The Schweinsteiger conundrum and some HR perspectives

The Schweinsteiger saga continues. And we do not know how it is going to end. Or if it is going to end anytime soon.

After being on the sideline since Jose Mourinho took over as the manager of Manchester United, Schweinsteiger has fallen out of favor. That is until recently.

Mourinho made it amply clear that Schweinsteiger does not have a place in the first-team. So he was made to train either alone or with the under-23 side.  

While all this was going on, Schweinsteiger remained tight-lipped.  And when he did speak, there was no negativity.  He did admit (and so did Mourinho) that he had a discussion with the manager. That he did not have any problems with the manager. He expressed his wish to still play for the club, if given a chance.    

His conduct amidst all this has been amazing.

He has acted in a dignified manner throughout.

In a manner befitting his stature as World Cup winner, as someone who was the captain of his national team till recently.  

He posts pictures of himself at Man U games. He wishes the team on his social media account on the day they are to play their matches.

The cynic amongst us would say it is all about money. Some on social media did point about the ‘m’ factor, mentioning that it is the only reason Schweinsteiger is hanging around and taking all the humiliation and insults by staying put. Probably, it is about money. However, he still has the contract and he is honoring it.   

While the world of football in a way is different to the corporate world, so the comparison may not exactly apply. But let us try to evaluate it through the HR prism of the corporate world.  Because some of the things still are applicable.  

We are all wondering Schweinsteiger’s reaction to the whole situation. However, his reaction should not surprise us. For those of us in the corporate world, we would know a bit about this.

Firstly, how many times we are told not to bad-mouth our employers, especially during an interview? 

Secondly, would we quit our job if we don’t have another in hand? No, right?  Isn’t he doing the same?

Thirdly, we would want something better than what we are getting. Maybe the scenario would be slightly different in case of a sportsperson. Or in this case with Schweinsteiger considering he is on the other side of 30, plus has been out because of injury and probably not at the top of his game.  Still, he would want to negotiate and get the best deal possible, with whatever he has to offer in terms of his experience, both as a player and a leader.  

We do not know the details of his contract. However, it is no-win situation for him and even for the club.

In short, Schweinsteiger is doing what most of us would do in our jobs:

Honor the current contract.

Find another job before quitting the current job, and if possible with better terms and conditions.

Do not bad mouth your current/former employer to your new employer (for Schweinsteiger this could be more than one club/employer).

Continue to maintain good relations with everyone around. After all the football world is small. He could end up working with some of the folks from Man U down the road.

Most importantly, he has remain positive throughout. His positive attitude is really admirable. There is no negativity or bitterness shown by him, at least not publicly. Not yet.  

And this is good. Because, in the long run, talent aside, it is your attitude that is going to keep you in good stead.  

Women’s T20 World Cup

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Was it a good idea to host the Women’s T20WC along with the men’s? From the response it got, yes. To begin with, logistically it made sense. Plus, definitely it did give the exposure the women’s game has been lacking. Though the crowd did not show up in great numbers, though the TV viewership may not have garnered the huge viewership, and though it still was not in the front on cricket pages/web pages, it still did manage to have regular updates.

There was far more buzz in the media about the women’s matches and women’s cricketers profiles, interviews and backstories started doing rounds on cricket websites. And of course, it did help that the official social media sites for most of the countries provided updates for both their men’s and women’s teams.  

And finally, not taking anything away from Australia or any other teams, it did help that West Indies women won the title. It was a double delight because their men’s team also lifted the title. Again the exposure that it got only helped put the women cricketers on the cricketing map. That they are here to stay.    

Apart from the exposure, the most important thing was that the women put on some great cricket. There were some closely fought matches, mainly involving Charlotte Edward led England team, which made for good viewing on TV. With the success of women in the Big Bash League and now the launch of Kia Super League in England, women’s cricket is up and rising. Encouraging signs for IPL and CPL to follow suit next year?  

Hopefully in the next few years, women’s game would get its own viewership and then it may be possible to organize women’s World Cup separately. The only reason it was not a good idea to have it joint with the men’s, was because of course, the men did overshadow the women.  Maybe the comparison with men’s game would have made it less appealing.  Because, unlike tennis or soccer, women’s game still has to find its footing in cricket.

People are talking about how the boundaries are brought in, the lack of sixes in women’s matches, making it less attractive on excitement quotient. Addressing the latter point, we did see some big sixes from players like Ellyse Perry and Haley Mathews. However, time has to be given to women’s cricketers to further develop their hitting powers. The T20 leagues like WBBL, Kia Super League is going to help them hone their six hitting powers. The audacious hitting we see in the men’s game is a result of T20 cricket and the various leagues across the globe which is now a regular fixture for almost a decade now.

