So, following 48 games and 41 days, it all boils down to the two hosts contesting against each other for the much coveted cup. India’s dreams to retain the World Cup shattered like a pack of cards, and how! Australia scored a merciless 328 at the loss of 7 wickets, a total that is in itself a record breaker. An unlikely target, it was almost a wild goose chase for the men in blue. Having said that, it would not be justified to discount the sheer brilliance with which team India played the first innings. While Smith’s century thoroughly deterred the bowlers as well as the fielders, the Indian players did not let their shoulders drop! Though they couldn’t bowl the Aussies out yet they did their best and chucked 7 batsmen out of the field.
Getting a taste of their own medicine, team India fell short of 95 runs, today, as they got bowled out before playing 50 overs. “I think overall they played very good game. Over 300 was a difficult score to chase but I thought I was just over par. We came back quite well. I was worried about the spinners but I felt the fast bowlers could have done better,” a much saddened Dhoni said after the match. Commenting on the crumbling batting order of the Indian team, he added, “There was too many to chase. If you lose quite a few wickets and you have chase over 6 an over, and our lower order can’t contribute in these kinds of conditions. Our lower order needs to work hard on their batting. In the knock out stages, you need to bat deep.”
While we reflect on the reasons why we lost, here’s a quick run-through of 5 factors that went against team India, today:
- Ashwin: Having been called “a world-class spinner” by the Australian players themselves, Ashwin’s failure to take wickets in the first innings was quite a bit of a bummer.
- Shami: With neither maidens nor wickets taken, Shami’s performance was a major let down in today’s match. Moreover, it looked like he was donating runs to the Aussies during the final stages of the match.
- Virat Kohli: Having made a blunder by dropping a crucial catch in the first innings, he somewhat set the course of blunders for the day. While the team and the fans pinned their hopes on his ace batting style, Kohli lost his wicket after scoring just one run.
- Lack of experienced players: India meeting Australia head-to-head at the World Cup semi-finals is no child’s play. As promised, it was a clash of the titans right from the outset but the pressure soon took over the Indian team, which eventually lost the game to the Kangaroos. The pressure of the past defeats seems to loom over the men in blue, making them play tad bit too defensive.
- Impetuous playing: With no losses incurred in the previous matches, team India was perhaps wee bit brash in judging the opponent team this time around. As Clarke said after winning today’s match, “Losing to NZ gave us that kick up our backsides. Our training has been outstanding. Our boys have showed up with the desire to get better.” Probably, India could have won the match today, had they learnt their lesson the way the Aussies did.
Anyway, as they say, even the best fall down sometimes. India has undoubtedly put up a great show this World Cup by winning 7 consecutive matches and storming into the semi-finals. As it stands at present, the defending champions lost to the four-time champions, and there’s no shame in losing to a great opponent, right?
Image Source: The Viewspaper