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June 6, 2009
Cheering for West Indies
The large contingent of Indian fans had begun flowing into Trent Bridge well before the start of play. There were sporadic cheers from them as their heroes went through their practice routines but suddenly they roared en masse. The shout was not for anything that had happened at Trent Bridge but for events at the Oval. The scores of the Australia-West Indies match, as it wound to a close, had just been announced over the PA system.
Shahadat Hossain had a poor day, finishing with figures of 0 for 31 from three overs, but it could have been so different. Gautam Gambhir slashed at Shahadat's first ball and hit it in the air towards point where Raqibul Hasan failed to hold a tough catch to his right. The batsmen ran a single and Rohit Sharma flicked the next ball off his pads towards deep backward square leg. Mashrafe Mortaza was the boundary rider but parried another hard chance over the line.
The world's best Twenty20 allrounder …
… is Shakib Al Hasan and he held his own against a powerful Indian batting line-up. He beat Rohit with his first delivery, stranding the batsman yards outside his crease but Mushfiqur Rahim fumbled the stumping opportunity. Shakib spun around, went back to the top of his run-up, bowled a quicker delivery, and hit Rohit's stumps. He is on his way to becoming Bangladesh's Daniel Vettori.
Ending the drought
A couple of overs of down time during a Twenty20 innings can bring the opposition back strongly into the game. India, after their openers had scored briskly, had gone quiet, hitting no boundaries between overs six and ten. MS Dhoni took charge and deposited the first ball of the 11th over - bowled by Mahmadullah - into the stands beyond the long-on boundary.
Just beat it
Yuvraj Singh had scored a sedate run-a-ball seven until he tore into Naeem Islam, hitting the spinner thrice in an over for six over midwicket. He continued the assault against Rubel Hossain, smacking a full toss over long off and clipping two more fours towards fine leg. India were accelerating and the DJ put on Michael Jackson's hit single and got the crowd imploring Yuvraj to just beat it.
A six of two first balls
Irfan Pathan flicked his first ball - bowled by Rubel - over the midwicket boundary and punched fists and shared a laugh with his brother Yusuf. However, when Irfan on to bowl is first ball was powerfully pulled over the midwicket boundary by Junaid Siddique as well. Yusuf bowled the next over, promptly picked up a wicket, and the brothers celebrated again.
A deadly debut
Making a debut in the first match of a World Cup campaign could put most novices under pressure. Not Pragyan Ojha. He appeared as experienced as the rest of the Indians, after all he has played two IPLs. Ojha turned the match decisively India's way by striking twice in his first over. He went on to pick up two more wickets - including a bowled that escaped almost everyone's attention but Dhoni's - and finished with 4 for 21. He even took a catch to round off an outstanding first day in India's Twenty20 colours.