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Woes for KL, Rohit’s charmed life, all come to see Kohli bat


As Paul van Meekeren clubbed the last ball of the match to the straight boundary to make it three successive fours off Arshdeep Singh and punched gloves with his partner Shariz Ahmad, the Netherlands last pair had taken 22 runs off the final two overs. However, even as the Dutch went down in a blaze of hits, the chase had never taken off on a slow Sydney wicket, into its fourth innings of the day.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had begun India’s defence of 179 with two consecutive maidens; the spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin had then tied down the Netherlands middle order completely, so much so that only one of the Dutch top six managed a strike-rate above run a ball. Things had cruelly unravelled for Netherlands after they had kept the stars of the Indian top order, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, to only 53 runs after the first nine overs.

Abhishek Purohit

Left foot problem: Incoming has come in

Three-four years back, KL Rahul’s game was a touch iffy outside off stump, as he would hang his bat out like a half-formed thought, hands betraying him. He was dropped from the team. He went back, worked on it, came back. And started his famous celebration of ‘shutting out the noise’ with his fingers in his ears. And what does he find these days? The problem with the incoming ball. Usually from a left-hander as he is forced to play around his front-pad. But sometimes, like today against Netherlands, from a right-hander as well. On air, Sunil Gavaskar said before he got out that the first movement of the left foot gets him into a problem. It’s clear by recent form that he needs to get it sorted out again. And time to shut out the noise again.

Sriram Veera

Why didn’t you review that, KL?

After a short, sedate stay in the middle, KL Rahul was strangely reluctant to review the leg-before decision against him by umpire Ahsan Raza, off Paul van Meekeren in the third over of the India innings. Rohit Sharma appeared to be suggesting to him initially that the ball may have had too much angle, but eventually Rahul just walked off, with a few seconds still left on the DRS countdown. Even without Rohit’s input, it was surely worth a review as the ball had been bowled from over the stumps by the right-arm seamer and had been slanted in to hit Rahul in front of leg stump. After a while, replays confirmed that the ball would have indeed comfortably missed the leg stump.

Abhishek Purohit

Van Meekeren: From delivering food to driving Dutch success

Two years ago, Paul van Meekeren was working as an Uber Eats driver to support his income. He revealed this on Twitter while commenting on a post that mourned the postponement of the T20 World Cup final at the MCG because of the pandemic back then.

Two years later, van Meekeren is back playing at the top level. He’s a regular feature in English county cricket, also became the first Dutch player to sign for a Caribbean Premier League franchise last year and has been one of the standout players for his team in the campaign so far.

He inflicted damage in his first spell against India as well, giving the Dutch an ideal start by dismissing KL Rahul, his sixth wicket of the campaign so far even though replays showed the ball was comfortably going down the leg.

Mihir Vasavda

Rohit’s charmed life..to Living on

Rohit Sharma led an absolutely charmed existence. The ball wasn’t quite coming on after the Bangladesh-South Africa game on the pitch earlier, and Rohit’s attempts to heave it out of sight kept getting him in trouble. But fortune was clearly on his side. He was dropped on 13 off Fred Klaassen by Tim Pringle running back from mid-on in the fifth over. In the sixth, he flicked Paul van Meekeren in the air but the ball didn’t carry to short fine leg; Pringle was the fielder again. In the eighth, he was given leg-before by umpire Michael Gough off Logan van Beek but unlike KL Rahul, Rohit reviewed the decision and UltraEdge showed he’d gloved the ball onto his pad. Off the very next ball, he hooked but the ball fell just in front of the man at deep square leg.

Abhishek Purohit

We’ve come to see Kohli bat

Losing an early wicket is never a good sign for a team’s fans. But sometimes, that disappointment is balanced by the excitement about the arrival of the incoming batsman. Going back a decade or two, the hushed silence at the fall of India’s second wicket in Tests would soon be pierced by the cacophony of noise as the figure of Sachin Tendulkar strode into the arena. It may not have done much for the mood of the batsman just dismissed, maybe still sulking about what had just happened. He may be forgiven for thinking that the spectators were rejoicing his ouster.

