The match fixing controversy necessitated the induction of a few talented youngsters into the Indian side, which made a whale of a difference at the Nairobi Gymkhana as the Indians beat the World champions Australia in the Quarter final of the ICC KnockOut trophy. The aggression displayed by the Indians came as a pleasant surprise to the followers of the game. Not that the Indians lacked aggression on earlier occasions but the difference was the collective belief displayed by the team as a single unit.
Sourav Ganguly put all the speculations to rest by opening the innings along with Sachin Tendulkar and the way they took the attack to the enemy camp rattled the Australians. If the top two Indian batsmen succeeded in rattling the Aussies, the youngster Yuvraj Singh demolished the opponents with a very composed knock. It was a day Yuvraj Singh will never ever forget for the simple reason that everything went his way all through the day. Besides making a huge impact with the bat, he fielded with real pluck and aplomb effecting a crucial run out after pouching a very good catch earlier. All in all it was the exuberance of youth, which made it possible for the Indians to put it across the Australians.
Tendulkar and Ganguly realising that they had to lead the way, played some glorious shots and were not hesitant to take a few risks. In the end both were dismissed due to their own follies resulting out of over enthusiasm. Dravid was unfortunate to pick the fielder at deep square leg but the left handed trio of Kambli, Yuvraj and Robin contributed enough to give the Indians a real good chance of winning. Robin guided the young hero of the day, Yuvraj Singh, and it was a remarkable sight to see the youngest and oldest members of the side running between the wickets. The fact that Venkatesh Prasad hit a huge six over covers off the last ball of the innings probably indicated that the Indians were playing out of their skins.
Adam Gilchrist started off in his usual fashion carting a few imperious blows square off the wicket. Mark Waugh got out in a manner which would have been exasperating to his fans. Harvey promoted to do pinch hitting did his bit, but the fielding of the Indians made things more than difficult for the Australians. Ponting and Bevan collected their runs with their customary brisk running between the wickets and a direct hit by Yuvraj Singh to run out Bevan swung the game in favour of the Indians.
Steve Waugh, the cool customer stayed on to fight it out along with Bret Lee before Zaheer Khan outwitted him with a yorker as Waugh was shaping to hit him over the infield by giving himself room. The dismissal of Waugh left Bret Lee to pull off a miraculous victory in the company of fellow medium pacers but the Indians finished off the job in style.
The ultimate result must have delighted the team as well as the cricketing fraternity in India. Yuvraj Singh was the hero of the day but one cannot forget the performance of Zaheer Khan. He bowled with a lot of aggression and control in the opening spell scalping Gilchrist and he castled Steve Waugh at the most crucial juncture. Agarkar needs to tighten up a lot as he has a very important role to play in the team.
Ganguly's gang would do well to sit and reflect a lot about their victory as that would help them learn a few things. It is imperative that they carry the same aggression into the next game as they have crossed one major hurdle by being positive. The victory against the Australians would have provided an enormous boost to the morale and the Indians can now fancy their chances to win the championship. It is upto the captain to ensure that complacency does not creep in and to shed the sense of euphoria well before they take the field for the semi-finals.