Let’s give the girls the time and they’ll also demonstrate their six hitting powers.

Moments from the tournament

  1. Last over wins: England women perfected the art of winning matches in the last over, in fact they won one match on the last ball – against the West Indies women who of course, went on to lift the title.  Sadly this match was not on the TV.  
  2. Wake up call: Southern Stars versus White Ferns. This was a much anticipated match for the women’s tournament. However, it turned out to be one-sided affair.  White Ferns steamrolled Southern Stars and went on to win the match in the 17 over by 6 wickets.  
  3. Tour of India: Full credit to the White Ferns who were made to travel for 12 hours, a day before their match against Southern Stars. Even though they were tired and exhausted, they did not complain, kept posting pics on social media sites and no,we did not see any grumpy faces. In fact, captain Suzie Bates mentioned in her post-match interview that the girls looked at the funny side of it.  No wonder, this attitude did help them win the match comfortably.
  4. No home advantage: India women did not set the tournament on fire. Apart from that huge win against Bangladesh, they lost to Pakistan on D/L method and then lost to England in a closely fought match.They were ultimately beaten comprehensively by title winner West Indies. The team was inconsistent and found it difficult to adapt even on home conditions.
  5. Young star: Hayley Mathews. All of 18. A World Champion. She powered her way to 66 off 45 balls with 6 fours and 3 huge sixes. Basically her opening partnership of 120 with skipper Stafanie Taylor helped West Indies women chase down the total with ease.  And she was the senior partner in that partnership as far as run making was concerned. She was unfazed by the situation, the opposition (reigning World champion Australia gunning for their fourth straight title) or the pressure of the chase.  Power of youth. Power of playing without any fear.  However, it would be interesting to see how her career shapes from hereon.  
  6. The still shining star: Who else but Charlotte Edwards. The England skipper has been around for almost 2 decades now and still does not show any signs of slowing down. Carry on Charlotte, you still have a lot to offer to the game.  
  7. Speed breaker: The White Ferns were on a roll in the group stage. They had a comfortable run in the tournament beating all the teams in a comprehensive manner. Knockout stage. One game. And they are knocked out. By West Indies. It was a closely fought match but New Zealand women hit the speed breaker and were thrown out of the tournament.  

20 Moments of WT20

 

2016_ICC_World_Twenty20_logo1. Atrocious shot of the Tournament

Steve Smith’s shot against Pakistan. Glen Maxwell had a good laugh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgKY6szta-0

2. Bizarre Moment of the tournament

Wahab Riaz, what were you thinking when you followed Steve Smith?

3. Intent shot: Martin Guptill’s six off the first ball to launch the Super 10 stage of the tournament.

4. The last over

We have two contenders here. Both very obvious. But the one that led to the title takes the honor first.

1. England vs West Indies, Finals

19 off 6 balls.

6, 6, 6, 6

Done.

Not a sweat to break.

Carlos Brathwaite takes Ben Stokes to cleaners.  

What was all the fuss about?  

2. Bangladesh vs India, group stage

11 off 6 balls. Target for Bangladesh

First ball – 1

Second ball – 4

Third ball – 4

Fourth ball – caught in the deep; OUT

Fifth ball – almost action replay; caught in the deep; OUT

Sixth ball – run for a single; non-striker and wicketkeeper in a race of their lives, both trying to reach the same finish line albeit from different directions; wicketkeeper wins, whips off the bails. Bangladesh lose the match by 1 run.  

5. Super over: Not a single tie in the whole tournament. There were few matches which had the potential to end in a tie resulting in super over. But it never materialized. Though there were lot of matches that were decided in the last over.

6. Shock of the tournament

Associate Nations’ Qualifying round: Oman defeating Ireland. And Ireland never recovered from this defeat. Their next game against Bangladesh was washed out. One more against Netherlands was also affected by rain, reduced to 6 overs-a-side. Ireland lost this match as well.

Super 10 round: The tournament opener.  Nobody gave New Zealand a chance against host India. On a turning Nagpur track, New Zealand scored 126/7 in 20 overs. In the innings break NZ were thought to be done and dusted.  What unfolded left everyone shell-shocked. Maybe not the Black Caps.  They had the belief in themselves thus they went with three spinners leaving out their best bowlers.  

7. Tourists of the Tournament: Trent Boult and Tim Southee. They traveled all the way from New Zealand and then they traveled with the team all around India. Nagpur to Dharamsala to Mohali to Kolkata to Delhi.  But they did not play a single match.  

8. Tour of India in 12 hours: White Ferns. From Mohali to Nagpur it took them ONLY 12 hours hopping planes and airports. Mohali-Delhi-Bengaluru-Mumbai-Nagpur. And arrived in Nagpur late in the evening and had a match next day in the afternoon. And no, they didn’t complain about it, but rather joked about it and took it in their stride. Result of the match: They beat Southern Stars by 6 wickets with more than 3 overs in hand.

9. Most expressive Captain: Steve Smith. Looking at him one could tell exactly the state of his side at any given point in the game.

10. Best grooves and moves: Afghanistan, the hip bumps between Mohammad Shahzad and Sami Shenwari were amazing.

11. Best celebrations: Champion! Champion! Champion! Period.

12. Underachiever(s) of the Tournament: Two contenders. Both came to the tournament with favorites tag of 1 and 2. Both fizzled out. I am referring to India and South Africa here.

13. Lost contact details: Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. Last two group matches that South Africa played, their calling was bizarre and absurd. Against West Indies in Nagpur, Amla was the victim; against Sri Lanka in Delhi, de Kock was the victim.

14. Fizzled fireworks: AB de Villiers. Just blasted once and then it was gone.

15. Speeches

We witnessed some passionate speeches by Associate captains and later the winning captain.  The platform was right and they articulated their point of view perfectly. It is alright that they were heard. Question is, will something be done about the pertinent issues they raised? Are the governing bodies, ICC and WICB willing to sit down and discuss things? Everyone is aware of the problems, time to find solutions and most importantly implement it.   

  1. The passionate pleading/imploring speech

By Associate captains, especially Scotland (Preston Mommsen) and Netherlands (Peter Borren) captains. The issue (of lack of cricket for Associate Nations) has to be kept alive. They got the platform and they made their point very well. But it also needs to have a follow-up. Or else we will be still talking about the same thing four years later. Yes, four years, because that is when the next world T20 is scheduled for now unlike the two years we have seen so far.

  1. Impolitic Speech

Time for Darren Sammy to address the distractors. Address those who put his team down. Address the issues that the players have long been facing with its board. He walked through it all step-by-step. The speech though impromptu definitely must have played in his mind for long. He and his team wanted to answer the critics first with their on-field performance though. And the team lifting the title gave them the right ammunition.  Nothing wrong with it.  Hope those in power are going to sit down with the players and address the issues. They are champions in T20. However, let’s not sidestep the issue of their performance in the longer version of the game. Unless, of course, the longer version does not come into equation. Now, that is altogether a new article for debate.

16. Darlings of the crowd (not taking the home team into account): AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.

17. The No-ball: R.Ashwin. Lendl Simmons was on 19 and went on to score unbeaten 82.  Seal the match for West Indies.

18. Underdogs: Nobody gave Sri Lanka any chance before the tournament. And they performed as expected. Like underdogs. What was sad to see was that they did not even put up a fight. Except perhaps briefly against England.  We are told they are in rebuilding phase since the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. These two giants retired from T20 in 2014 immediately after Sri Lanka won the T20 World Cup title. 

19. Can’t crack the code: Australia are number one ranked Test team. They are World Champions in 50 overs cricket. But T20 title still eludes them. This time again they were knocked out in group stages. They did not seem to get their XI right.  They started with a new captain in this format and the captain from whom Steve Smith took over, Aaron Finch, who also is ranked number one T20 batsman did not find place in the first two matches that Australia played.

20. Consistency or chokers? There are two ways to look at the New Zealand side. The optimist would look at it as glass full: they reach the knockout stages in both 50 overs and T20 World Cups more often than not. The pessimist (or realist) would look at it as glass not-so-full: they seem to lose in the semifinals almost all the time.  Just like South Africa they too seem to struggle to cross that line and lift the title.

T20 WC 2016 Finals Super 10

 

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West Indies Day!  

Southern Stars march halted

England washed away in shower of 6s

All the pre-tournament talks of favorites or not favorites not does not matter. Not on the day of the finals. While Southern Stars were definitely on the list of favorites, their opponents were not. And definitely the two teams in the men’s finals were not on anybody’s list. In fact, in subcontinental conditions, only one team from the subcontinent reached the knockout stages and that too rather unconvincingly.  

While I didn’t get the opportunity to watch the women’s finals live, I did catch up the highlights. Wish the time difference was not there. Or else would have got to watch the whole match live.  

  • Australia or Southern Stars entered the finals as defending champions. In fact, they had three T20 world titles in a row under their belt. They were going for the fourth title.  
  • West Indies women though had other plans.  
  • Southern Stars had one poor match against NZ’s White Ferns at Nagpur and West Indies women had lost a closely fought game against Charlotte Edwards’ England, losing on the last ball at Dharamsala.  
  • So both teams were going into the finals with overall good performance and form of their players.  
  • Meg Lanning won the toss and elected to bat.  Lanning and Elyse Villani both scored half centuries, in fact identical scores of 52 a piece.
  • Then Ellyse Perry played a cameo innings of 28 hitting two sixes. One was a huge hit of almost 78 meters.  
  • While Lanning and Villani were at the crease, it definitely looked as if the score would be around 160 plus.
  • However, West Indies women pulled back beautifully and the last over by Deandra Dottin yielded only 1 run. Oh, Ben Stokes would have so loved to have bowled this type of over.
  • A score of 149 would have looked a bit daunting considering the scores that we saw so far in the tournament. But West Indies women had other plans.
  • They were on a mission to win their maiden title.  
  • The opening partnership between captain Stafanie Taylor and teenager Haley Mathews got them to a flying start. They put on a 120 run together in 15.4 overs.
  • This partnership more or less sealed the title for West Indies women.  
  • They did lose couple of quick wickets, with both Mathews and Taylor back in the dugout but by then the damage was already done.  
  • Mathews in particular was in a brutal mood. She hit six fours and three sixes in her knock of 66 off 45 balls. And her sixes were huge. One was 82 meters and it landed in the stands.  Just give the girls some time and we will get to see the sixes landing in the stands more often.  
  • Could the Southern Stars have done something differently? They were good in the field, they mostly are. But against the rampaging West Indies attack there was not much their bowlers could have done.  
  • Lanning did accept the fact that they were about 15-20 runs short.  
  • While the Southern Stars were batting the stands were almost empty barring few supporters around. But when the West Indies women were in their chase, people started trickling in.  It did seem as if this people would have walked in early for the men’s finals later in the evening at the same venue.  Whatever it was, it definitely was nice to see more people in the stands, the cheers were a welcome sign. Hopefully, they would have enjoyed what they saw and would come to cheer for the girls in the future.  
  • It was amazing to see the WI’s men’s team come out and celebrate with their women’s counterpart even though they had to play the all important final within couple of hours.  
  • Nobody expected England and West Indies to be in the finals. But here they were.
  • Nobody expected the crowd to turn out because India was not in the finals. But they were there. In a large number.
  • Even though West Indies had more supporters in the crowd, the neutral crowd still was cheering the fours and sixes by English batsmen. They were enjoying and appreciating the batsmanship of Joe Root.  
  • England got off to a nervy start to their innings once they were put into bat by Darren Sammy. They lost Jason Roy on the 2nd ball of the match and quickly lost two more wickets.
  • Jos Buttler and Root started the rebuilding and their partnership gave England some respectable total to defend.
  • And they did defend well. Throughout the 2nd innings. Till that fateful last over. The over that snatched the title away from them.
  • Last over. 19 runs. Most of the time the fielding team would back itself to defend that.
  • But Carlos Brathwaite had other plans. He kept it simple. There was no need to keep the calculator out to count the balls and number of runs.  
  • First three balls he faced went for maximum.  6, 6, 6. 18 runs in 3 balls. Scores leveled. Even if WI does not get a single run in the last three balls we would have got the first super over of the tournament.  
  • But Brathwaite again kept it simple.  Last ball also went for maximum. West Indies once again lift the T20 WC trophy after that win in 2012 in Sri Lanka.  
  • The celebrations that followed were unbelievable or rather more than believable. Throughout the tournament we saw the team celebrating wickets and team wins with the Champion dance.  And this win was no different.  
  • Champion dance by world champions! And this time the women’s team joined them. 
  • It was West Indies day at Eden Gardens!
  • And of course, the great Curtly Ambrose reminded everyone about the three titles in West Indies kitty – under-19, and then senior women’s and men’s title win.
  • Finally the West Indies captain got a chance to speak his mind. Like those Associate team captains who passionately pleaded for more games, Sammy spoke for his players, put forward their views. He had every right to voice his concerns on this platform. After all the players had performed irrespective of all the off field issues..  
  • Player of the match, Marlon Samuels too had few things to say – he did take a dig at Shane Warne and later at Ben Stokes.
  • It appeared that all the pent up feelings the team had, all the negative press that was thrown at them, they let their performance speak. WI men’s team clearly enjoy this format of the game, it suits their style of play and they have embraced it with open arms. And most importantly they are producing the required results.   
  • It was a joy to see them celebrate, their celebrations are infectious. Except not a big fan of that ‘shirt removal’ celebrations.  
  • The DJ did pull out some old numbers. The one I managed to catch was Oye, Oye, Oye, Owa!
  • What was good about the presentation was, the presentation party was small. Well, small compared to what we usually get to see in the subcontinent. Where many egos have to be pampered from politicians, to other public figures and any other folks with self importance. So thus we had medals for match officials, medals for two teams, and three other trophies: player of the match, player of the tournament (Virat Kohli, absent) and the winners’ trophy.   
  • And thus ended the tournament.  With many a reputation build and many shattered. With hopes for the future and with dreams shattered.  With opportunities created and opportunities missed.  
  • See you again in four years time. Yes, now T20 WC is going to be held every four years, just like the 50-overs WC.

T20 WC 2016 Semifinals Super 10

 

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Double delight for West Indies

Double dejection for New Zealand

England women falter, England men fly

Australia women in the finals to defend their title

India no-balled!

Out of the eight teams for the semifinals for both women and men, only Australia (women) and India (men) did not have their respective counterparts. Because for other teams, i.e., England, New Zealand and West Indies both their men and women teams were in the knock round. Couldn’t really catch up on much of the semifinals action (such a pity). Saw a bit of England-Australia women’s semifinal, a bit of England-New Zealand men’s semifinal and a bit of India-West Indies men’s semifinal.

  • New Zealand, on India ‘darshan’ (tour) and adapting so well to the conditions, faltered in Delhi.
  • On the other hand, England hardly toured compared to any other team in the tournament.  
  • The played only at two venues, Mumbai and Delhi. And as luck would have it, they also played their semifinal match at the same venue. It was their third straight match at Kotla.
  • Advantage England? For sure. Not only that they knew the conditions very well, but that they had enough rest too because they were not hopping airports and hotels.  
  • No, this is not to take away anything from the way they played.
  • Jason Roy was again New Zealand’s nemesis just like in that warm-up match in Mumbai.  
  • After being in charge for the first 10 overs of the match, New Zealand lost the plot completely. And they never recovered.
  • England came out to chase with a sense of purpose. And they achieved the target quite comfortably.  
  • In hindsight, either captain Kane Williamson or Colin Munro should have carried on for New Zealand to have that additional 20-25 runs that they fell short of.  
  • Was that shot by Williamson against Moin Ali on considering it was Ali’s first over? 
  • Black Caps would be disappointed with the result having performed so well in the tournament.
  • But then England was just too good. In fact, any score that NZ would have set for them, England would have achieved it, taking into consideration their strong batting line up.  They have stroke-makers who can also steer the innings if needed, prime example being, Joe Root.  
  • Australia women would have thought they were about 10-15 runs short at break time against England women. On the other hand, England women would have thought that the target was within their reach.
  • At the end of the match, Australia was not short and England were unable to chase down the target.  
  • Till Sarah Taylor was at the crease, England would have felt that they were still in the game.
  • However, there came a moment, I like to call it, Sarah Taylor’s Mike Gatting moment (Remember 1987 World Cup finals, Australia versus England, Mike Gatting played that reverse sweep and got out?)
  • Australia women fielded very well to defend the total.
  • Didn’t get a chance to catch on any action between the White Ferns and West Indies women.  
  • Suzie Bates’ and her team would be pretty disappointed with today’s result, considering just like their counterparts, the Black Caps, how well they played throughout the tournament, including enduring a 12 hour, 5 stop journey from Mohali to Nagpur and still turning up next day to beat Australia women comprehensively.  
  • West Indies women after that last ball victory against India women have been playing some quality cricket and no wonder they have reached their maiden World Cup finals. It is going to be an interesting battle between the Southern Stars and West Indies women in Kolkata.
  • And then onto the last semifinal between host India and West Indies at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
  • So far in the tournament we saw some high scoring games at Wankhede and teams were able to chase down whatever total was set because the dew factor came into play in almost all the matches.
  • Thus, it was no brainer that the captain winning the toss was going to bowl first. And that is exactly what West Indian captain Darren Sammy did. Half the battle won by winning the toss.  
  • India rung in couple of changes, one forced, well, the other too forced one. In place of injured Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey came in while in place of out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan, local boy Ajinkya Rahane came in.  
  • For the first time in the tournament India got to bat on a decent surface and they made most of it. Though still it was a sedate start.  
  • Throughout the Indian innings boundaries were hard to come by.
  • Though the Indians did give a good example of running between the wickets.
  • Except for that moment when Kohli could have been run-out, twice (seems like the only way he could be dismissed in his present form) when he had scored only 1.  Both keeper Denesh Ramdin and bowler Dwayne Bravo missed the target by a whisker.
  • Kohli made the most of this life. And from hereon his calling and running between the wicket first with Rahane and then with captain MS Dhoni was a fine example.
  • So even though boundaries were hard to come by, India still managed to reach 192.  
  • They were short by 10-15 runs. But on this wicket, the team chasing the total would have even chased down that additional 10-15 runs.
  • Another person who got two and half lives was Lendl Simmons. And he was just flown in as a replacement.  
  • If jet lag, time difference were factors, his innings didn’t reflect that.  
  • He was caught off a no-ball when on 19 (R Ashwin, the bowler, Jasprit Bumrah the catcher) and second time off a Hardik Panday no-ball (caught by Ashwin).
  • India no-balled!
  • And then the other chance was a catch at the boundary by Kohli who lobbed the ball back to Ravindra Jadeja to catch. However, Kohli was in contact with the rope and it was declared a six.
  • Oh yes, free hit after the no-ball by Ashwin did not cost any extra runs, but one by Pandya did go for a huge six.
  • Well, all the sixes that were hit were huge. In fact one six was so big that even umpire Richard Kettleborough was seen to be enjoying it and was in awe by that big hit.
  • Losing the toss, few runs short batting first, wickets of no-balls, not once but twice, the factor of dew, it was not India’s night. They had to take the chances that were offered to them and they messed up.  
  • India’ unconvincing campaign finally came to end today. They managed to reach the knockout stage scratching their way through some tough matches.
  • India started its journey with a six – Martin Guptill hitting Ashwin for a straight six down the ground to start the tournament, and then Andre Russell hit Kohli for a six to seal the match for the West Indies and end India’s journey.  
  • They were pre-tournament favorites, with Indian fans expecting them to win by just turning up.
  • They were woken up from their reverie on that Nagpur pitch, the tournament opener by that side nobody quite fancied, New Zealand.  
  • Take a moment to spare a thought for Kohli. He was brought on to bowl and he broke the partnership between Simmons and Johnson Charles off the first ball.  Tonight he could do no wrong except see his side through (he was brought to bowl the last over the innings as well).
  • But India really had very little chance to defend the total in the last over.
  • Mumbai, the city that is home to Hindi film industry, hence it was no surprise to see some film stars amongst the set of VIPs.   

T20 WC 2016 Day 21 Super 10

 

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South Africa versus Sri Lanka – Double dose; dissimilar results

It was the last day of first round of Super 10 with two teams from the same countries in action today. Both South Africa and Sri Lanka men and women’s teams, already knocked out of the WC, were involved in matches that meant nothing. A win would only soothe the egos more than anything else.  

  • The women were in action earlier in the day in Bengaluru.   
  • Sri Lanka women won the toss and elected to bat.
  • Captain Chamari Atapattu led from the front with bat and ball.  She scored 52 of 49 with 5 fours and 1 six.
  • Atapattu’s six was a huge hit. The ball cleared the rope and almost landed in the stands.
  • After Atapattu’s run-out, Sri Lankan innings lost a bit of momentum and they ended up with 114 in 20 overs.
  • It did look that that they were about 10-15 runs short, especially the way South Africa women started their chase.  
  • South Africa openers, Dane van Niekerk and Trisha Chetty put on the opening wicket partnership of 50 before van Niekerk was run-out on 24. In her knock, van Niekerk hit one mighty six that went for about 74 meters.
  • This started the slide, with two more wickets falling very quickly, from 50 for no loss, South Africa women were reduced to 52/3.  
  • After this they Sri Lanka women tightened the noose and South Africa women could never come back in the match.  
  • Lizelle Lee provided some fireworks towards the end of the South African innings but that was not enough.
  • For all those who question the hitting power of women, today’s match was worth watching. True, the hits may not be as regular or as big, but they were good enough to land in the stands. And with more women’s cricket, I’m sure this aspect too will change over a period of time.    
  • South Africa women ended with 104 in 20 overs, losing the match by 10 runs.
  • Both teams would have welcomed this opportunity to play some cricket and surely would want to play more to further improve and develop their game.  
  • Just like Associate Nations, women cricket too needs more matches, more exposure for the good of the game.  
  • Next up, the men’s team from the same nations were in action in Delhi in the evening.
  • There was a sizeable crowd for this ‘dead’ match.
  • But then they were there only for one man, AB de Villiers.  
  • Throughout the match, there were chants of ABD, ABD, ABD, with banners and placards with his photos.  
  • It is amazing how popular he is in India.  
  • Both teams made some changes to their XIs, some necessitated by injuries, for example, Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews sitting out with hamstring injury.
  • South Africa won the toss and elected to field.  
  • Sri Lanka led by Dinesh Chandimal, who opened the innings with Tilakratne Dilshan, went on to put a good opening partnership of 45.
  • But once Chandimal got out, the procession started.  
  • Sri Lanka managed to score only 120 and were bowled out in 19.3 overs!
  • South Africa started their chase with in-form batsman Quinton de Kock scoring back-to-back boundaries.
  • But then, wait, what happened? Oh, the same thing as in the last match against West Indies.  
  • It seems de Kock and his opening partner, Hashim Amla have lost each other’s contact numbers.  Someone please go and make sure that both have each other’s numbers. So that they can call! Before they run!  If in the last match it was Hashim who got out, in this match it was Quinton’s turn.
  • After this, it was a steady effort from both Amla and captain Faf du Plessis.
  • But umpire S.Ravi was in a mood to indulge the crowd who had come to see ABD. So what does he do?
  • He gives Faf out, lbw, when there is a huge inside edge from his bat onto his pads. Bowler (Suranga Lakmal) and keeper (Chandimal) go up in unison. And lo and behold, up goes the umpire’s finger! Lakmal was looking up towards the sky, as Shaun Pollock mentioned on air, thanking his lucky stars.  
  • S Ravi, you are going to get minus 10 in the captain’s report for this match!
  • Unfortunately crowd does not get to mark you – or else you would have been compensated with 110 marks! Simply because your decision brought in ABD.
  • The man they had come to watch. Though the target was small and Amla and Faf had steered the ship to safety, ABD still gave the crowd something to cheer about.
  • AB hit two sixes, the second one was match winning stroke.
  • Crowd got to see, even if little, of what they had turn up for in a relatively large number for this dead rubber match.
  • Both teams go back home earlier than they would have liked to, especially South Africa. They came to the tournament just behind India as tournament favorites. And now they return home not only empty handed but also not being able to reach the knock out stage.  
  • One of the sights that has been sort of heartbreaking to watch has been the decline of Dale Steyn. He clearly is not 100%.  
  • What I’ll miss: Mohammad Shehzad, the entertainer, Steve Smith’s expressive/animated face and Quinton de Kock’s zen like face.
  • On to the knockout stage now!

T20 WC 2016 Day 20 Super 10

 

2016_ICC_World_Twenty20_logo

Afghanistan versus West Indies – Afghanistan on the points table

Australia versus India – Virat swaroop darshanam!

Women’s

India versus West Indies – West Indies in the semis, India knocked out

England versus Pakistan – England’s dominant show

It was busy Sunday at cricket with four matches across the country.  All semifinalists for both men’s and women’s teams are now decided. Could not watch live action of Afghanistan-West Indies match however did catch up on most action of the match between Australia-India. Again missed out on catching action of the women’s matches, though did follow India-West Indies match online.  

  • Not sure how seriously West Indies took this last group stage match against Afghanistan after having already qualified for the semifinals.
  • No, this is not to take away anything from Afghanistan.
  • We all know throughout the tournament they have played exceptionally well. That fearless brand of cricket, which is required in this short format.
  • In a world where opinions are almost divided on everything, there is one opinion where surprisingly we find the cricketing community in agreement. That the Associate Nations need more exposure, more matches and the cricketing world need to show more inclusivity.  
  • This is what is going to benefit Afghanistan and other Associate nations. Making them play another round of qualifying matches was one of the biggest blunders.  
  • Coming back to the match, West Indies won the toss and elected to field.
  • On this Nagpur track which as we have seen throughout the tournament low scores have been a norm.  
  • Afghanistan scored 123 and they were able to defend this score with the help of its spinners.
  • 17-year old leg spinner Rashid Khan once again showcased his skills to the world.  
  • It was fun to watch both teams play as they both have some good entertainers in their teams.  
  • Mohammad Shehzad, Afghanistan keeper and opening batsman was in his elements showing off his dance moves, notably the “Champion” song moves learned from the West Indian players. Even Rashid Khan celebrated one of his wickets with this move. 
  • And yes, Ramiz Raja, it is Mohammad Shehzad and Ahmed Shehzad as you repeated on air.  Okay, slip of the tongue, happens. We know you are a big fan of selfie king, Ahmed Shehzad!
  • It was nice to see Chris Gayle joined the victory celebrations of the Afghanistan team posing for photos at the end of the match.
  • Andre Fletcher retired hurt (ankle injury) and came back later on in the West Indies innings but his movements were still restricted. Hope he recovers before the semifinals against India on March 31.
  • Loved the Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai’s way of trying to catch the attention of his fielders – the good old whistle with the fingers!
  • Australia-India, the almost quarterfinals at Mohali was a high tension match with a full house, comprising of course with supporters of one team. No marks for guessing!
  • Australia got off to a flying start with Powerplay overs fetching 59 runs for one wicket.
  • But once they lost Usman Khawaja, the rate of scoring slowed down which was also a result of losing wickets at regular intervals.
  • Australia ended up with 160, the score that saw a sudden jump in the last two balls of the 20th over,  a four and six by keeper Peter Neville.  
  • India in comparison had a more sedate start with both openers back in the dug out in the Powerplay.    
  • At one point India was struggling at 49/3. And then it was literally struggling with Yuvraj Singh’s injured ankle.
  • He was hobbling around on one leg, unable to run fast between the wickets and convert ones into twos.  All pressure was on Virat Kohli, who remarkably stayed calm throughout.  
  • Australia did India a big favor when Shane Watson caught Singh brilliantly – a one handed diving catch.  
  • Watson, in what turned out to be the last match of his career in Australian colors, had a fantastic match with the ball taking two wickets for 23 in four overs.
  • However, this match was all about one man, Virat Kohli. In the last few hours, a lot has been said and written about his match winning innings. And lot more would be written in years to come. In those times of reflections, one would always recall and recollect this innings most fondly. 
  • He deserves all the accolades coming his way now and even in the history of the game.
  • It was a master class. This innings should be used as a guide for each and every cricketer in art of chasing. Of course, not everyone can follow this to the ‘T’, simply because one also need to have that cricketing talent. But for sure, this has to be the blue print of chase in a high pressure situation.  
  • Coming soon, The Art of Chasing – By Virat Kohli! (And yes, it is about chasing in cricket!)

Book Cover

  • Regarding Singh’s decision to stay put, was it really wise? Was he thinking about the team? India did manage to chase down the total thanks to Kohli, but I wonder what would have happened had India lost this match?
  • So when are the others in the team going to stand up and contribute? Oh, he is only one innings away from being back in form, form is temporary, class is permanent etc, etc. But if that one innings comes once in a blue moon, what is the use of it?
  • The Indian women’s team was also in the stands cheering the men in blue. Earlier in the day they lost of West Indies women at the same venue and are knocked out.
  • They had to win this match to stay in contention (outside chance) to qualify for the semis. But West Indies women were too good for the Indian women.
  • West Indies women were able to defend a score of 114 with all-round performance from Deandra Dottin who scored 45 and took 3 wickets.  
  • West Indies women take on the White Ferns on March 31, in the second semifinals.
  • Meanwhile, England women defeated Pakistan women comprehensively in Chennai.  
  • Charlotte Edwards, England’s captain won the toss and elected to bat. She led the team from the front scoring unbeaten 77 of 61 balls with 10 fours.  England women scored 148 in 20 overs.
  • The total proved too big for Pakistan women who folded for 80 in 17.5 overs.
  • With this loss, Pakistan women too bowed out of the tournament.   

On another note, why is everyone so grudging the success of New Zealand? No, they don’t have the passionate fans of the subcontinent who raid every possible social media sites with their outpouring of emotions/comments; No, they don’t have the powerful setup of Australian or English cricket; No, they don’t have the entertainment quotient of the West Indies cricket; No, they don’t have the star power of South African cricket.  

Everyone is belittling what they have achieved so far in the tournament.  And they are being pulled down.

Law of averages would catch up with New Zealand. They have peaked too early in the tournament. They have some psychic powers to read the conditions. They don’t really have the stars like Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle etc.

For once, can we please acknowledge, applaud and show some respect for what they have achieved in the tournament? Yes, it is all about winning. And they have not yet won the title, but nor have the other teams. So can we please judge them after the tournament but at the same time appreciate their performance so far?