After a long drought of victories, India managed to pull off a win in a high scoring ODI at Nagpur. While the team deserves credit for the win, the margin of victory should be a reminder that team India is still far from overcoming its seemingly endless troubles.
Without Viru, the opening partnership almost automatically improved. Ganguly returned with a welcome bang. Dada’s hunger was back and the desire to excel was most visible. Gambhir was his usual aggressive self. Sachin continues his poor run of form. In fact, India lost momentum when he was at the crease. So much for the strategy to use his services for the middle overs! In hindsight, India could have sent in Dhoni at number 3 considering the situation. Thankfully India did a fine job of the finish with Dravid at his best and Dhoni finally making a solid contribution. The very fact that Dravid decided to come in for the home stretch as opposed to relying on Dinesh Karthick is a clear indication of the captain’s confidence in his own abilities to accelerate at the death. His big hitting was a revelation and matched Dhoni purely from a run rate perspective.
The bowling clearly benefited from the huge target. Tendulkar did well to fill in the fifth bowler slot. Bhajji brought in the much needed wickets while Zaheer Khan more than justified his return. Sreesanth is very much a Test cricket bowler and his tendency to be expensive (as he was in the WI) might justify trying alternatives like RP Singh, Joginder or VRV.
Chanderpaul deserves credit for his superb knock. He almost single-handedly took WI to victory. It appears that he’ll continue to make big scores against India because he hardly appeared to be in trouble against the Indian attack. In hindsight Lara made at least a couple of errors of judgment. Sending in the opposition on a batting beauty proved to be a mistake and coming in to bat so late in the batting order was adding insult to injury. Perhaps Lara was deliberately using this opportunity to give the younger WI batsmen a chance to prove themselves?