It’s a sad moment for Indian cricket fans today. The tournament favourites crashed out of the World Cup semi-final yesterday, New Zealand defeating them by a margin of 28 runs. While many had already made up their minds about India’s destiny to lift the World Cup this Sunday, certain tactical mis-strokes by the Indian team coupled with true grit from the Kiwis denied us this golden chance.
While one can always argue about things that could have been done right, we prefer looking at the positives that have come out of this World Cup for the Indian team.
Rohit Sharma – the ‘HIT’Man
Hit-man, as he is popularly called, lived up to his reputation of being a big tournament player in this World Cup. With an unprecedented five centuries to his name, Rohit Sharmascored 648 runs in 9 innings. He has thus become the lead run-getter in this world cup (at the time of writing) and only the second behind Sachin Tendulkar in the all-time list of highest run-getters in a single World Cup (Sachin scored 673 runs in the 2003 edition).
India’s pace battery comes of age
Indian team was never known to comprise of a quality pace attack in the history of international cricket. This perception has changed completely during the World Cup. Jaspreet Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohd. Shami took the opponents by storm in every match. Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers with 17 wickets (9 innings) to his name while Shami blasted through the opposition line-up with 14 wickets in just 4 innings. Kumar was consistent with his accuracy and building the pressure early on.
Upper hand against old foes Pakistan
The India vs Pakistan match was billed as the match of the tournament due to the ongoing political tensions between the two neighbours. All the hype and tension before the match was put to rest by the Indian team with a solid all-round performance. In the end, Pakistan proved to be of no match tothe Indian team’s prowess, losing by 89 runs in a match reduced due to rain. India’s impeccable World Cup record against Pakistan increased to 7-0!
‘Sir Jadeja’ comes to the party
Ravindra Jadeja’s career has been dogged throughout by criticism over his capabilities. Sanjay Manjrekar stoked this fire further by calling him a ‘bits-n-pieces’ cricketer with no real contribution to the game. Jadeja finally got to play in the last two matches and he showed everyone who’s the real boss when it comes to overall contribution to the game – be it his destructive batting, measured bowling or his invincible fielding. His innings of 77 from 59 balls in the semi-final against New Zealand will be etched in history books as one of the finest counterattacks in One-day cricket. He almost single-handedly led into the finals before succumbing to the pressure of slogging in the death overs.
Mahi’s last hurrah (??)
There’s a high chance that we may have seen the last inning of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in international cricket. He has been criticised all throughout the World Cup for his defensive batting approach and inability to clear the fences when most needed. It’s a matter of time before our beloved Mahi hangs up his boots and leave behind a rich legacy and lot of fond memories for fans to cherish.
It is indeed saddening being crashed out, but the moments these great sportsmen have gifted us are worthy to be cherished for times to come. Three cheers to their overwhelming spirit!