Team combo debatable; Dhoni & co also hit by fickle form of batsmen
By Sandip G / ENS | Published: 04th October 2012 10:43 AM |
After an entertaining Super-Eights stage, wherein the disparity between teams was sporadic rather than sustained, India and New Zealand would be among the four sides that have exited the tournament to feel hard done by the circumstances of their ouster.
The Kiwis crashed out without winning a single game, but two of those matches lost were in the Super Over — to hosts Sri Lanka and the West Indies. This is akin to the heartbreak of enduring two penalty shootout losses in a single tournament. Nonetheless, for all the inherent fickleness of the format, the more composed teams eventually advanced.
Unlike New Zealand, who after their nightmarish tour to India that preceded the World T20, weren’t expected to even challenge better-equipped teams, India, given their familiarity with the conditions and the format, were billed to reach the semifinals, if not further.
They won four out of their five matches in the tournament, one by a big margin, and bowled out all the sides they faced apart from Australia. But they lagged behind on net run-rate and hence the severe loss to Australia juts out. Though they recovered to prevail against Pakistan and South Africa, the net run-rate had that taken a battering never did.
Losing the toss to South Africa and being asked to bat first piled further pressure on India. In situations like this, setting a target and restricting the opposition to below the cut-off mark is a far tougher task than chasing down a target in a stipulated number of overs.
Still, India as a team had many holes. Unlike Sri Lanka or Pakistan, for most part of the tournament, their bowling was one-dimensional in a format where variety is king. Also, India didn’t fully optimise whatever variety was at their disposal — why play South Africa with one frontline spinner? Though Yuvraj Singh fulfilled fifth-bowler duties, the team could also have used either Piyush Chawla or Harbhajan Singh, who has delivered against the Proteas in crucial fixtures earlier. On the same pitch, Pakistan bowled 18 overs of spin to stifle Australia.
Blame also falls on the batsmen, who didn’t click. Virender Sehwag frittered away starts, perishing to poor shot-selection. Gautam Gambhir seemed hasty. Rohit Sharma was in 50-over mode. And the batting, reliant on Virat Kohli, suffered when he fell early in two crucial games, against Australia and South Africa.