India did well yesterday to defeat the Aussies in the first final of the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series. After restricting Australia to 239, Indians scored the needed runs with some 3 overs to spare. In a long time, this is one of the most authentic victories for India. Sachin Tendulkar played a good innings to take India to the victory. I am not a great fan of Sachin Tendulkar off-late, but I must admit that he played well yesterday by timing the ball sweetly and staying on till the end. My grudge against Sachin was always that he scores his quota of runs but has not stayed on to complete the proceedings. But he proved me wrong this time and I am happy about that!! Rohit Sharma also played very well and come out of a shell which he went in after scoring the first 10 runs quickly.
India did have its moments of anxiety when it lost 3 quick wickets of Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvaraj Singh. Sachin and Rohit steadied the innings and diligently waited for the loose balls to score the odd boundaries. India was in a familiar position of needing 100 odd runs from 20 overs or so, and from similar situations, we have failed many a times in the past. But the difference this time was Sachin Tendulkar. He stayed like a rock inspite of his visible uncomfortability against Bret Lee. I felt that Sachin has not been able to overcome the psychological barrier against Bret Lee and I saw him ducking for balls which could have been played comfortably on the backfoot. There was also an incident with Bret Lee delievering a beamer which hit Sachin on his left shoulder. The Aussie bowling looked medicore yesterday and was never seen like wicket-taking. Aussies also faltered couple of times in their fielding, very unusal of them. Overall, Indians prevailed over Aussies comfortably thanks to a superb century by Sachin Tendulkar.
Moving from Australia to Malaysia, the Indian colts won the Under 19 World Cup. This is the second time they have won a U-19 WC after 2000 when they wond under Mohammed Kaif's captaincy. I should say Indians were lucky to have won the WC after scoring only 159 while batting first. Rain interrupted play and the poor South Africa was left to score 120 runs in 25 overs. Rain curtailed matches and ill-luck chases South Africa in all forms of cricket.
My biggest worry is that the U-19 Indian team would be showered with praises and prizes when they return to India. Ofcourse, they deserve this for winning the World Cup, but should not make them believe that they have achieved the pinnacle. Good talent from the U-19 ranks should be identified and blooded in International Cricket at regular intervals. I guess with Dhoni favouring the youngsters and proving the critics that the young team can win, should make it possible to induct fresh talent into the Indian senior team from the junior ranks.
Overall, Sunday was very positive for Indian Cricket and lets hope that Indians wrap up the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series at Gabba on Tuesday.