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T20 World Cup, 2nd Semifinal: India Risked Nothing, Lost Everything

When India batted after being sent in by England skipper Jos Buttler, it was such a tepid opening effort that all the rest were affected by that and the eventual target ended up being just above average, that too thanks to just two batters.

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It is inconceivable that any side in a knockout match, defending 169 runs, could lose by 10 wickets. As it turned out, India managed to do just that. Or rather, England inflicted a telling blow on not just India’s prospects, but also possibly on the careers of a few of Indian players. This is the kind of defeat that has often brought about some radical changes in sides, and it is time India think seriously about how they are to go forward in limited-overs cricket, more so in the 20-over format. For sure, this is rock bottom in terms of underachieving and just because of a few weak links.

When India batted after being sent in by England skipper Jos Buttler, it was such a tepid opening effort that all the rest were affected by that and the eventual target ended up being just above average, that too thanks to just two batters.

 

KL Rahul has a lot of defenders, but there would really be very little to defend. Against any attack worth its salt, the opener has failed throughout the World Cup and the ensuing pressure on the rest has shown.

Even Rohit Sharma can’t be ignored. Surely there is a case for one of the two batters up to top really go after the bowling? If Buttler can do it at the head of his side, one should surely expect the same from Sharma? And if that risk is not worth taking, why would there be no attempt to improvise and try something different?

Invariably, it falls on Virat Kohli and as always, he was the cornerstone of the Indian effort. But with no attempts up top to wade into the English bowlers, including the spinners, Kohli too was largely left to construct a castle with straws. Kohli and Hardik Pandya were the only two things to see, as Suryakumar Yadav’s assault on Thursday was brief. Pandya showed his credentials once again, not just for this game but as a leader for the future, one who hopefully will have more courage and conviction. Even then, 169 was not the kind of total that can be walked over by any opposition. But Buttler and Alex Hales played as near-perfect as partnership as is possible. There were no missed chances, no dropped catches, no other alarms for the two. The only catch dropped was deep in the inning when it didn’t really matter that much. The assault had no answers, and India cannot possibly have this as their best bowling line-up. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is never beyond average nowadays and Arshdeep Singh is still on the learning curve. Mohammad Shami for most of the time looked the only one with some fight in him, but the English batters were in no mood to relinquish their position. As for the spinners, one wonders why Yuzvendra Chahal was carried all the way and not given even one game. To bolster the batting? The sheer difference in a way wrist spinners of England, especially Rashid Ali, bowled to that of the Indian finger spinners was also a telling difference. There were no answers in Adelaide, so one can only assume that the questions will once more be pushed under a carpet. But for the sake of India’s future, one hopes that most of the changes made for the series in New Zealand after the World Cup are to be taken seriously and invested in for a long term.

T20 World Cup Final: Babar Azam Reveals Pakistan’s Plans Against England For Summit Clash

The England-Pakistan final clash at the MCG is a repeat of the settings in the 1992 ODI World Cup final played between these two teams at the very same venue, which was then won by the Imran Khan-led side.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam is looking forward to continue the winning momentum in the summit clash against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. On Saturday, Babar revealed that his team have to be at their absolute best while facing Jos Buttler and co. who are coming after an emphatic win against India in the semi-final. “We have lost the first two matches (but) the way we came back the last four matches, we’ve performed very well. We are playing good cricket in the last four matches and we’ll try to continue that momentum into the final,” said Babar in the pre-final press conference. Babar felt that Pakistan will have to put their best foot forward, especially with their fast-bowling line-up to stand up to the challenge posed by a quality England side who thrashed India by 10 wickets in their semifinal win. “England is a good team, they have a good bunch of players and they have quality fast bowlers and batsmen, so we will try our best to execute our plans and looking forward to the match. Their win to reach the finals against India was a proof of that. Our strategy is to stick to our plan and using our pace attack as our strength to win the finals.” The England-Pakistan final clash at the MCG is a repeat of the settings in the 1992 ODI World Cup final played between these two teams at the very same venue, which was then won by the Imran Khan-led side. With Pakistan one match away from lifting the trophy, Babar admitted to being very stunned over reaching the final of the tournament. “We couldn’t start off well but we came back with great momentum. In the previous 3-4 matches, Pakistani team has played very well on both individual and team level. We’ve been working really hard for this. It feels like a dream come true to reach the final.  “Of course the similarities are the same, but we will try to win the trophy as it is an honour for me to lead this team, especially in this big ground. We will try to give our 100 per cent tomorrow’s match and let’s see.”Babar further acknowledged the support Pakistan has got from a huge number of fans coming into the stadium to cheer them on vociferously. “When we come to the ground and support our team, they give us confidence, and it’s good to see when we are going anywhere, to any stadium, when they are supporting the Pakistan team.“We will try to give our 100 per cent to give (them) a smile, to win the matches, and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s match. They uphold us through their enthusiasm. I would again request them to support us and keep praying.”

 

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