happened yesterday, as India took on tournament rookies Bangladesh, in Bangladesh’s first T20 match against the host nation in India in 18 years. By the way, you read the title right. Kohliland. Perfect name for a team which is over-dependent on a single man. Take Kohli out of the team and India will probably be beaten by Oman. Kohli didn’t get a whole lot of runs yesterday (24 is certainly not up to his standards) and the result showed. Most of the Indian (Kohlilandian) batsmen got starts, but could not convert it into a 50 or a 60.
This Chinnaswamy track wasn’t the sort of wicket where we generally see Gayle and AB blasting of sixes. It was rather a Eden Gardens-like track where Gautam Gambhir is happier nudging it around for singles. Therefore, Indian batsmen never really got going, and after an innings of unstability and regular wickets, ended on 146/7.
India started well, with dropped catches, misfieldings and a huge over. After powerplay Bangladesh were 45/1, scoring faster than it was required of them. The innings progressed steadily for Bangladesh, who were scoring runs in a canter but also lost a wicket now and then.
After 17 overs, the scoreboard showed Bangladesh required 27 off the last three overs. They were certain about a victory.
After 19.3 overs, the scoreboard showed our neighbours requiring 2 off the last 3 balls. They were even more certain about the victory.
Then it all started.
Mushfiqur Rahim, scoring successive fours off the previous two deliveries, went for the glory-shot. The pull had no power in it. Dhawan took it comfortably.
2 from 2. In-form batsman Mahmudullah on strike. Pandya bowled a full toss. Mahmudullah licked his lips (I’m not sure he did) and went for even more of a glory shot. He failed. Jadeja took a well-judged catch. Bangladesh were bottling it.
2 from 1. Shuvagata Hom on strike. There was a long discussion between Hardik, Dhoni, Ashwin and Nehra. I have no idea what Nehra could have possibly said (probably bowl a wide?). Hardik then produced a wide bouncer which, expectedly, Shuvagata missed. Dhoni collected the ball and charged onto the stumps, smashing it in the process and earning India a one run victory.
Probably greater than the South Africa win.
There were a few points to be noted from this match (from India’s perspective, of course)
- Drop Dhawan If not, you’re gonna have to hope for miracles like this day-in day -out. 23 from 24. I’ll take an 18 off 10 to get off to a flier. 23 from 24 is not T20 level, unless under super-circumstances.
- Stop Being So Kohli-Dependent Had Kohli scored a 50, you were looking at a score of about 170. But he didn’t, so we had to settle for 146.
- Never Ask Dhoni To Retire As someone rightly pointed out, if the keeper was Umar Akmal, he’d have thrown the ball, missed and the batsmen would have run a two of the overthrows. He’s a genius tactician and INARGUABLY the best keeper right now. If you think other wise, well… In fact he’s so good that Petri van Zyl actually said that we can rename our country from Kohliland to Dhoniland. How good is that?
In the end, I’d be happier if teams other than India played in such situations (neutral viewing is good, right?), but I expected a mankad of the last ball (so did Ashwin) and a super over. So did you, didn’t you?