With cricketers confined to their homes in times of this raging pandemic, Virat Kohli and company have resorted to social media to keep their fans entertained through certain actions or antics. Every single post that they make, rivets massive fanfare. Ravichandran Ashwin who was a part of the Indian World Cup-winning team in 2011 created a Youtube channel and started with unorthodox cricket analysis.
In a fascinating breakdown of the strategy, Prasanna Agoram relayed it to Ashwin on his Youtube show that how he carved out the plan for South Africa to pull off an impossible victory against India. Being a heavily batting-dependent side, India stuttered after their middle-order collapsed like a house of cards in front of the mighty Proteas bowling. Dale Steyn initiated the landslide from which the likes of Dhoni, Pathan, Kohli, and Yuvraj couldn’t make themselves comfortable and succumbed.
A total that seemed to be closing in on 350 plus was restricted to 296 as India was skittled out. South Africa was off to a flyer but was shortly pulled over by Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh.
Ind vs SA 2011 WC: The Introduction of Zaheer Khan
The plan here was very simple that was engineered by Prasanna. To chase 296 successfully, the main thorn in South Africa’s flesh was Zaheer Khan. He got even more lethal in the dying embers of the game as he was death over specialist.
In a slide that brought out the statistics, Zaheer’s bowling strategy was revealed. The Indian express bowler got a lot more lethal with the ball getting old as that aided him in his cause to generate a lot of reverse swing that seemed to be unplayable for the others. There was one trend that Dhoni religiously followed was the bowling pattern of Zaheer.
The first 10 overs would see Zak bowling 5 overs and then he made a return between the 30th to 33rd over for a one or two over spell in order to produce a breakthrough. His next stint will be in the batting powerplay. Now funnily most of the batting powerplays were taken in the death overs to ensure that the maximum utilization of the batsmen’s aggression can be done.
However, Prasanna came up with a very interesting point that stated that given the fact once the batsmen get into the death overs, the slogging will automatically be on. No matter whatsoever is the delivery, the bat will be swung at everything. Given Dhoni’s trend of introducing Zak in the batting powerplay, South Africa took the powerplay early and MSD introduced Zaheer to the attack, exactly playing out into the arms of the opposition’s strategy.
As the death overs came up, all that the Indian best had up his sleeve was a solitary over. With 17 needed off the last two overs, the Proteas negotiated out the risk of going for the kill in the final over, playing out Khan for just 4 runs in the penultimate over.
Nehra stepped up for that final over with 13 to defend and Robin Peterson tip-toed his way to a remarkable victory over the World champions, hammering Nehra in the first 4 balls of the over.
This was the brilliance of the strategy concocted by Prasanna. Play out Zaheer and India will play out to you. It was a simple personification of the fact that it is not always wise to go for the kill. Retreat when you need to and you will live to fight another day on which you will win.