International cricket seems to going through an exciting phase at the moment. The excitement is brought about not only by the scenario where segments of matches have to be squeezed in between rain interruptions, but also by the matches in the past couple of days where the lesser-fancied sides have toppled their oppositions to come up with unexpected wins.
The trend started with an under-pressure Pakistan comfortably getting over the ever-choking South Africans in a nerveless display of bowling and fielding, which has been their undoing in the past; continued by the underdogs, Sri Lanka, pushing off the high-flying (read: performance) Team India off the perch to make the qualification scenario interesting; further carried on by the ever-rising perennial fighters, Bangladesh, knocking the epitome-of-never-back-down side, New Zealand, out of the Champions Trophy to raise hopes of their semi-final qualification; and now sustained by the new upset-causers in world cricket, Afghanistan, beating the immensely-talented-yet-highly-inconsistent West Indies at home in the first match of their ODI series.
It simply seems impossible to get over the legend of Rashid Khan. His exploits in international cricket earned him an IPL contract, via which he amazed we, so-called spin-specialists, Indians to the hilt with his guile and control, and now back in the big arena he single-handedly spun the Afghans to victory. Though I couldn’t watch the young gun in action, his exploits in the IPL made me imagine how he would have flummoxed the Windies.
Now with the big matches coming up over the weekend in the form of England taking on Australia followed by virtual quarter-finals India vs South Africa and Sri Lanka vs Pakistan, it’s safe to say that ODI cricket is having a ball.