A 143-run defeat isn’t any less than causing an atomic explosion on the face of the defeated! Especially when it is the World Cup. And so it was, on June 27, where Manchester heard sounds of an explosion, from which sky blue color-flamed emanated. It was such a loud sound that the entire Caribbean was united by grief.
The West Indians could be heard deciding which player among the fifteen would sit on the aisle seat and which on the window on the long flight back. The Indians, led by captain courageous, could be heard organizing a giant party that would rock the town.
Onto more serious stuff now.
It could be said that the manner in which Virat Kohli’s team India beat the West Indies in Manchester was nothing short of a cruel road roller mowing down a helpless street protestor. India didn’t cut any corners in all three departments of the game and absolutely destroyed the West Indies.
A popular expression in the west used particularly in the instance of someone defeats an opponent comprehensively is that the vanquished was ‘hung out to dry,’ like a piece of linen under bright sunshine.
The same fate was meted out to the West Indies, now out of semi-final contention. Upon the conclusion of the 34th over and 2 deliveries, India really hung the West Indies out to dry. At the end of the day, India did pretty much everything right which the West Indians didn’t.
Their bowling was remarkably spot on and up to the mark, the fielding was accurate and agile, and the batting had signs of class and a sort of one-sidedness in its intent to dominate the nearly spineless opposition.
Perhaps it may not be too far-sighted to suggest that India’s clinical domination of the West Indies gave Jason Holder’s men a fine example of how to build an ODI contest and how to pace an inning.
That said, India’s triumph in the shorter format shouldn’t take many by surprise. For close to two years now, starting with their success against New Zealand in the sub-continent, to beating Australia in Australia and their games thus far in the 2019 World Cup, there’s nothing really that has stopped Virat Kohli and the men in blue.
Determined, attacking and driven to excel, there aren’t too many off days for a side that’s composed of one strong player after another.
And in beating the West Indies in a one-sided narrative, India sent West Indians closer to the exit gate (their two remaining games now a formality), cautioned Australia about what might happen in the semi-final stage, and ultimately edged out England from the number 1 spot on the ICC ODI rankings.
At this point in time, Virat Kohli led-India continued their undefeated streak in the mother of all sporting battles, the ICC World Cup, 2019. With two more league games remaining, one against Bangladesh and another, against Sri Lanka, it can be said that India may finally meet some challenges in the form of two sub-continental teams that know the strengths and weaknesses of the giant killers, having played much of their cricket in a part of the world from where superstars like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have emerged.
That said, there’ll be nothing that Virat Kohli would want now than to take the remainder of his normal World Cup fixtures as a practice game for the semis and hopefully, the final stage. All the best to the men in blue, and also to those who think they can usurp the best side that there is.