There is little point in recapping India's win yesterday, since anyone reading this will most probably have already seen it for themselves. (The Cricket Watcher's Journal has a pretty comprehensive round-up of news and reactions from the final, in case anyone missed anything). Here, though, are some random thoughts/observations I made during the match:
- Something that must be noted about Misbah-ul-Haq's little paddle to Sreesanth to end the match: it probably wouldn't have even happened had the game not been played in Johannesburg. The previous delivery was a straight pull for six that I'm pretty certain would have been caught inside the boundary in any other ground in the world.
- It's a little funny how, out of the entire clan of immensely gifted cricketers who have dominated Indian cricket for more than a decade, the only two who ended up victorious in an international tournament were the two biggest underachievers of the lot -- Virender Sehwag and Ajit Agarkar.
- I wonder what that final would have been like had Pakistan's best bowler not been injured. Mohammad Asif was clearly below his best yesterday, and it was obvious that there was some little niggle causing him discomfort. Would India have even gotten to 150 if Asif, Gul, and Afridi were all firing? I doubt it. (Incidentally, did Asif's injury have anything to do with his pre-tournament altercation with Shoaib Akhtar? What an interesting sub-plot it would be, if that's the case.)
- So my pre-World Cup predictions ended up, not surprisingly, being completely wrong: I initially had both India and Pakistan going out early. However, I wasn't as far off as it would seem. My reasoning was mostly correct -- I said I didn't expect teams with bad fielding to get very far. And they didn't, really. Except India and Pakistan were actually great fielding teams, all tournament long. (That's right, kids... it's a brave new world we live in.)
- My buddy George has a simple, yet brilliant suggestion for any cricket played in the future: keep the stumps as loose in the ground as they were throughout the World Cup. Seeing them fly off the and almost decapitate the keeper every time someone was bowled had to one of the coolest enduring images of the past two weeks.