The first semi-final of the 12th World Cup was played between India and New Zealand. The match was played on the reserve day due to the rain ending the play on Tuesday after New Zealand were 211/5 in 46.1 overs. On the reserve day, they could just add 28 runs and finished on 239. The key Indian trio of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli scored more than 1300 runs in the entire tournament together, but the three could just add three runs in the crunch semi-final as India lost their starting 3 wickets on five runs.
In this world cup, Team India’s middle order was the weakness in the team and they had a tough job in their hands to eke out a win. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya stitched a 47 run stand for the fifth wicket but Pant perished to Mitchell Santner after the off-spinner bowled tight lines and bowled four dot balls after starting his spell with a maiden. Pant mistimed the shot and end up getting caught by midwicket fielder.
Pandya was also kept quiet which created a chance and he ended up top edging the ball to Kane Williamson. Struggling at 92/6 in 30.3 overs, Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni put up a show and added 116 runs for the seventh wicket to bring back India into the game.
With required run rate soaring up to 12 in the 48th over, Ravindra Jadeja perished after playing an innings of 77 off just 59 balls. MS Dhoni could not finish the game and was run out from a rocket throw by Martin Guptill at short fine leg in 49th over bowled by Lockie Ferguson. India eventually fell short by 18 runs to bow out of the world cup.
1- Continuous experiment at number four
Even before the World Cup began, the number four conundrum remained a headache for Indian team and management. Vijay Shankar was given the status of 3-D in the World Cup and batted at the number four position for India. He did not create much impact in the tournament and proved to be a failure.
After Vijay was ruled out of the world cup due to thumb injury, Rishabh Pant was asked to bat at the number four but he also failed to play any major innings and threw his wicket instead of taking responsibility.
2- Not making the most of the experienced player
After 4 wickets fell on 24 runs for Team India, everyone expected Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the most experienced player of the team, would come up the order to bat and would take the team forward. But instead of Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya were sent before him and the veteran of 350 ODIs batted at number seven.
This decision itself surprised Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, and they also questioned the decision.
3- Failure of the top order
The Indian trio (Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli), who scored more than 1300 runs in the entire tournament, scored only 3 runs together and Team India’s starting three wickets fell only 5 runs.
4- Rocket throw by Martin Guptill
MS Dhoni was set to take the game to the last over where he could have achieved anything under 20 runs off James Neesham. However, his dream of finishing the match was shattered by Martin Guptill. On the third ball of the 49th over bowled by Lockie Ferguson, Dhoni popped a ball to short fine leg and was run out courtesy a direct throw by Martin Guptill to end India’s hope.
(Pictures courtesy: Twitter)