ICC Cricket World Cup: Team India deserves praise, not stones and criticism

By Suyash Srivastava | Last Updated: Mar 28, 2015, 10:58 AM IST

The semi-final loss was heartbreaking. The Indian cricket team had been in superb form right throughout the tournament and they were expected to do the same against the mighty Aussies. But despite their seven-match winning streak, somewhere down the line, we all knew it was close to an impossible task for MS Dhoni and his boys.

Yes, they had won seven matches in a row, but barring South Africa, they didn’t play against any other team which had a quality bowling attack. Pakistan, some might say, had a fine attack, but as we have seen during their previous encounters in the showpiece event, the Indian team has managed to play them extremely well. The other teams which India defeated were UAE, West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

With full respect to all the teams, we have to agree that they didn’t boast of a threatening bowling attack or too many world class batsmen. For all those who said India had a strong chance against the Aussies, for a second forgot this was a team which had convincingly beaten them in the tri-series as well as the Test matches.

When we compare the Australian batting line up with India’s, we see that even though both the teams had world class batters, the Kangaroos had an edge with more explosive players. But when you compare India’s bowling line up with Australia’s, the same Australian batting line-up suddenly starts looking extremely formidable.

That was exactly the case, as the Indian bowling attack, which had created a world record by bowling out teams in seven consecutive matches, looked helpless when Steven Smith and Aaron Finch rebuilt the innings after the early loss of David Warner.

None of the Indian bowlers seemed to create any sort of impact as the duo stitched a match-winning 182-run stand for the second wicket.
While the Indian bowlers fought back by picking wickets at regular intervals in the latter part of the innings, death bowling – one of the major areas of concern ahead of the tournament, was once again very poor as Australia amassed 70 runs in the last six overs. Mitchell Johnson only added salt to the wounds of Indian bowlers, fans with his 27 runs which came off just 9 balls. When India came on to bat, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan provided them with an excellent 76-run stand for the first wicket. But the moment Virat Kohli was dismissed, which was the turning point, it was India’s game to lose.

What was once again disappointing to see, was the manner in which fans across the country have responded to India’s defeat. These are the same fans, who thought India had ‘no chance’ of making it to the semis. And once they did, they forgot that they were up against a far superior side.

Instead of lauding the cricketers for a commendable effort, the fans have expressed their anger by smashing television sets and through protests. Those numerous winning chases by Virat Kohli, are no more important for them, as he is the new villain along with his girlfriend Anushka Sharma who was present on the field to cheer for the team like any other spectator.

MS Dhoni & Co. had had a terrific run in this World cup with good batting, great bowling and outstanding fielding. The outraged fans need to understand, India lost just one match in cricket’s biggest extravaganza, in overseas conditions. Unfortunately, it proved to be the semi-final.