BY ALI NAQVI –
If you need 7 runs per over and keep wickets in hand for more than half of the innings it is most likely that you will end up winning the match. Australia chasing a target of 353 runs did keep the wickets intact yet lost the match. The way the Aussies played was a clear indication that they were playing with a plan. The plan was to lose the match. Was the match fixed?
The first wicket partnership between Finch and Warner was slow to start with. It was expected that once settled, the two batsmen will break loose. Finch got run out while Warner crawled to his half century and then played a poor shot and went back to the pavilion. After 25 overs the run rate jumped close to 10 runs per over. It was awfully frustrating to watch Australia giving the match away.
There was still no urgency. With 8 wickets in hand Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja were playing their test match innings. After the dismissal of Steve Smith wickets started falling at regular intervals. Maxwell did hit some good shots but it was too late. Some hitting at the end of the innings was not more than a saving grace. Australia was bowled out for 316 runs. No team, not even Afghanistan can put up such a show at the world cup stage. The Australian innings was boring and lifeless to say the least.
It was extremely disappointing for the cricket fans all over the world. No one could have expected this from former world champion Australia. It looked like a match was fixed. The Australian top order showed no intent and no aggression at all. There was no stage in the innings when the Kangaroos showed the willingness to play for a win.
It seems that Big Three has been resurrected. Australia was favored in its match against West Indies when umpires did everything they could to make West Indies lose. Indian has always been a dominant player in the Big Three system. There is no doubt that India is one of the most powerful teams in the world. But why was it necessary to break the spirit of the game by fixing the match.
Australia VS India was not a match. It was negative cricket, bad sportsmanship and disappointing contest. There should be impartial investigation for match fixing. But one cannot expect justice from ICC. It’s a body that penalizes weaker and less influential countries in the world cricket.