Look out Australia: Harbhajan is back
South Africa's Hashim Amla, left, looks on as India's Harbhajan Singh celebrates. AP Photo/Bikas Das
Just as Australian batsmen heaved a sigh of relief that India’s off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was out of the Indian team, he comes back with stunning figures of 4 overs, 2 maidens, 12 runs, 4 wickets against England in the ICC World T20 on Sunday night.
This helped India to thrash the highly-fancied England by 90 runs with Man of the Match, Harbhajan, salivating at the chance of niggling Australia – his pet hate – in a Super Eights match on Saturday.
Along with batsmen, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan has been behind India’s stunning Test wins over Australia home and away in the 2000s. This trio contributed as much to Australia falling from supreme to mediocre as did Englishmen Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann and Alastair Cook.
In the current World T20, India had an unimpressive win over Afghanistan but came back with a vengeance with an emphatic victory over England, as if chanting, “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I can smell the blood of an Englishman!”
Australians on the other hand had easy wins over ‘giant-killers’ Ireland and champion material West Indies.
What I cannot understand is how come winners of Group A and Group B meet each other in Super Eights.
Shouldn’t the winner in Group A meet the number 2 in Group B? And shouldn’t the winner in Group B meet the number 2 in Group A?
By this sensible criterion, India should have met West Indies and Australia should have met England. Otherwise, what’s the point of winning both matches in one’s group?
Can Roar readers explain, please.
The organisers have gone by the original “seeding” where England was seeded no. 1 in Group A and India no.2. Same is the case in Group B.
Thus, India’s win over England on Sunday night had no meaning.
Not that it matters but the logicality of this system seems faulty.
So how will the far-from-friendly rivals Australia and India go on Saturday? So far, Shane Watson has performed very well with both bat and ball in the two games, scoring 51 and an unbeaten 41, and taking 3 for 26 and 2 for 29.
Fast bowler, Mitchell Starc, has been equally impressive with the ball, grabbing 2 for 20 and 3 for 35. His partner in pace, teenager Pat Cummins, also from NSW, has been very disappointing.
For India, Virat Kohli has been consistent, scoring 50 and 40, while Rohit Sharma contributed an unbeaten 55 against England. Harbhajan gave a match-winning performance against England as stated before.
He keeps his best against Australia so it would be worth staying awake from Sunday midnight (EST) onwards to await the outcome of the tussle.
It is not a knock-out match, as both Australia and India will play two more matches before the semi-finals start on October 4.
Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.