Sehwag completely deserves the title of See-Whack!(See it, Whack it) and specially after he murdered the NZ bowlers with his power hitting in the 4th ODI played at Hamilton yesterday. Virender Sehwag blasted India’s fastest ODI hundred to take India to a comprehensive series win against Newzeland. Sehwag scored his hundred off just 60 balls, 2 balls lesser than Mohammed Azharuddin to make it the fastest century in a limited over international by an Indian. He got to his hundred in signature style smashing Daniel Vettori for a six over long-off. Gautam Gambhir’s run a ball fifty was overshadowed by Sehwag’s inning, a contribution that led India and the duo to a record of ‘The Highest Opening Partnership to win a match chasing’..
“We played Holi, both on and off the field u can say” Said Sehwag at the post match press conference. “I’m still not the most dangerous batsman in the world” he added. Daniel Vettori and the rest of the bowlers were powerless in the face of the on-slaught to chase down of what was a decent target. The bowling seemed ridiculous when Sehwag hit even the good deliveries for sixes all over the park. With 2 stoppages in play during the Indian Ininings, Sehwag completed his century as early as in the 18th over. If not for play being called off due to below par NZ score when play stopped for the third time, Sehwag could have gone on to make a double hundred. More match analysis and reviews inside..
List of fastest ODI hundreds: Afridi – 37 balls, Boucher 44 balls, Lara – 45 balls, Afridi – 45 balls, Jayasuriya 48 balls, Jayasuriya – 55 balls, Virender Seewhack – 60 balls, Azhar – 62 balls, Yuvraj Singh – 64 balls, Suresh Raina – 66 balls..
Astonishingly only 5 runs came behind the square on the off side, generally it is the favourite hitting area for Sehwag. However Sehwag displayed his full range of shots, smashing every bowler specially O’brein and Thompson to treat us to some classic shots. After being set a target off 281 to win in 47 overs (D/L) India started off neatly as Gambhir hit his first boundary in the 5th ball of the first over, A classic front foot cover drive. Sehwag at the other end played some cautious shots, not until Thompson bowled a full length delivery which Sehwag smashed with full authority over deep mid wicket for a six. There was no stopping Sehwag from then on.. It rained fours and sixes from Viru’s bat as Gautam happily handed off strike, playing singles.
Only rain could have stopped Sehwag from batting, as rain stopped play for the first time in the innings at the end of 10th over. Walking back to the dressing room, Danniel Vettori checked the bat of Sehwag for if it had any magic spell.. Viru smiled back as both men walked back to the dressing room.. Shortly after the match resumed, Vettori decided not to take the bowling power play in a hope of slowing the scoring rate. He took charge and bowled a decent 11th over. With rain around and India way ahead of par score for D/L method to apply, Vettori expected the Indian batsman to play cautiously. To his surprise, India took their batting power play for overs 12-15 with Sehwag on strike. Then on, Even Daniel Vettori was not spared as most of the Powerplay overs were smacked for over 15 runs. Starting from the 12th over, Sehwag moved from 52 to 92 in no time.
Sehwag on 96, Vettori the bowler.. It was a good length ball that spun after pitching striking Sehwag on the pad.. They all go up in an appeal.. The umpire gives it not out, the ball was sliding down the leg.. he signals a boundary.. Sehwag takes a single off the next ball.. “There was no harm in giving that runs” he said to the Umpire Rudi Koertzen who just smiles about it.. Sehwag is then handed the strike back as Gambhir continues playing the ball into the gaps for single.. Sehwag on 97 and what do you expect? Nervousness creeping in..? May be… but more in the minds of the bowler.. ‘Where’s he going to hit?’.. Sehwag is down the track, he does not get to the pitch of the ball still goes with the shot in full power.. Shouts of ‘Catch it’.. Martin Guptil at Mid off lines up for the catch.. It’s gone for a six! Signature Sehwag shot.. Sehwag jumps in the air as replays show Martin Guptill watching the ball go over his head.. The crowd erupts and everyone in the dressing room jumps with joy..
“I knew that the fastest hundred by Indian is off 62 or 63 balls and i was counting.. It was by Azhar Bhai.. and I went for it..” he said at the press conference.
19.1, Oram to Sehwag.. Single.. 19.2 Oram to gambhir.. Dot ball.. Rain Starts.. Vettori immediately goes to Oram and discusses the field.. trying to buy some time and hoping for the rain to increase.. this is what i learnt courtesy commentary on Sify..
“This hasn’t yet qualified as a complete game, another four balls required to fulfill the criteria. Daniel Vettori was aware of the fact, he just looked at the ball, tossed it in the air and had a look at umpire Gary Baxter. That expression was enough. The Indians would have loved to block the remainder of the over, need not hit them out of the park even. 20 overs make a complete game as you all know.” Vettori tried his last move hoping that the rain would never stop and the match would be abandoned better 2-0 than 3-0.
