Wow. Not quite as good as the match of Australia vs West Indies, but it was definitely exciting. The margin of 36 runs, 352 to 316, was close, at least compared to other matches in the tournament. Australia were still in with a chance until the second-last over. I am not including the last over as Australia needed to get 41 runs. While Australia batted slowly early, so did India. It was a strategy and it nearly worked out. If India hadn’t reviewed that incorrect decision when Steve Smith was incorrectly given not out, I think that Australia probably would have won. That dismissal decided the match. After that, it was all India, though Alex Carey at least played far more quickly than he usually does and nearly got Australia home. A pretty good match and well worth staying up for, even for people supporting the losing team. There’s no shame in losing like that.
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Five Things We Learned:
(1) India are one of the favourites for a reason
While India sputtered along to a narrow win over South Africa, and they nearly threw it away here against Australia, they are still winning, albeit narrowly. To beat the most in-form team in the tournament in Australia was a big effort, especially when Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell were together and were just about to take the game away from India. To have the courage to not only bowl a ferocious ball on the stumps but to then review the incorrect not out decision was fantastic. There were incredible catches, great run outs, the best of everything. They looked really good.
(2) Australia still look pretty good
While Australia lost, it wasn’t because they were the weaker side. You can look at the match and point to a number of different moments, pieces of luck perhaps, where the match could have easily gone the other way. The most notable was the dismissal of Steve Smith, right as he was starting to forge a formidable partnership with Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell was going at more than 2 runs per ball while Smith was just starting to set loose. 10 overs of that and the match would have been over, and Australia would have won. This wasn’t just close on the scoreboard – Australia could easily have won this. If they came back tomorrow to do it again, the result could have been reversed.
(3) Jasprit Bumrah doesn’t lie down
He was hammered around but came back with the match winning wicket, and reviewed it almost immediately. Sure, so it was only the 4th wicket to fall, but it was all about momentum, and Bumrah just crushed Australia’s hope. We were close to a 50/50 game when the wicket fell. The predictor had it at 37% for Australia, the closest it got for the whole contest. After that, it was soon all over.
(4) David Warner can bat slowly?
I read reports claiming that Australia threw the match because David Warner bats slowly and he never bats slowly. Well, actually… Before the ban, Warner was working on a new batting technique, which essentially meant he batted more responsibly, for longer innings at lower strike rates, and he has honed this new technique in that year off. It wasn’t that he planned to get out with a strike rate of just 66 so much as he planned to have that low strike rate early, much like Steve Smith does, and then launch later on. In other words, Warner is becoming more like Steve Smith, which is a good thing. He didn’t cost Australia the match. He gave Australia a chance.
(5) Adam Zampa is tampering with the ball?
There were reports that Adam Zampa was tampering with the ball because he was seen putting his hands in his pockets. Well, he had a cloth there, a handkerchief, to dry his hands because they get sweaty and sticky. He doesn’t put the ball in there, so it’s not tampering. Some enterprising individuals combined unrelated images to make it look like tampering, but it was pretty clear it wasn’t. The commentators discussed it and gave an honest explanation. He’s been doing that for years. While shining the ball with a cloth would be illegal, the ball does not go into his pocket, nor does he take the cloth out. Perfectly fine.