BIRMINGHAM: All it took was 45 minutes of bad phase to spoil India’s four years of hard work. The contest was as good as over when India were reduced to 5 for 3 and then 24 for 4. The partnership between Ravindra Jadeja and M.S. Dhoni only delayed the inevitable.
Devastated. Just like fans felt it across the world, the empty feeling was written all over the faces of Team India who stood frozen in the balcony when Dhoni made his long walk back to the dressing room following a run out dismissal.
“Who is responsible for Team India’s semifinal loss against New Zealand,” screamed a popular news channel’s twitter poll with options given being Kohli, Dhoni and Rohit. The news channel was promptly trolled for putting the blame on just three players.
The top-order that fetched the major chunk of runs (1347) was too good during the league stage that one major implosion was due. It was India’s worst nightmare coming into the semis. And New Zealand knew how to trigger the great Indian collapse having done that, time and again.
At Wellington in February earlier this year, India were in a similar situation at 18 for four. With Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar doing the repair work, India had gone on to post 252 and then win the match by 35 runs. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya were expected to do a Rayudu-Shankar on Wednesday, but the enormity of the occassion coupled with poor shot selections derailed India’s chase.
India didn’t realise the importance of having a solid No.4 batsman with either Rohit or Kohli taking the middle-order along in previous matches. Against the superb Kiwi attack, India’s vulnerable bunch were left to fend themselves.
Kohli didn’t shy away from accepting the fact that India failed to stand up to the challenge. “We were not good enough under pressure. We have to accept that and accept the failure as it shows on the scoreboard,” said Kohli.
Kohli, however, wasn’t ready for an immediate post-mortem. “I don’t think that I would like to break things down immediately, but in time we’ll have to sit down and analyse where we went wrong and the things we could have done right in this game particularly,” added Kohli who scored just one run in the semifinal.
Karthik and Kedar may face axe
For someone who burst onto the international scene as a talented teenager 15 years ago, Dinesh Karthik has been an underachiever.
The stage was perfect for Karthik to become India’s hero. But it wasn’t to be. A brilliant catch by Jimmy Nesham ended his stay. In all likelihood, Karthik along with Kedar Jadhav would face the axe when selectors pick the team for the limited-overs series to the West Indies starting in August.
Wrist spinners fizzle out
Ever since India lost to Pakistan the final of the Champions Trophy in 2017, the team management’s emphasis has been on the wrist spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin had to make way after falling victims of the Pakistan defeat.
The wrist spin duo had a lot of backing from the management coming into the World Cup. But they couldn’t live up to the expectations. Chahal who took 12 wickets in eight innings has the worst economy rate — almost run-a-ball — among the Indian bowlers in this World Cup. Kuldeep took just six wickets in seven innings. Jadeja played just two matches, but he was far more effective....