Brendan Taylor was a pleasant experience. He took the sting out of the Indian attack and made the bowlers look helpless as long as he was at the crease. It was one of the standout moments of this World Cup when he reached his century in what may be his farewell innings for Zimbabwe.
Taylor could not have timed his innings any better. Taylor was up against an attack that has emerged as one of the most compact in the tournament. To be able to make his presence felt in a big way was recognition of Taylor’s batting potential. His batting is so uncomplicated. I have seen many batsmen do well only because they stick to the basics.
Playing the ball on its merit is always helpful, but Taylor made sure he did not waste the scoring opportunities. He played with the full face of the bat and that makes a pleasant sight these days when power hitting is the vogue. I liked Taylor’s aggression against the spinners. The cut, sweep and reverse sweep left the bowlers confused. When a batsman is looking to dominate, bowlers tend to lose their composure. The Indian bowlers must have been surprised by the intensity of Taylor’s batting. He picked the length of the ball early and launched into a wide range of shots.
Taylor did not hit the ball hard but worked it into the gaps. There may have been some criticism of Taylor’s decision to move to England, but he had his priorities right. His concern for his family was understandable. Zimbabwe has had a rough period for some time now. Taylor’s contribution to Zimbabwe cricket is huge but he had to choose between the game and his family. He made a decision that suits him.
The Indian spinners received a wake-up call ahead of the knockout stage. Good for them. There is no need for any analysis at this stage because it was not a bad thing that the spinners came in for punishment. It is not easy to bowl on New Zealand grounds.
They present a very different challenge. The odd shapes of the grounds mean the field settings change and it becomes a tough job to stick to the field. I don’t want to read much into the spinners conceding so many runs.
I am beginning to believe that Mohit Sharma is the best thing to have happened to the Indian team at this World Cup. It was known that Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami would be the key men in the pace attack, but Mohit has not lagged behind.
The conditions do not favour Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who loves to seam and swing. Mohit, however, has slipped into his role as the third seamer with a highly professional touch. The absence of an effective third seamer was the only weak link in this Indian team but Mohit has provided the added edge.
What I like most about Mohit is that he bowls within his limits. It helps when an individual understands his position in the team, and Mohit has come to accept that he has to take wickets. It adds to the strike power of the attack and Mohit should be given a lot of credit for the improved show by the Indian bowlers. He can surprise batsmen with his pace and the slower one is also an effective weapon. The only concern is when his head drops.
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni accomplishing the job with a big partnership completed the assignment for India. Raina was in for a big knock and it was good for Dhoni to have spent time in the middle. These knocks will go a long way in boosting their confidence. Finishing the group stage on a winning note shows the team is peaking at the right time.