So India lost to New Zealand in Semi-Final of the ICC world cup 2019. I have some thoughts.
- It’s heartbreaking as hell. Almost at a level of 2003 Final defeat to Australia.
- Fact that India lost doesn’t make it a bad team. They had a couple of shortcomings — all surfaced together at the most inopportune phase of the tournament.
- India had a light middle order, fear was top order failure would be challenging for them to handle — exactly what happened.
- You can’t call yourself the champions as long as you keep depending solely on your top 3 and bottom 3 players for majority of the matches. It was always risky going in. There are no bowlers who can bat or batsman who can ball. Something that 1983 and 2011 WC winning Indian cricket teams have in common.
- Players like Sachin and Sehwag and Yuvraj and Raina who could always spring a surprise and give you a wicket - in addition to the runs they score - were dearly missed.
- Specifically this match was a series of wrong choices - review lost unnecessarily on the first ball. Tweaking of the settled bowling unit, and also the team towards the later part of the tournament. Dhoni’s batting position, especially after early wickets - he had to have walked in at 5/3.
Anyway, all said and done, India remain a very good cricket team. They need to work on the middle order - identify those players who bring in a secondary skill. They haven’t lost any respect — it’s a sport afterall. For someone to win, someone’s to lose.