Indian team scripted history when it defeated the World Champions in their own backyard comprehensively in the second finals on Tuesday, 4th of March. It was a spirited performance by the Indians who dampened all the hopes of an Australian cricket team and fans by winning the second finals.
The victory, on the one hand, was a testimony of the Indian team’s collective effort while on the other hand, it was a slap on the face of Australians whose arrogance was humbled by the Indian effort.
All the talks about ‘a third final not required’ as commented by Aussie Captain Ricky Ponting indeed proved right as the visitors proved why even the Aussies were vulnerable. Needless to say that the skipper would have missed the services of his two old warhorses Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Their absence would have made Ponting realize what it is to be on the other side of the fence for a change!
Indians batted first and had a fantastic opening stand in Tendulkar and Uthappa, with the former impressing once again within two matched why he is still the undisputed king of the 22 yards. His impeccable and piercing strokes sent signals to the opposition that today he was there to stand up and be counted.
He brought all his experience and skill into the match and stroked 91 delightful runs to prepare the coffin for the Aussies. Somewhere in the match, one got to see the vintage Tendulkar of the past whose strokes screeched and screamed past the fielders who remained glued to their positions! Some exquisitely timed on drives and some innovative cuts made him a delight to watch.
If one would recall, the last time he played back-to-back innings was against Australia in Sharjah where he literally carried the Indian team through two matches solely by his efforts. Both were century efforts that won India the series and Sachin the Man of the Series. A similar repeat was what one found in the two finals in this tri-nation series. Sachin came good and India found itself in the driver’s seat.
One would have to commend the efforts of other batsmen who chipped in with valuable contributions such as Yuvraj, Dhoni, and Uthappa. Another commendable part of the effort was the running between the wickets and it was those two’s which were converted to three’s and sharp singles that brought about the difference.
The youngsters in this tournament shouldered the responsibility both with the bat and ball well and that resulted in the podium finish for the Indian team. While it was the likes of Rohit Sharma in the first finals who gave Tendulkar good company, it was Praveen Kumar in the second innings whose spell of 4 wickets brought nemesis to Australians. All throughout the tournament, Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan bowled fast and miserly spells to keep the Indians in sight of a victory.
One would have to laud and give credit to Dhoni under whose captaincy youngsters have blossomed and proved their capabilities. His captaincy and astute decision-making have impressed fans and followers of the game across the world.
The Australians in their run chase in the second finals were pushed on the back foot when they lost a couple of early wickets. Medium-pacer Praveen Kumar did some early damage which was irreparable even though the Aussies strung a couple of decent partnerships in Symonds, Hussey, and Hopes. The match though went to a right finish, Pathan’s two quick wickets sealed the fate of the Australians.
For the champion Australian team which not only believed but lived by the saying ‘ Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing’, the victory would come as a harsh encounter with reality, a reality where its dominance has been challenged by a juggernaut Indian outfit. It was a befitting reply to all the mind games that were played to build in pressure and for once, the Aussies were given a ‘ taste of their own medicine’.
The victory would become faint as time goes by as there are many more milestones awaiting to be conquered but it would send one clear message across to the entire cricketing fraternity and fans that ‘battles are won in the mind more than the battlefield’!
For all you India fans who would like to relive some of the fascinating moments of the match, we have put together these videos for you which celebrate the joy of winning and beating Australia for you. India Rocks !!
Sachin’s scintillating 91