The Old Trafford tie would have seen India make it to the finals had the batters seen off the new ball without giving away crucial wickets. But credit to Jadeja for his fine knock (‘Kiwis survive Jadeja scare to stun India in World Cup semi-final thriller,’ July 11, Gulf Today).
Considering that India who had finished at the top of the table were drawn to play the Black Caps, the lowest-placed side in the top four, the result did come as a surprise for die-hard Indian fans. But was not the writing on the wall. India was heavily dependent on their so called stars — Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul — to see them home. And when they failed, it took the wind out of their sails.
Though India is versatile and have battled their way to glory in crunch situations in the past, I think the team was not adequately composed this tournament. They were tested though, like in the Afghanistan match. The weak spot were exposed, but little or nothing was done to set it right.
And so not much could be expected after Team India slumped to five for three in pursuit of the 240-run target set by the Kiwis on Wednesday. Sanjay Manjrekar may have to eat his words after Jadeja’s 59-ball 77 saved India the blushes. The ‘bits and pieces’ man made a worthy contribution.
Coach Ravi Shastri and the coaching staff will have to answer some difficult questions, probably until India host the event next.