World T20 2016 March 29, 2016

India Men cheer for India Women, and Mustafizur offers Wahab a lesson

Our correspondents travelling around India for the World T20 pick their best moments of the week

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Mahela Jayawardene: "Mohammad Shahzad v South Africa was something special, except for his dancing skills"

Arun Venugopal: "The Fizz" shows Wahab how it's done
New Zealand v Bangladesh, Kolkata, March 26
In sweaty, sultry Kolkata, New Zealand's batsmen are struggling to crack Bangladesh's bowling on a slow pitch - except Kane Williamson. Standing on the strength of liquids and wet towel scrubs, he has tiptoed to 38 (28 balls) of the team's score of 52. Enter Mustafizur "The Fizz" Rahman. He has conceded two runs off the one over he has bowled so far and has finger-flicked a cutter between Henry Nicholls's flaying bat and leaden foot. Off the third ball of the eighth over, Williamson hops out and redirects the ball towards wide long-off with an inside-out swat. The next delivery is intended to be thumped in a straight line, but Mustafizur is clever enough to shear some pace off to beat him. Williamson reverts to giving himself room, but this cutter is pacier and pings the wicketkeeper's gloves before his bat can find the ball. To counter the extraordinary, Williamson needs to embrace the unorthodox - he deserts the stumps for the lap shot, but Mustafizur has sent down a slower cutter that nudges the off stick. The Fizz's ability to spot the unguarded stumps is particularly impressive after Wahab Riaz doggedly followed Steven Smith all the way to the 15th stump only a day earlier.

Karthik Krishnaswamy: Ashwin's Test-match moment
India v Bangladesh, Bangalore, March 23
Bangladesh need 52 from 48 balls. Shakib Al Hasan, their most seasoned T20 cricketer, has just walloped Ravindra Jadeja for a big six and silenced the Chinnaswamy Stadium. On comes R Ashwin to bowl his final over. He has a slip in place - the situation demands it; the only way India can win this is by taking wickets. His first ball is like so many he has bowled to left-hand batsmen in Test cricket. The whirring ball, delivered from around the wicket, hangs above Shakib's eyeline, drifting into him. It produces a Test-match response, a cautious forward-defensive block. But the ball drops shorter than Shakib expects, spins away from him, kisses his outside edge, and settles in slip's hands.

It is a poetic, format-transcending moment, a high-quality cricketing display in a match more memorable for emotional ups and downs than for displays of cricketing skill. Soumya Sarkar is the next batsman, another left-hander. He is searching for form, and has been demoted from the opening slot to No. 7. He might have edged Ashwin and followed Shakib to the pavilion if he was in better touch; instead, that dipping, ripping offbreak beats him three times in the next four balls.

Shashank Kishore: Mohali, and India Men, cheer for India Women
India Women v West Indies Women, Mohali, March 27
It was the first double-header involving the India women and men's team at home. Sure, the concept was well-received in Australia, but the true test, especially with calls growing louder for a Women's IPL, came in Mohali. A sell-out crowd was expected for the marquee, prime-time India v Australia knockout shootout. Before that, however, Mithali Raj and company were in the middle of a tense clash against West Indies. What started off as a gentle cheer for every boundary saved, or wicket taken, grew into rapturous applause as the game progressed. In the media centre too, there was an element of mystery surrounding a lot of the Indian players. Which state does she represent? What is her highest score? Is she an allrounder? Do India need a pinch-hitter?

Even as curiosity surrounding the players got higher, the fans, who don't always turn up in Mohali like they did on Sunday, were in their element. Chants of "Jhulan, Jhulan" started doing the rounds as soon as Yuvraj Singh, the local hero, egged the crowd on the moment the cameras were panned on him. Then, it was Kohli's turn to join in, as he cupped his hands together and yelled "Indiaaaaa, Indiaaa", only for the crowd to join him. Goswami, a veteran of 16 years, would later say that the atmosphere out there "was something else", one she had rarely experienced in her career. Never mind the result, but Sunday provided a peek into the future. Even though India Women lost by three runs, the disappointment writ large on their faces, they were gracious enough to acknowledge the support and wave back. All of it amounted to a unique experience, not just for the players, but also for the crowd and media personnel, for many of whom, this was an exercise in getting names, roles and much else right about women's cricket.

Mustafizur Rahman's ability to hit the unguarded stumps was particularly impressive after Wahab Riaz's brain fade against Steven Smith © AFP

Andrew Miller: Root stunner seals Sri Lanka's fate
England v Sri Lanka, Delhi, March 26
An unloseable contest was slipping out of England's grasp. Chasing a seemingly out-of-reach 172, Sri Lanka's three-over scoreline of 15 for 4 had been inflated, through the brilliance of Angelo Mathews and his doughty middle order, to an alarm-bell-jangling 155 for 6 in the 19th over. England's spinners had been rinsed, three sixes in each of Adil Rashid's and Moeen Ali's final overs, and now, with 21 runs needed from 11 balls, and with the bit between his teeth, Dasun Shanaka turned his attention to Chris Jordan.

There wasn't a lot wrong with Jordan's second delivery, a pinpoint yorker that Shanaka somehow squirted clean through third man for four. But there was plenty to be desired about the follow-up, a floggable half-volley, too full and too wide to be of use to any cause. Had Shanaka's shot continued its natural trajectory through the long-off boundary, Sri Lanka's requirement would have been 13 from nine balls, the game - and England's campaign - surely over then and there.

