Manchester: Ravindra Jadeja played a blistering knock of 77 runs that nearly took India across to the World Cup finale during the first semi-final, which New Zealand won by 18 runs. Forcing former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, who has been vocal in his reluctance to give Jadeja a chance in the team, to be all praise and saying the all-rounder “ripped me apart by bits and pieces”.
On Wednesday, Jadeja blistering knock kept India’s hopes alive till the 48th over. Once he reached the score of fifty during the course of his innings, the Saurashtra all-rounder celebrated in his trademark style and directed his celebration towards the media box. He came out to bat when India was in a spot of bother at 92/6. He steadied the innings along with wicket-keeper batsman M.S. Dhoni as the duo stitched together a 116-run partnership. But his exploits were not enough as he was finally dismissed by Trent Boult.
Besides his contribution with the bat, Jadeja also chipped in with a wicket and bowled a highly economical 10-over spell of 1/34 on Tuesday, before the Manchester rain came down. He also produced a brilliant run-out and a catch during the course of New Zealand innings. “Bits and by pieces, he just ripped me apart today. By bits and by pieces, he just proved me wrong on all fronts. But this is Ravindra Jadeja we have not seen very often. Today he was brilliant, economical with the ball, and the familiar celebration,” said Manjrekar in a video posted by the ICC where he was having a conversation with Niall O’Brien and Ian Smith.
The cricketer-turned-commentator, who had called Jadeja a “bits and pieces player”, had excluded him from his playing XI against the Kiwis for the semifinals, was trolled heavily on the social media. Earlier, reacting to Manjrekar’s comment, Jadeja too tweeted back: “Still I have played twice the number of matches you have played and I’m still playing. Learn to respect people who have achieved. I have heard enough of your verbal diarrhea Sanjay Manjrekar.”
Manjrekar did change his opinion on July 6 during the India-Sri Lanka game in which Jadeja featured, calling him a ‘street-smart’ cricketer.