Substitute Virat Kohli for Tendulkar at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. KL Rahul would be fuming at his dismissal, a decision that could have been easily overturned on review, especially when opening partner and captain Rohit Sharma did that in his own case a little later. The cacophony at Kohli’s arrival in the middle suggested that it wasn’t just the Indians who were looking forward to seeing him bat, after his heroics against Pakistan on Sunday. The Aussie fans, who consider Kohli one of their own, as well as the Dutch supporters, who don’t get to witness modern masters like him on a regular basis, wanted to see him in the flesh as well.

Such star power is what makes India’s matches, even against teams like The Netherlands that are expected to be mismatches, such box-office hits for the ICC and the game itself.

Tushar Bhaduri

Yawning, yodelling gap between sweeper and long-off: Surya sees stars

Suryakumar Yadav came out ready to shuffle around and create his own pace with his whips and flicks behind square on the slow Sydney pitch. But when the ball was pitched up outside off, he was ready with the classy lofted and along-the-ground cover drives. On these Australian grounds, the gap between the sweeper and long-off can be massive. Virat Kohli had exploited it against Pakistan with chips over the man in the circle at extra cover. He’d kept three fielders – extra cover, long-off and the sweeper – interested with a sliced chip off Shaheen Shah Afridi, and the ball had trickled into the rope, beating all three pursuers. Suryakumar did the same off Bas de Leede in the 16th over against Netherlands, opening the face of the bat and lofting high in that same gap, and keeping the same three fielders interested until the very end to collect another four.

Abhishek Purohit

Tim, chip off the old block

Tim Pringle drew immediate comparisons with Daniel Vettori. Like the latter, he bowls left-arm spin, has a similar action, perhaps a touch slower than Vettori, is spectacled, keeps his hair unkempt, and is a Kiwi by descent. The son of former New Zealand fast bowler, Chris Pringle, most reputed for his run-less final over to help New Zealand beat Australia in Hobart in 1990, and most notorious for admitting that he tampered with the ball en route his seven for 52 against Pakistan in Faisalabad, for he thought “Pakistan were doing the same.” But persistent injuries meant his career was prematurely stalled. Later, he shifted to the Netherlands to play club cricket. Tim, thus, was born in Hague. Like his father, he started his career as a seamer, before injuries began to creep up, like it was for his father, and he switched to left-arm spin. Chris took Tim to his hometown in Tauranga so that his cricketing career could blossom. And it did, as Tim made rapid progress and played a clutch of games for the New Zealand U-19 team. But early this year, he decided to make use of his Dutch passport and shifted to Holland. A move that is benefitting the Dutch, as he has been their thriftiest bowler, leaking just 5.62 runs in five games.

Sandip G

Bhuvi trauma for Vikramjit 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a highly deceptive bowler and his variations can be a nightmare for someone who hasn’t faced him before. The young Netherlands opener, Vikramjit Singh, had a torturous existence in his eight-ball over against Bhuvneshwar.

He thought he had the length to play a forcing drive but the ball swung in late and he had to make a hasty, awkward check on his stroke. He tried walking down the track to counter the movement but instead, Bhuvneshwar just slanted it past him this time.

After he’d punched a couple of pulled-back deliveries to cover, he was probably expecting another similar ball but Bhuvneshwar went full for his toes now. Vikramjit was so taken aback that he had no time to make any adjustment and wore the ball flush on his boot. Fortunately for him, the ball was swinging and would have missed leg stump. Another time, he half-ducked into a surprise lifter and nearly popped it back to the bowler.

Having tried all sorts and failed, Vikramjit had one final heave at Bhuvneshwar, missed and was bowled for 1.

Abhishek Purohit

No joy for Netherlands

As Paul van Meekeren joyfully clubbed the last ball of the match to the straight boundary to make it three successive fours off Arshdeep Singh and punched gloves with his partner Shariz Ahmad, the Netherlands last pair had taken 22 joyous runs off the final two overs. However, even as the Dutch went down in a blaze of hits, the chase had never taken off on a slow joyless Sydney wicket, into its fourth innings of the day.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had begun India’s defence of 179 with two consecutive maidens; the spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin had then tied down the Netherlands middle order completely, so much so that only one of the Dutch top six managed a strike-rate above run a ball. Things had cruelly unravelled for Netherlands after they had kept the stars of the Indian top order, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, to only 53 runs after the first nine overs.

– Abhishek Purohit





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