India Vs Sri Lanka ODI: A Perfect Tie Barring the Missing Delivery

The term “Perfect tie” never existed in Cricket jargon until India and Sri Lanka tied their  ODI game  on the Valentine’s day with more than a few metrics being equal at the end of a thrilling contest, in the ongoing ODI Triangular series in Australia. At the end of the 50th over, not only were the totals and the number of wickets lost were identical (236/9);  extras conceded, sixes and fours scored, and few other oddities were equal between both teams. The chequered contest eventually went down to the wire resulting in a perfect tie barring a controversy caused by a miscounted 30th over in which the umpire erred by calling over when one delivery was still left.

Apart from the near perfect nature of the tie from a statistical point of view, the match also produced an evenly balanced spectacle of sheer brilliance matched by some shocking lapses in the field. There were plenty of run-outs, many due to a combination of brilliant fielding and ill judgement. Sri Lanka’s performance in the field was a mixed bag. They prolonged the game to the last over despite have a meager total to defend, thanks to some outstanding fielding with the Lankan skipper Mahela Jeyawardena leading by example. But on the other hand their fielding became atrocious at times with some crucial lapses that changed the complexion of the game. A sitter was dropped by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkarara, usually known for his composure in  tough situations. Then the usually level headed Angelo Mathews followed up his comical run-out dismissal by sending down a shockingly poor penultimate over laced with full tosses hampering the chances of a Lankan win. The mess was complete  when the  Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga failed to gather the ball cleanly and missed out on two run-out chances in the dying stages of the match. However Malinga more than made up for the lapses by sending quality deliveries in his 10-over spell  and was also instrumental in bringing Lanka back in the match at a time they seemed to be headed for defeat.

One man stood tall for India in a match that tested the players’ nerves to the limit. Indian skipper MS Dhoni seemed to have further strengthened his reputation as  “Captain Cool” by architecting back-to-back chases in trying circumstances – against Australia in the earlier game, and now Lanka.  In the last couple of matches he also seemed to have developed a habit of chasing at his own sedate pace without taking any risks, before exploding at the end stages when the match is down to the wire. But in both cases, he did not have the batting firepower at the other end to take more chances and finish the game early. Funnily, his tactics seemed to have divided Indian fans while the enigmatic skipper continues to let his bat talking. Dhoni’s  track record in chases and the ability to overcome odds time and again has earned him the reputation as the best finisher in the business.  Although he eventually failed to win the match for India, the tie was the next best result and he was able produce it in a tense climax where even more glorified batsmen would have stuttered in a photo- finish. His task was made all the more difficult by the Sri Lankan spearhead Malinga who is considered one of the best  when it comes to death-over bowling. The fact Dhoni came out unscathed for the second time – this time scoring 3 runs off Malinga’s final delivery to tie the game – is more to do with his uncanny ability to play the game with no visible show of nerves rather than the law of averages not catching up.

If this was not a tie, the case of missing delivery in the 30th over would have gone unnoticed. As debate mounted, ICC and Cricket Australia, eventually issued a statement in which they  simply played down the incident as a honest human error.

The ODI triangular now enters the second and final leg of the tournament as India, Sri Lanka and hosts Australia vie for the best of three finals to be held first week of March. Each team plays 8 games in total, split into 2 legs, and each win adds  4 points, with an extra point also on offer for better wins. The tied game resulted in 2 points per team. As it stands currently, India leads the table and have 10  points,  followed by Australia at 9 points, whereas Sri Lanka registered their first points thanks to the tie and need to lift their standards in the remaining matches if they are to upset what appears to be best of three Indo-Australian finals.

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Posted by on Feb 16 2012. Filed under New, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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