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India vs Pakistan cricket match: Batman just lost

his joker
February 16, 2015, 6:11 AM IST Indrajit Hazra in Red Herring | India | ET

So the worse team lost.

Without being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, didnt you, oh sons and
daughters of Hindustan who #wontgiveitback, feel a twinge of disappointment
even after vanquishing those chaps from next door? Lets face it. You did hope that
the 7 feet 1 inch Mohammad Irfan would break out of his circus cage and spread
some early-overs terror at Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. But Irfan turned out to
be quite the movie extra.

Sure, we want our batsmen to thwack the ball around, something that wasnt much
on display today because thwacking wasnt really on the menu. Sure, we want them
to rescue the team out of a chakravyuh. Which didnt happen because this Pakistan
bowling attack could have barely formed a ring-a ring-a roses circle if they wanted.

What did happen was Kohli making the most of a half-chance dropped by Yasir
Shah off Shahid Afridi when he was on 7. And then again when on 76 when Umar
Akmal floored his snick that allowed Kohli to end his day at office with a steady
107. The kind of Pakistani bowling attack that India faced on Sunday, and the Indian
batting that started the rather limp narrative, was not what deadly rivalries are
made of. This was like watching Shakti Kapoor being a gentleman, Malcolm
Marshall bowling like Ishant Sharma.

Yes, it is nice that going into the next game against South Africa next Sunday, India
has received a much-needed booster-shot of confidence. Dhawan remembers he is
a batsman again. We (and, perhaps, Dhoni) were reminded of the fine stealth
weapon that India possesses in the first real India fast bowler that Mohammad
Shami is.
Shahid Afridi had a forgettable day, no wickets and scored just 22.

But there is no doubt that Sundays game feted as the biggest, phattest game in
the history of cricket (Bret Lees pre-match description) received a beamer of a
reality check. True, watching an India-Pakistan World Cup tie from 9 oclock in the
morning is significantly different from watching a real day-nighter where sundown
brings its own weapons of support for the spectator.

How early can you start a classic cricket beer-bruncher anyway? (Answer: 11
oclock.) You can only get that much excited by watching super-excitable Brown
people in the stands at the Oval (Shane Warne and Brett Lee being the only two
White people in Adelaide on Sunday) on your TV.

If the high point of an India-Pakistan match was the intense debate around Akmals
dismissal initially the umpire had turned down Dhonis appeal for a caughtehind
off a Ravindra Jadeja turner, but gave him out after Dhoni went for a referral and
the snickometer showed some phantom quiver that was apparently .024 on the
Richter scale India-Pakistan cricket rivalry stakes have gotta have plummeted
significantly.

Pakistan won with a whimper. India won with a sigh. The match itself was a tepid
bowl of daal. Methinks what we witnessed on Sunday was the end of the Big India-
Pakistan Cricket Slag-Off. Batman has just lost his Joker, Sherlock his Moriarty,
India its Pakistan. Hai.