ICC World Cup 2015 – India v Pakistan: Kohli as ever (of course, of course)

“Unless, of course, there’s no such thing as chance; …in which case, we should either-optimistically-get up and cheer, because if everything is planned in advance, then we all have a meaning and are spared the terror of knowing ourselves to be random, without a why; or else, of course, we might-as pessimists-give up right here and now, understanding the futility of thought decision action, since nothing we think makes any difference anyway, things will be as they will. Where, then, is optimism? In fate or in chaos?”

? Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

 

India 7/300 (50 overs)
V Kohli 107 (126), SK Raina 74 (56), S Dhawan 73 (76), Sohail Khan 5/55 (10)

Pakistan 224 (47 overs)
Misbah-ul-Haq 76 (84), Mohammed Shami 4/35 (9)

India won by 76 runs

 

India and Pakistan and separation and anguish and religion and family and fighting and loving and fighting and land and disputes and weapons and escalations and wealth and boom and refugees and drought and cold and heat and tuk tuk and dust and poverty and strength and democracy and militia and namaste and everywhere religion religion religion.

That’s me in the corner.

Colonial interference and cricket and hardship and separation and square leg intertwine today at Adelaide, quiet and scarcely populated Adelaide, alive to a sold out World Cup Group B fixture of colour and noise a crippling sense of expectation across-the-seas.

India the defending champions win the toss and decide to bat first and then post a big total and then win and in winning win their first international match in three months spent now in Australia and in winning also send the vast population of India into a jubilant and happy daze that will affect them in a lingering sense for many years.

Mohammad Irfan bowling sharply to S Dhawan but the Indian survives and resets and unleashes merry under the baking sun of Adelaide and watches his partner depart after RG Sharma pre-meditates a pull shot and only top edges it to Misbah-ul-Haq and thus brings V Kohli to the middle. Runs runs runs square and straight and the piling up stops only with a run out mix up and it’s good bye S Dhawan but hello to S Raina who bats surprisingly ahead of Rahane and Dhoni to maintain left/right hand batsmen and to lend a ready air of chaos to the maelstrom. And V Kohli bats on and on and enhances his record of reaching 100 every time he has batted at Adelaide this tour with a deft single amid the plundering and is eventually out in the 46th over for a career-highlight 107. Raina and Dhoni and Raina and Raina and Raina is out now too and the total will be a big one and is a big one and finishes now at exactly 300.

Of course, of course that India should find batting form now is what should always have happened and was always going to happen and is as unsurprising as it is baffling.

Pakistan then for 301 to win and a big mountain to climb and a long road to march and a long river to cross and a lot of smoke to navigate following unnecessary Adelaide fireworks and in the fourth over Mohammad Shami bounces out that prolific compiler of low bouncing pitch runs Younis Khan, with a head ball gloved through to MS Dhoni and with that India harvests the fruits of an intimate local knowledge and with that also a vital strut of the elaborate and intricate and volatile Pakistan reply is removed. Now Haris Sohail and Ahmed Shehzad build the total through 17 overs to 1/79 and a base camp is established at the foot of this Everest but storms weaken the camp taking Haris Sohail who loses his wicket to the last ball of the maiden(!) from R Ashwin. And at 2/101 Ahmed Shehzad looks to get cracking but creams one straight down the throat of RA Jadeja. It’s the 24th over and Sohaib Maqsood arrives at the desultory base camp, now half abandoned. With his dismissal two balls later the base camp is dismantled and the game effectively over. In the 25th, Umar Akmal is given caught behind to Jadeja but only after captain and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni referred the original decision of not out and Pakistan’s challenge is kaput at 5/103 though Misbah-ul-Haq remains on 7*. The rest of the innings is the story of Misbah-ul-Haq going down in his sinking ship with a stiff salute and an air or gravitas befitting the occasion.

India on the relatively home ground of Adelaide too strong for scratchy Pakistan. And yet what difference does it make, anyway? Fate or chaos?

 

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.

Comments

  1. Insightful and inventive as always ER.
    When you first started writing in this style I struggled with comprehension – “has this bloke lost the comma on his keyboard?”
    But I was thinking as I read this on the train to work, how naturally the rhythms and pauses injected themselves into your language in my head without prompting. I guess that is a mark of good writing.
    I am struggling to get engaged with the Cricket World Cup from Perth and without Pay TV. But I enjoyed the ABC radio from the garden yesterday. Like Patrick Skene’s wonderful Asian Cup pieces, it was more the buzz and colour of diverse fans that engaged me than the action in the middle.
    4 weeks to winnow out the minnows and reduce 14 to 8 for the real contest???
    Talk about “a show about nothing”.
    Or as you say in your conclusion “And yet what difference does it make, anyway? “

  2. Very generous, PB.
    I remain unsold on the PayTV as well. Didn’t see a ball of this game – followed the key happenings via cricinfo afterwards.
    There’s something of the slow-build to most tournaments, I reckon, but they do fire up. Australia v Bangladesh is a problem. Wonderful for Ireland just now. Brilliant.
    Though where this places West Indies cricket is perhaps a worry.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Wonderful piece ER.
    Bottler first paragraph and nice lead in with the Rushdie quote.
    Fate took some fans to a Western Sydney pub to watch the game and chaos followed ‘and’ it seemed like more of a contest than the cricket game. Says much about the world really. Have been listening to the wireless on ABC. A year of Pay TV cost me more brain cells than 30 years of binge drinking. No thanks.

  4. Thanks a lot Phillip D.
    The Rushdie way I find intoxicating in its sweep and in its breathlessness. Evocative of a special kind of ordered disorder, as I expect India herself to represent on a daily basis. Somewhere I’d love to see.
    Luckily I did once spend a fortnight in Nepal (coinciding with the 2003 World Cup), which I was told is a calm version of india. (Wouldn’t have described Kathmandu as calm.)

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Great writing ER. Like Phil, loved your first paragraph. Has the India/Pakistan story ever been summed up better? I very much doubt it.

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