ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
India v England, World Cup 2011, Group B, Bangalore
Shahzad's six and Munaf's palm
ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from an enthralling match in Bangalore
Sharda Ugra at the Chinnaswamy Stadium
February 27, 2011
Never mind what Sachin Tendulkar did or Andrew Strauss did. Or how Ajmal Shazad had bowled. When he faced the third ball of the last over, England needed 11 off the last four balls of the match. Munaf Patel bowled length, Shahzad squared his shoulders and swung. The ball landed into disbelieving specators at the mid-off boundary near the KSCA club house. It was the shot that helped England get out of their Powerplay prison and tie the game. Well, at least the shot showed them they could actually survive the jitters.
The Double Whammy
Just when things were coasting for England - 59 needed off 48 - there arrived on England's path, the bogeyman in disguise. Also known as the batting Powerplay that makes teams, and the batsmen that must take them, go loopy. When it must be faced against the most highly-skilled bowler in the team, the portents are ominous. Ian Bell who had just been treated for cramps was trying to rush over the finish line, eyeing perhaps heave-ho corner but ballooning one to the fielder at mid-off. Off the next ball, Zaheer Khan found the captain's toes with a yorker and for England, the plot began to sicken.
Surely the most unathletic of India's fielders can't take the catch that looked like being match changing? Oh yes he can, if he is under threat of having his skull fractured. With England racing to 68 in the 10th over and Kevin Pietersen's strokeplay swallowing up all the noise of the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Patel found fortune favouring his reflexes. A straight drive with full blood written on it headed for Patel's cranium and naturally the man fended it off with his hands as far away as he could. The shot had thrown him off his feet and the ball bobbed up over him at a reasonable pace. On its way down, it met Patel's outstretched palm. On ya bike, Mr Pietersen. Not that it meant anything in the context of the game eventually.
The Missing Single
How does one describe this without embarrassment spreading through the Indian dressing room? With wickets falling, 4-11 off the last 11 balls of the Indian innings, Zaheer Khan had madly scrambled for a second on the very last ball. Unable to be the Usain Bolt of 22m, Zaheer was run out but then discovered, as did the entire ground, that the first run didn't even count. Munaf Patel had not put his bat inside the crease after the first run before gambolling over for the second. So one less on the total. One run less for England to make. As punishment, the fates decreed that it would be Patel who would bowl the final over which would tie the game. Which gave India one point less than what a victory would have. Which would have happened had the missing single not been missed. No doubt by a single inch or so.
The first one, the first ball, the first strike. Bowler Jimmy Anderson on whom rested England's quick bowling hopes. Batsman Virender Sehwag who decided that, today, he wanted to leave the business of building platforms to the ministry of railways. In his mind he wanted to have one racing over the Chinnaswamy grass past the boundary, but in reality he sent an edge towards second slip. Had Graeme Swann held on it would have been a show-off snatch but, sadly for England, it didn't. Two balls later, one went off Sehwag's leading edge past a diving Ian Bell in the covers. A third edge followed in the over and even though Sehwag didn't last much longer, the rest of Anderson's day was ruined.
The Fly Swatter
What happens when a ball is short, widish, sits up and begs to be hit? With several options before him, Sehwag took a look at Anderson's offering and thought about his shots. Not the pull, no. Surely the cut. Enough. Sehwag whacked it, cross-batted, in the air over mid-on, bringing in a new dimension to the word, 'groundstroke'. It's called the Fly Swatter. Since all these fizzy drinks wallahs are posing as inventors of trendy, new cricketing terminology, ESPNcricinfo is going to patent this one. So there.
Oops of the Day
On an afternoon when they fielded far, far better than they had gone against Netherlands, England's Keystone Kops moment came from the most unexpected sources. Yuvraj Singh glided one from Michael Yardy, where a respectable single would have been fair all-round. Graeme Swann, one of the better fielders in the team, was in line at short third-man, had it covered, sorted. Nope. A bungled collection and it was past him to the boundary rope. Could India possibly beat that? (Err, shall we count the ways?)
Munaf's Other Moment
The small anthem ceremony begins with a bunch of kids, carrying the flags of competing nations and the ICC to a piece of Vangelis music called 'Conquest of Paradise'. Once they are in place, the players walk out with children, who are winners of a sponsor's contest. It is the only time in the match the players keep their game faces off holding the kids' hands, patting their heads, some chatting to them and putting their arms around small shoulders. Munaf Patel went one step further. He decided to spare the child next to him the trouble of trying to keep step. Patel picked the tyke up and put him under his arm, carrying him to the spot where they were to stand. When the child was on his feet again, both Patel's and his smiles were bigger than the ground.
Cricket spectators in India are used to being taken for granted. Sometimes they can feel lucky just about not getting roughed up. But in the Chinnaswamy Stadium this afternoon they could gloat about earning a small, but important, victory. A jib camera, ones that are mounted on a crane and used to get close-up shots of crowds in the stands, was positioned just in front of the one of hospitality stands at the ground level. To start with, as the camera swung in on them, the fans responded enthusiastically as they always do. But as soon as the game started it became clear that the crane was at the eyeline of those in the front rows. Soon a chorus began to move it and grew louder and more intense by the minute. But even the most optimistic of the lot wouldn't have bargained for what came next. The crew started dismantling the unit and in a matter of minutes it had disappeared from sight.
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