ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

India v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, semi-final, Mohali

Fielding clangers and Wahab's big day

Plays of the Day from the second World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali

Osman Samiuddin and Sharda Ugra at the PCA Stadium

March 30, 2011

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Saeed Ajmal and Kamran Akmal rush to celebrate Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal with Shahid Afridi, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
That's how you do it: Shahid Afridi celebrates Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal ... eventually © Getty Images

The Moment of Truth
The DRS may actually work. Well, only the Indians were not yet fully convinced. Until, the ICC hopes, today. In Saeed Ajmal's second over, he had Sachin Tendulkar plumb - and the umpire thought so - or what looked like plumb first shot as well as in the replay. Tendulkar, though, was far from convinced. He walked over to his partner Gautam Gambhir and after a brief discussion asked for a review. The dead surety of Tendulkar's refusal, everyone thought, could only be due to an inside edge. Not quite. But Tendulkar asking for the review seemed almost prescient: the replay predictive path showed the ball going over and well past the leg stump.

The Epidemic
After being quoted as saying that he would not allow Tendulkar to score his 100th international century, Shahid Afridi and friends then did their best to guide him in that direction. It took an epidemic of clangers to make Tendulkar's 85 happen. Three times off Afridi's bowling Tendulkar was dropped - by Misbah-ul-Haq at midwicket (on 27), Younis Khan at extra cover (on 45) and Kamran Akmal (70) failing to hang on to a thin, quick snick. A fourth chance with Tendulkar on 81 was spilt off Mohammed Hafeez's bowling. Finally, Afridi decided to show his underlings how catches needed to be seized. Given that the ball had come straight at him and he'd actually hung on, Boom Boom was allowed to do a bit of celebrating. But before everyone was able to forget about the dropped catches, Kamran let an edge from Dhoni get past him.

The assault
Umar Gul against Virender Sehwag was always going to be one of the mini-battles of the game: one of the tournament's leading fast bowlers against the leading slayer of Pakistani fast bowling. Sehwag ended it as early as the third over of the innings, Gul's second. The first two balls were too straight and full, duly dispatched to the leg-side boundary. Fields were changed, slips came out but to no avail: Sehwag casually picked off three more boundaries in a 21-run over and Gul never recovered.

The Shoaibi
It was always going to be a tough call in such a big game: Wahab Riaz or Shoaib Akhtar? Pakistan opted for the former and it paid off spectacularly as Riaz ended with a maiden five-wicket haul. The pick of the wickets was the dipping, swerving full toss to dismiss Yuvraj Singh first ball, a delivery, in fact, Shoaib himself would've been proud of. It led to a pumped-up airplane celebration, made famous by … none other than Shoaib of course.

The shot
Pakistan were well set at 70 for 1, Mohammad Hafeez was better set on 43. He'd hit some fine drives, cut well, pulled authoritatively once. It looked one of the match's prettier knocks. Munaf Patel then pitched one well outside off, on a length, and Hafeez decided the best option was not to leave it, or drive it, but to try and somehow paddle it over his left shoulder. Instead it took an edge to be safely pouched by MS Dhoni. It was the Hafeez moment, the one which occurs in almost every innings he plays, and the template on which his ODI career is based (his average is just over 23).

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo; Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 39 
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Posted by Anoop on (March 31, 2011, 17:44 GMT)

my review of the match............ befor the match: batting-india has the advantage bowling: with india leaving out ashwin, ok at best fielding: unpredictable at any stage

after the match: batting: india stil a better batting side bowling: almost the same for both.. saeed ajmal was extraordinary.. gul had an off day.. but hafeez made up for the extra bowler.. indian bowling was spot on!! no extras conceded til the 37th over!! every bowler got 2 wickets each.. even yuvi finished his 10 overs, almost on the trot.. so apart from gul, it was stil even-stevens

fielding: made the day for india!!! pakistan gave away atleast 15 runs extra... not to mention the near "cat's (9 lives)" innings generously donated by pakistan.. and piyush chawla who came on the field in place of gambhir was everywhere stopping that extra run!! even munaf n nehra had their moments of brilliance on field!!

dinallyd, it is the effort on the field tat made the biggest difference between to evenly matched sides!

