To commit a mistake is human but to repeat it is stupid. But, Ganguly’s men are not stupid enough to let it happen again. In the last game that the men in blue played against Australia, they let victory slip through their hands when Balaji gave Lee an over pitched delivery to swing his arms when they required 7 of the last 3 balls. The same situation again aroused when Zimbabwe after making a superb comeback through Ervine’s and Carlisle’s centuries, needed 9 of the last over. All the front line bowlers had finished their quota of 10, it was down to the under pressure Sanjay Bangar to deliver the goods for the World Cup runner-ups.
Already the blame of losing the first match was slapped on his face and he didn’t had the best of games with the bat as was out caught in the first over for a duck as he edged one to Carlisle at slips who took it after several fumbles. So, it was a do or die situation for the railway veteran who used all his first class experience to bowl 3 magic deliveries in the last over. The equation became similar as that against the Aussies, they needed 8 of the last 3 balls.
With this the last game six from Brett Lee started to fluctuate in the eyes of the Indian fans who were anxious to see their team not repeating their mistake. Of the 4th ball through a spectacular running catch from “Mr. Nothing Wrong” V.V.S.Laxman in the outfield, the pressure was increased on the minnows. The last delivery was right up there too and it fetched only 2 runs to the African side and the last ball was driven firmly which was cut off at the cover boundary by Agarkar and it meant India won an exciting yet close encounter.
It was heartening to see the Indians pull off close matches purely through keeping their nerves. It was the much needed boost for the Railways all-rounder. It proved that we are learning from our mistakes and there is nothing better for the coach and captain to see his team hold nerves of steel and deliver when it really matters and putting their past performance behind them.
I hope this trend carries through with the Indians in the final too where they will hopefully play their full strength side.
Another point to boost the confidence of Ganguly in his side is the way they have played in the last two matches with almost a second string batting side with 3 main men missing due to bad health. The start they got today was the worst in some time as they crumbled to 3 down for just 4 runs in 4 overs. But, they always had insurance policy reserved in Dravid and Laxman. As it has become their habit to pull the side out of trouble with many practices of that sort in the test series. From the nothing position we piled on a massive 280 in 50 overs with young Gavaskar making his first half century in ODI cricket, Laxman getting his 3rd century of the week and Dravid reaching his 49th ODI fifty.
So, we pulled of the match twice under pressure which is what great sides do. Remember that only that side which knows how to win matches wins in the end. Hope all these positive aspects carry through to the finals and help us win the series and to a better extent avenge our loss in the World Cup finals.