What time to go? With India well ahead of the D/L par score, The Umpires could have stayed on for 4 more balls for the result. The umpires, though, went by the principle: when you gotta go, you gotta go. Thankfully play resumed India completed the 200 with a single as both Sehwag and Gambhir hugged each other for another milestone achievement. With India at 201 for no loss in 23.2 overs, it rained again and India was declared winners by 81 runs (D/L Method).
Credits also go to the Newzeland batting that posted a decent 270 in 47 overs after losing their way in the middle of the innings. Ryder did the early scoring, but played cautiously against the swinging new ball. He however continued playing some sparkling shots to keep the run rate at 6 per over. At the other end, McCullum started the innings even more cautiously. At one time he had a score of only 3 off 20 balls. However after he got his eye in, he picked the scoring rate up and smashed his way to a decent 76 before being dismissed out LBW to a full Zaheer Khan delivery which was clearly going down the leg. India’s part time spinners restored the pressure as they bowled decent overs in the middle occasionally picking up wickets. Captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni missed a simple stumping chance but got Ryder out playing a slog sweep skying the ball, well taken by Suresh Raina. A one-off effort from Raina after India’s poor fielding display, when Sehwag dropped a sitter off McCullum fielding at deep mid wicket and Gambhir dropping McGlashan to a regulation catch in the same spot. Dhoni dropped a tough one off the bowling off Ishant Sharma. India also let a few go through the legs as NZ batsmen continued scoring at a brisk rate.
NZ however lost their way in the middle of the innings when they lost some quick wickets and momentum shifting India’s way due to some rain interuptions. McGlashan and Elliot rectified the damage scoring some brisk runs towards the end of the innings to take Newzeland to a defendable score of 270. McGlashan displayed a full range of Sweep shots.. Paddle sweep, Orthodox Sweep, the Reverse sweep.. in his innings of 55. Elliot also ended not out scoring about 30 runs. Fifty-one runs came off the final four overs after the second rain break to help set a target that was expected to test India’s batting might. However, Sehwag and Gambhir barely broke into a sweat when they came into bat.
In an Interview with NDTV, Vettori Said: “We need 500 to win against India, specially against this batting line up.”
“I’m happy to be playing on the same side as Sehwag in the IPL, I don’t have to bowl at him”
“Sehwag is the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket right now. Sachin is there but sometimes he treats you with respect.. With Sehwag there is no stopping, good ball or bad ball, everything has to be hit..”
“Our bowlers bowled pretty well, It’s just that Sehwag was having his day”
Such is the trauma all NZ bowlers are going through. You simply cannot set a field for him, He has such a range of shots.. Bowl full at him, he smacks you over mid wicket.. Bowl short, he pulls them over square leg.. There’s no stopping the man, specially when he is having a good time.. The only way to get him out is hope that he has a rough day which is not the case most of the time.. There is no stopping this man.. And there’s no stopping Team India.. India is playing the most aggressive batting line up at this time in world cricket.. I personally can’t wait for the IPL to begin.. Want to see more of Sehwag..
“It was a team effort, Bowlers bowled well, the batsman score the runs.. ” said Dhoni at the presentation ceremony. “Last match it was Sachin and Yuvi, this time it was Viru and Gauti.. we are not dependent on any single batsman and that is working to our advantage. It’s also important to note that everyone realizes who is in form and play around him, You can say, it’s one trunk and we play the branches” he added. Dhoni must be feeling lucky to have all the batsman in prime form in the series, but nobody should forget the contribution of one of my favorite cricketers, Saurav Ganguly, he was the man who brought all these stars, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer and co into the team. Specially when India was having a tough time winning. Congratulations Dada, they are all you find.
Smart Stats: Courtesy CricInfo
- Virender Sehwag’s unbeaten 125 is his third ODI hundred in New Zealand, where he averages more than in any country where he has played more than one match. In 11 games there he has hit three hundreds, for an average of 55.80 at a strike rate of 100.90. He is the only Indian to score more than one ODI century in New Zealand.
- In his last 21 ODIs, Sehwag has scored 1240 runs at an average of 62 and a strike rate of 131.49.
- In 24 innings, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have added 1380 runs at an average of 60 and strike rate of 6.61 per over. Among Indian opening pairs who’ve scored at least 750 runs, this pair has the highest average and strike rate.
- Sehwag and Gambhir added 201 at a rate of 8.55 runs per over, which is the second-fastest double-century partnership in ODIs. Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga added 286 against England in 2006 at a rate of 8.98 runs per over.
- Ewen Thompson’s economy rate of 10.50 is among the most expensive by a debutant. Among those who bowled at least four overs on debut, only four have a worse economy rate.
Scorecard courtesy: CricInfo Image Courtesy: CricInfo
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PS: I’m still the light man at office, People continue forgetting to switch off the lights when not required. Who can tell them that saving power is a part of thier social responsibilty too.. X-(