Slam bang, not quite

For all the humbug about Twenty20 being slam bang stuff made for the TV with sixes and boundaries, West Indies showed India it is about brains as well.
The win over the defending champions showed their game is not revolving around one man – Chris Gayle – and how having a definite plan and showing discipline to stick to it can benefit the ‘weaker’ teams as well.
In fact, such is the beauty of the format that just one strategic measure can prove to be a masterstroke. Even if it may be a near inconspicuous move like a bowling change, it could means loss of momentum and by the time the team reacts, the game might be well over.
Deccan Chargers used the bowler Rohit Sharma as a surprise weapon in the IPL. Even the talented Stuart Broad had to resort to disturbing tactics as England clutch on as many straws as they can.
So what did West Indies do? They decided to target Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha, the two main weapons for Dhoni to get through the middle overs. The opening and closing ends of the line-up were leaking anyway.
For all his abilities Ishant Sharma can be predictable with his short-pitched stuff and unless he re-invents himself, he could well go Javagal Srinath’s way of being one-dimensional bowler. Ojha turns the ball admirably after a nice loop in the flight.
So all Gayle’s boys had to is free their arms and play across the line and just get the placements right. For Ojha, it was a straight attack policy from where the ball pitched. The number of times the ball landed in no man’s land was no elaborate run on the luck counter. It showed the batsmen had their backup plans the moment it was clear they would not be able to cross the ropes.
In a sense, one gathers, Dhoni knew about Sharma’s weak link and hence was trying to avoid bringing him on when Gayle was at the crease.
It would be better for India that Sharma raises the bar to the next level rather than the team working their way around the chinks in their armour.
Not a slam bang theory that.

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