Shamik Das


Friday, March 23, 2007

The end for India's golden generation?

India's players, sitting on the balcony, watch on anxiously as their team slide to defeat and the brink of elimination from the 2007 cricket World Cup

Trinidad, World Cup, Group B: India 185 (43.3 overs) lost to
Sri Lanka 254/6 (50 overs) by 69 runs


India's World Cup hopes were left hanging by a thread tonight following a catastrophic defeat by Sri Lanka; only an unlikely win for Bermuda on Sunday will prevent them following Pakistan all the way back to the
sub-continent.

The shattering loss to the Lankans in all probability represents the passing of the last chance of World Cup glory for several of India's supremely talented crop of players from the past 15 years.

Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble have over 1,250 one-day caps between them dating back to the 1992 World cup, but will be approaching their 40th birthdays come the 2011 competition.

India had started the game well, reducing Sri Lanka to 78 for 2 off their first 20 overs, dismissing the dangerous Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene for a combined total of 13 runs in 43 balls, before losing their way - Upul Tharanga (64) and Chamara Silva (59) helping their team post a competitive total.

India captain Rahul Dravid cuts a lone figure as the Indian innings collapses around him

Chasing a target of 255 at 5.1 runs an over, India found themselves reduced to 44 for 3 - Tendulkar bowled throught the gate for a duck - before Dravid and Virender Sehwag appeared to turn things around, but when Sehwag was dismissed for a 46 ball 48 the Indians imploded.

Yuvraj Singh managed to get himself run out for a paltry six, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was trapped leg before by Muttiah Muralitharan for a golden duck and Agit Agarkar (10) ballooned a dolly to Russell Arnold to leave India needing 117 off the last 15 overs to stave off the unthinkable.

Despite some carefree hitting from their captain towards the end once he was out caught in the deep by Murali for 60 it was game over.

Meanwhile in Group D the West Indies maintained their 100% record without drawing sweat following an eight wicket win over Ireland at Sabina Park.

After restricting the Irish to 183 for 8 off their 48 overs the hosts cantered to victory with 59 balls to spare, Shivnarine Chanderpaul smashing an unbeaten 102.

Daren Powell celebrates his second wicket, enticing Eion Morgan into a mis-timed hook to be out caught behind by Denesh Ramdin    Shivnarine Chanderpaul pulls on his way to three figures

Earlier Daren Powell (9-2-24-2), Chris Gayle (10-0-23-2) and Dwayne Bravo (7-1-34-2) put the brakes on Ireland with some disciplined spells of bowling.

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