Two matches were played on Wednesday thousands of miles apart which were the perfect advertisement for the respective formats. Both were high scoring games but they were well contested providing a thrilling finish complete with some fine performances and what more can the cricket fan ask for?
At Bangalore a Glenn Maxwell Masterclass overshadowed the Virat Kohli – MS Dhoni show to steer Australia to a seven wicket win over India with two balls to spare in a T-20 international. At St George’s in an even more enthralling contest England defeated West Indies by 29 runs in an ODI. Not unexpectedly batsmen dominated both the games and the ODI in fact saw all sorts of records being set up with 46 sixes being hit and three batsmen getting hundreds. Chris Gayle in the process became the second West Indian after Brian Lara to get past the 10,000 run mark. But it was not a game only for batsmen; Adil Rashid saw to that with a five wicket haul including four wickets in five balls to give the match a dramatic denouement.
India would have felt that with 190 they had enough on the board. But then with Maxwell around virtually no total is safe and that is precisely what happened with the limited over specialist hammering an unbeaten 113 off just 55 balls with nine sixes and seven fours. After losing a low scoring game narrowly in the first T-20 India this time went down again in a last over finish but in a high scoring match. Last time they went down because of a middle order collapse and an unduly long tail. This time they plugged that loophole by strengthening the batting but in the process the bowling became weaker leading to the defeat. The right balance between batting and bowling has to be found for India to win matches but then of course this is easier said than done.
At St George’s England taking a 2-1 lead in the five match series again showed why they are regarded as early favourites for the World Cup. But the contest has also underlined the fact that West Indies are on the way back. With the talismanic Gayle back in the ranks they are a much more confident side. It certainly does not seem like a contest between the No 1 ranked team and the No 9 ranked team and one man has made a major difference. Gayle has shown that sometimes one charismatic individual can inspire his team to achieve greater heights.