Why India lost
With the ‘Dhoni-media’ standoffs, we can expect fullblown inquests into India’s exit coming up with some of the following reasons for India’s loss:
Reason #1: Dhoni – Choosing to field
Statistics and history suggest India do better batting first, especially in crunch games.
Wrong. The batting first theory holds true for ODIs, not for T20s. Given the absence of Sehwag and the lack of form for Gambhir, India could easily be 15/2 by over four, struggling to get to 140 and ending the game in the first 10 overs. The choice to bowl was logical given India’s bowlers are bad at defending middle-of-the-road totals.
Reason #2: Dhoni – Batting order
Sending in the untried Jadeja ahead of the power hitters lost the game for India.
Wrong. It was an unorthodox move, very much like promoting Yusuf Pathan in the 2007 finals. Playing as the extra batsman, he would’ve expected young Jadeja to have made a quick-fire Zero in the worst case or a 14-ball 25 in the best case to inject some momentum into the run-chase. Dhoni has been extremely lucky with past moves like these. That he kept swinging at everything and yet consumed 35 balls was plain unlucky.
Reason #3: Dhoni – Team Selection
Benching Pragyan Ojha in favour of Jadeja.
Wrong. Jadeja took 3 wickets for 26 runs. Whether Ojha would’ve done better is debatable. That Jadeja’s strange innings went some way to cost India the game is bad luck, not team selection.
Reason #4: Ravindra Jadeja
Killed it with his 25 off 35 balls.
Only partly correct. His innings did make it an impossible task but it’s hardly fair to rip him apart for it. He kept playing the big shots, just couldn’t deal with the length being bowled at him. He was hardly the only batsman to have trouble with the English strategy. He’ll play better innings, unless crucified for this loss.
Outside Edge! Reasons for India’s loss:
Primary Reason #1: Brilliant England
Since the 1996 world cup when they announced a separate ‘ODI team’ consisting of Mark Ealham, Adam Hollioake et al as frontline bowlers, it’s been hard to take English teams seriously in limited over tournaments. Their strategy to bounce out the Indian batsmen was positive, aggressive and hence commendable. I doubt that even they expected the extent of discomfort they would cause the top order. Full credit to Collingwood and his pace attack.
Corollary Reason #2: BCCI scheduling AND the Indian team
Zaheer Khan’s opening spell was decidedly medium-pace and lack of bite made life easy for Bopara and Pietersen. The Indian team has been on the road since late last year and most of this squad was part of the IPL and hence haven’t been home for most of this year. While Indian teams travel better than the likes of Harmison, it’s hard to believe that they were on full tanks of gas in this tournament. Not that the players are blameless but till such time as the BCCI keeps running Indian cricket like a sweatshop, the players will need to consider making themselves unavailable for some of the series.
The team I support lost. But it happened in a manner I prefer way more than others. Instead of dinky medium pace and pseudo finger-spinners taking the pace off the ball and inducing skiers, the English pace attack pounded it in their own half, providing very few ‘driveable’ deliveries. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the batting as a whole was found out, but the awkward prods from Raina were a revelation after his bullying of all bowling attacks in the IPL.
To me yesterday’s game made the case for providing extra bounce in every cricket-worthy surface since it lets batsmen with the technique to score runs and gives something for the quick bowlers to look forward to.
Well played England.