But, instead, up surged Joe Root, leaping to his left at mid-off as if his life depended on this moment. With an insanely perfect piece of judgement, he wrapped both hands round the missile while horizontal to the ground, and there - right then - was the moment that knocked Sri Lanka out of the tournament. Ben Stokes's final over applied the finishing touch, but Root's reach had already confirmed that England would not be beaten.

Jarrod Kimber: Camera flashes light up Chandigarh airport
Chandigarh airport is a big pretty barn. It has a sandwich shop, and basically nothing else. But on March 28, it also had Mithali Raj and her India Women's team getting their photographs taken. Then, the Australian men turned up and had their photos taken. Then, the Indian men, who had hundreds more taken. It didn't seem to matter that Chandigarh airport is a defence base, where you are not supposed to take photos. Then, Virat Kohli turned up. There were photographs, but that wasn't enough. Echoing around this big empty space was that familiar chant, "Kohli, Kohli, Kohli".

Andrew Fidel Fernando: Sri Lanka's symbolic crevice
England v Sri Lanka, Delhi, March 26
In the 11th over of England's innings against Sri Lanka, Jason Roy turns a ball from Jeffrey Vandersay towards square leg. Seeing a huge gap in the field there, wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal peels off his glove and tears after it. And two men on the boundary - Milinda Siriwardana and Lahiru Thirimanne - also sprint towards the slowing ball, with purposeful strides and determined expressions. On one of Sri Lanka's previous campaigns, this moment might have stood to showcase the team's dedication, their drive or their unity. They might have hunted the ball down, scooped it up to each other, then bum-patted and high-fived before returning to their fielding positions, full of pep.

But it was not a previous campaign, so all three pulled out at the very last second, leaving the ball to be fielded by no one. It is tempting to suggest this moment was a poignant representation of failure to take responsibility, or lack of communication. But in reality, it was just really funny. Which I guess their whole campaign was, so maybe it was poignant.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ideal on March 31, 2016, 11:49 GMT

    Hossain - where did you read Indians felt PK is better than Waqar?Waqar is class act - no questions. As far as Bumrah and Mustafiz, at the minute it is improper to compare or write eulogies. They both are very much novice. Second year is always the most difficult year as most bowlers are decoded. I expect both Bumrah and Mustafiz to have downfall before they become better. Lets wait and watch. I have seen Wasim Akram, Waqar, Ambrose, walsh taken to cleaners - so Mustafiz and Bumrah will be under illusion if they think they are next big thing. They both have a long long way to go from current baby steps.

  • Abhishek on March 31, 2016, 10:16 GMT

    Each one is a nugget. A delight to read!

  • A on March 30, 2016, 19:15 GMT

    Unfortunately Indians still believe that Praveen Kumar was better than Waqar and now Bumrah is better than Mustafiz.

  • Robert on March 30, 2016, 13:28 GMT

    Quite intriguing. When Indian men cheered for Indian ladies .. hm!! The ladies lost.

  • MS on March 30, 2016, 6:12 GMT

    The moment to me was every moment India played from their first game. It's all about Virat Kohli. I think Virat is the superhero scripting the T20 World Cup this year. Without him, we India have no business being in the semi-finals. All the best to him for the next two important matches.

  • Reza on March 30, 2016, 5:57 GMT

    If mustafiz is fully fit and play the 2016 IPL , you will see his name on the top of the wicket taker list .... !! Just wait and see ..................!! He is a stick bowler , he might give some run but always take wick .

  • Mark on March 30, 2016, 5:48 GMT

    Also special mention to the South Asian women's cricket teams of India and Sri Lanka. I am a big fan of women's cricket and follow it. It is good they were supported in this tournament. Also South Asian women in countries like India Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are big fans of the game of cricket. And follow cricket closely.

  • Mark on March 30, 2016, 5:36 GMT

    To me the moment of the tournament when Angelo Matthews rescued Sri Lanka against England, when all seemed lost he dug deep and produced one of his best performances. If not for Joe Roots freak one in a thousand catch it would be Sri Lanka in the semi final I am sure and who knows probably would have gone on to win the tournament. Like they did in Bangladesh 2 years ago. I recall Angelo Matthews doing something similar on big occasions before this time a 50 over match against Australia.That time it was playing at the MCG in November 2010.This time it was a chance to reach the semi final.Normally Sri Lanka wins these important close ones.Joe Roots freak catch was the turning point.Now thats 2 super human performances by Angelo Matthews in the space of 7 years in limited overs cricket. He is probably Sri Lanka's last truly great cricketers.After all the Sri Lankan legends have retired.SL must find new Angelo Matthews for the future.That's possible as SL always had abundant cricket talent

  • Nish02 on March 29, 2016, 23:59 GMT

    The entire South Asian Women teams are not doing as much as I would have expected. Especially how different teams are when compared to our men teams. This is not correct, we need to invest more on our Women teams. Especially India's Women team, just won one game against Bangladesh. This picture needs to change, common Women teams.

  • ashok on March 29, 2016, 17:31 GMT

    One bowler will not make a difference mind you BD! SL introduced Ajantha Mendis all of a sudden and won a series and after that, he was the batsmens favorite to belt for runs and now he struggles to find a first class team. Similarly Avishkar Salvi the McGrawth of India was carrying drinks just after a couple series. A team is of 11 people one or two may shine in a match, but teamwork is what gets you trophies !

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