Suyash Srivastava explores exactly what went wrong for India in their tie with England
They have been scoring over 300 since the beginning of this World Cup. But lets not forget, all the other teams have also been doing the same. 300 is an average score in many of the matches and therefore in the much anticipated India-England encounter high drama was something we all were expecting.
There were five phases of the historic match. India were predicted to be the winners after they scored 338. They were struggling (read losing) during the century stand between Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell. Zak struck back in that outstanding spell and they were once again back (read winning) in the match. Then came those flat sixes by Swann and Shahzad and they were again struggling (read losing). And towards the end they managed to snatch a tie from the jaws of defeat (or did England snatch a tie from the cusp of victory?).
India were the favourites at the halfway point having reached a formidable total of 338 runs. Celebrations began all over the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and cricket fans outside the stadium began to heap praise on the Indian batsmen for smashing the leather all over the ground.
Apart from Andrew Strauss everybody in the world thought the score was unobtainable. Strauss played the innings of his life and was the saviour who led from the front. Like a brave captain of a ship in trouble, he made sure that the asking run rate was well within their reach and brilliantly scored a boundary or two off almost every over.
The Indian bowlers and fielders were pathetic in the field. The advantage of a home crowd went against them, as they were unable to capitalize on opportunities in front of the deafening crowd. There were dropped catches and let’s not even talk about the disastrous ground fielding.
Reflecting on India’s batting performance you could even argue that 338 should have been much more. I have no clue why Virat Kohli, the most consistent player of the Indian squad, was sent down the order? He could have easily capitalized on the opportunities. He moulds his innings as per the situation, therefore it is wrong to anticipate that he could not have managed quick fire runs as the occasion merited.
India reached 327 by the end of the 47th over. Keeping that in mind, they should have scored a minimum of 30 runs of the last three overs, but they managed to score just 11 and that was a hell of a struggle itself.
The Not Out Bell decision was also a crucial turning point in the England chase that cricket pundits could debate for decades. There was huge drama when Ian Bell was walking towards the pavilion and looked all the more flabbergasted and nervous once he saw NOT OUT blinking on the screen. Many reckon if that decision was given in India’s favour, the match would have turned from there.
While cricket fans across the world might still be fantasising about this historic match, the other cricketing teams in the World Cup will have noticed the weak links in the Indian bowling. The way the Indian players are batting, piling up mammoth scores to chase, they have a fair chance of reaching the finals. But it begs the question, if they keep bowling and fielding in the way they did against England, would 400 be a sufficient score?
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