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June 16, 2009
Boos of the day
You have to feel a little sorry for Ravindra Jadeja. He is only 20 and is taking a lot of the blame for India's defeat against England after being promoted up the order, even though he was only batting where he was told. When the teams were read out before the start of play there were cheers for most of India players, but the crowd didn't offer the same to Jadeja who was greeted by a chorus of boos. No wonder being a cricketer is a pressurised job in India. Against England he was No. 4, here Ravindra Jadeja found himself pushed down to No.8 and could do nothing to stop India finishing with another defeat.
Cheer of the day
However, the fans were soon back in fine voice as India took the field, and when Herschelle Gibbs dragged RP Singh into his stumps a sea of blue shirts rose from the stands to cheer him. The roars continued for each wicket and if anyone had just turned up from Mars for this game they could have been forgiven for thinking India were on the verge of winning the trophy again. Instead they are on their way home (or to West Indies for those selected) but at least the supporters were making the most of watching them. However, by the end of the day the cheers had disappeared again.
Waste of the day
This is an old one, but it always seems strange when the floodlights are shining away on a lovely English summer's evening. The 5.30 starts in this tournament are all classed as day/night matches, but on a fine, sunny day the game could easily be completed in natural light. Then, of course, you get the situation that occurred at The Oval yesterday when people were asking why the match had to be reduced to a nine-over chase when the lights were available. There has to be a cut-off time for spectators and TV, but it's another aspect of cricket that would tough to explain to an alien visitor.
Run-out of the day
Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni became stuck against South Africa's spin bowlers as the ball spat and bounced from a crumbling surface. They could barely get the ball away, but the return of Morne Morkel offered them some extra pace to work with. However, it didn't pan out that way. Morkel's sixth ball was fired down the leg side and as Mark Boucher parried it, Dhoni thought there was a single. Yuvraj, his back turned to see Boucher, didn't agree and by the Dhoni tried to return to his crease it was too late as Morkel did well to backtrack and take the ball.
Equation of the day
Net run-rates have been a key feature of this tournament and were relevant to this match when it came to deciding whether South Africa or West Indies would finish top of Group E and therefore where they would play their semi-final. The hardworking ICC spokesman tried to make it clear to the press pack. India had to chase down the runs in 15.4 overs or less to force South Africa below West Indies except, that was, unless they won it with a six when scores were level which allowed them until 16.1 overs. Following? After all that, though, it didn't matter.
Statement of the day
When Harbhajan Singh was hit on the heel by Morne Morkel the pain was enough to require a runner. Out strode MS Dhoni, a man who has faced plenty of criticism during this tournament. Was this one final statement of togetherness in a struggling team? Whatever his motives he wasn't in the middle for long. After turning down a single, followed by some hand-waving at Yuvraj, his job was done next ball when Harbhajan chipped to midwicket. Another defeat beckoned.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper