SOUTH Australia last night busted the dam wall on the longest drought in Australian cricket, tying with Tasmania to claim the Ryobi Cup in a thrilling final at Adelaide Oval. The Redbacks won their third one-day domestic premiership, finishing tied with Tigers in a last-ball nail-biter but triumphing as the higher-ranked side to overcome a 25-year exile from the champions stage. South Australia – an undisputed dud in the all-white arena of Sheffield Shield cricket – turned on red-and-black magic to claim the state’s first one-day silverware since it beat Tassie in the 1986-87 McDonald’s Cup final. Until last night, no state side had waited longer for a competition victory. In amazing closing scenes, tailender James Faulkner needed a run to tie and two runs to win from the final ball from Gary Putland. He missed and non-striker Ricky Ponting – booed for removing his pads for the final ball – scrambled through for the tying bye. It wasn’t enough.
Needing just five to win with seven wickets in hand starting the final over, Bailey fell on the second ball, lbw on referral. Facing four to get from four runs, and with Ponting (75) stranded at the bowlers end, Faulkner dug out a yorker for a handy two. Faulkner played and missed the next two deliveries, leaving two to win and one to tie from the last ball. Continue reading →
Many cricket fans would continue to marvel at the coolness and authority displayed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in crunch situations at the end of tense ODI matches. But let me highlight and praise Dhoni’s balanced commentary in reviewing India’s performances and unfortunate moments after a match is over. His equanimity and reasonableness is praiseworthy.
Several years back I was able to sneak into a media review at the end of a match where India had beaten Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval, an occasion where Dhoni fronted up for the Indian squad he captained. I was impressed by his clinical commentary and clarity of expression. More recently, he faced the press in adverse circumstances after the Australian Test series where India was trounced and his own batting was rather disappointing. He avoided clichés and accepted India’s shortcomings four square.
Likewise, after the pulsating and historic tie between Indian and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on the 14th February he referred to his own fatal error when India was on top, that is the moment where he sparked Gambhir’s run-out [though replays viewed subsequently told me that Gambhir had also contributed to it in not diving for the crease, while we must also mark Kulasekara’s fielding as top-drawer]. Continue reading →
What an incredible finish to this evening’s one-day match at the Adelaide Oval.
Here’s how the 50th over played out, with India needing 9 from the final 6 balls.
Ball 1 – Malinga to Dhoni – 2 runs to long on (equation – 7 runs off 5 balls)
Ball 2 – Malinga to Dhoni – edges into his pad and scampers a single (6 needed off 4 balls)
Ball 3 – Malinga to Kumar – slower ball, tapped to point for a single (5 off 3 balls)
Ball 4 – Malinga to Dhoni – slogged straight to fielder inside circle, Malinga misses run-out chance (4 off 2 balls)
Ball 5 – Malinga to Kumar – RUN OUT – The batsmen ran and Kumar was short. But Dhoni back on strike. (4 from 1) Umesh Yadav comes to the crease to perform his role as a runner.
Ball 6 – Malinga to Dhoni – Good-length ball slashed over extra cover. Fielder did well to stop before it crossed the rope, palmed it back in but the two batsmen easily made three runs.