Sehwag’s blitz slays the tigers

India began their 2011 campaign yesterday with a convincing win against the Bangladesh. With the memories of the 2007 game still fresh in the mind of players and fans alike, the Indian team needed to get to a good start against Bangladesh. Sakib putting India in after winning the toss was a blessing in disguise for the nervous Indian team. All the talks of revenge before the game by the players only showed how much the team was hurt by that loss in 2007. So the last thing the team needed was a chase under lights against the host.

So when Sachin and Sehwag went into bat the intent was pretty clear. They wanted to attack the new ball and they did that with style. Sachin’s run out brought Ghambir to the crease with whom Sehwag shared another 83 runs. When Ghambir was dismissed for 39 India was placed pretty well with Sehwag already blazing way. This was the perfect time for world cup debutant Virat Kohli to make an entrance. With the game excellently setup, he just had to play and second fiddle to a rampant Sehwag. Sehwag and Kohli plundered the tigers attack, to share a brilliant 203 run partnership and by the time Sehwag exited for a brilliant 175 the match was already beyond Bangladesh. India finished with a mammoth 370/4 with hundreds from Sehwag and Kohli and for sure would have been a great relief for the Indian camp.

Bangladesh began their improbable chase in the right earnest. Kayes and Tamim started in a blazing fashion hammering Sreesanth for 24 runs in one over. After Kayes was dismissed by Munaf, Bangladesh even though did not lose too many wickets, seemed to be in no hurry. Tamim and captain Sakib shared a good partnership without being overly aggressive and the pressure finally got to the host. The final 5 wickets fell in a jiffy and they finished with 283/9 in 50 overs losing by 87 runs to India. India though would have been extremely happy with the performance of the top order as everyone looked in great touch.

Sehwag was brilliant throughout as he attacked the Bangladesh bowlers mercilessly on his way to his highest ODI score. Virat Kohli too justified his inclusion in the team ahead of Suresh Raina with a measured hundred. It was not all smooth sailing for the Indians though, the bowling and fielding surely needs a lots of improvement ahead of the important game against the English. India would surely want to revisit the bowling combination ahead of the next game. Sreesanth looked terribly out of form and was all over the place. Considering how well Munaf and Zaheer bowled, it was surely a bad performance by the Kerala speedster.

I am thinking India should seriously consider going with 2 spin/2 pace attack against all the teams. India’s strength is spin and I think no matter whom the opposition is India should play two spinners. The other aspect India should improve a lot is the fielding as the captain himself suggested after the game. The fielders barring a few in the game looked pretty lethargic and there were lots of misfields in the outfield. This might come to haunt us in the big and crucial games. So even though there is some scope for improvement for the Indian team ahead of their next game this was a very good performance. The batting which is India’s strength seems to be in excellent form which bodes well for the rest of the tournament.

Bangladesh has been taken care of and the early jitters seem to have been passed. India now would be playing England in their next game who is a much tougher opposition. The game will be played in Bangalore where the Indian spinners troubled the Aussies a lot in the warm up game. So Chawla might be included in the place of Sreesanth for that game. All in all this was a good beginning for the Indians to kick off their campaign. Dhoni will be extremely thrilled to have gotten the first game out of the way.

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