Posted by Abhay on (March 31, 2011, 17:41 GMT)

"@IlMagnifico Nehra never asked for review, he said he was not sure straight away. it was umpires review. concentrate on cricket while watching it ;-)".....errr...the umpires did not have a reason to review until (and unless) batter/fielder expressed doubt. Afridi was ready to walk. It was Nehra that showed doubt. I suggest *you* get off your high horse and read before responding.

Posted by Sin on (March 31, 2011, 15:50 GMT)

@ IlMagnifico, Nehra never asked for a review. In fact, he immediately said he was unsure of the catch. Nehra's catch was not a crystal clear case anyway. You dont need to look harder for cricketers who have claimed clearly bounced catches than this.

Posted by ashok on (March 31, 2011, 14:45 GMT)

In my opinion, reason for pakistan loss is Umal gul's spell(indireclty sehwag assault on gul). Sehwag blitz made Gul to completely off-track. Remember before match he said "if shoib plays then pressure is off on me". So he is already feeling pressure to perform in absence of shoib and when sehwag blasts him, he is out of sorts. if he performs normal, say giving 30-40 runs and take 1 wicket, what a difference it would made? coming to misbah, I dont blame him for this. I'm sure its not his personal decision to play slow initially. Team might have decided and asked him to anchor till end where others go for the hits. It didnt work. others fell cheaply with rash shots. what happens if he hits 20-30 quick runs and gets out? it still adds pressure. so pakistan loose the match due to Gul's spell. other factors like drop catches, misbah, younis are not the deciding factors.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

Thanks a lot Team India !! But have to think about batting.

Posted by harsha on (March 31, 2011, 14:20 GMT)

Well whoever thought 260 was a below par score for a semifinal were proved wrong. The ball was not coming to bat and if tendulkar struggles every1 will struggle.Thank God india have VIRU for whom 22yards is just a number and most of the teams think the total of 300 was a good one coz of his blitzkrieg,but i think experts by now shud know pitch conditions does not mean anything to Viru 99% of hte time.Advantage India - Coz every opposition thinks they did a great job in restricting India to a modest 260 and then find out scoring is not all that easy out there in the middle.Go Viru Go and not to forget he took their best bowler out of equation.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 7:25 GMT)

Everyone's been writing about how Misbah & Younis were playing slow during their stay at crease in middle overs. But, fact is that the pitch was very slow and the ball was slowing down, once it became soft (The same was evident when Tendulkar was playing as he had mistimed quite a few times). Also, credit must be given to the bowlers who were bowling as per field set for them. Yes, the dropped chances of Tendulkar, had cost the Pakistanis the matches. But, had the Partnership of Misbah & Younis stayed a bit longer, it would have been a different game.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 7:15 GMT)

@IlMagnifico Nehra never asked for review, he said he was not sure straight away. it was umpires review. concentrate on cricket while watching it ;-)

Posted by Venkat on (March 31, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

As an Indian, even though Pak lost, the match still left a sour taste in the mouth. Dropping dolly catches was just for starters. It was a glaring error Pakistan delaying the Powerplay for their best hitters(Afridi, Razzaq) when the commentators were literally screaming on air. The batting of Younis khan was OK for the situation. But the batting of Misbah was baffling to the extent of being suspicious. The way he pierced the gaps for boundaries and sixes during the end, had he attempted even 50% of that effort earlier with Younis/Umar Akmal, the match would have been entirely different. Winning or losing is part of the game, but I would rather vote for the NZ- SL semifinal which was fought tooth and nail as compared to the bizarre IND-PAK semifinal.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 6:06 GMT)

I really feel sorry for Wahab Riaz, His great performance was let down by the poor fielding and poor batting especially Misbah and tame captancy of Afridi. He knew very well there are no batters left after him and pitch is assisting the slow bowlers a lot, Yet he has not gone for the batting power play during his stay with Misbah.

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

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