Error-prone India throws match again
INDIA’S defeat at the hands of South Africa in the Group B match on Saturday clearly shows that the Indian team has failed to learn lessons from its tiedmatch against England.
To the detriment of its prospects, Indian players repeated the mistakes they had made during the match against England.
Firstly, the middle-order fiasco came to haunt India once again after openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag gave a flying start to Team India.
The duo hammered the South African attack raising hopes for a score beyond 350.
After Sehwag’s dismissal, Gautam Gambhir steered the team to safety zone along with the Master Blaster who slammed his 99th international hundred.
Once Sachin and Gambhir were gone, India’s middle and lower order collapsed like a pack of cards.
From 267 for one in 39 overs, India was bundled out for 296 in 48.4 overs.
India lost nine wickets for 29 runs with the last three batsmen returning to the pavilion without bothering the scorer.
Secondly, Indians put up a pathetic show on the field which proved costly.
Yuvraj Singh dropped Hasim Amla in the 26th over off a Harbhajan Singh delivery.
Amla flicked the ball off the front foot in the air towards midwicket, Yuvraj got his hands to it but let it go through.
In the 44th over Gambhir dropped Van Wyk at the long leg.
Van Wyk swept Munaf’s delivery in the air, the ball looped towards Gambhir but he over-ran it and also slipped as he stooped to attempt the catch.
Indian players dug the pit to bury the team in it by dropping these two easy catches.
Thirdly, India’s struggle with batting powerplay continued in this match as well.
While India scored maximum runs during the mandatory powerplay, the team failed to utilise the batting powerplay as it lost four wickets and managed to score just 30 runs.
India took the batting powerplay in the 39th over.
Though the first over didn’t do any damage, India lost Sachin and Gambhir in the next two overs.
Yusuf Pathan, who was promoted up the order to capitalise on the fielding restrictions, failed to fire and got out for a duck.
Yuvraj, known for his hard hitting, struggled with the blade and returned to the dressing room after scoring just 12.
On the other hand, South Africa scored 52 runs, losing just one wicket, during their batting powerplay.
Indian captain M S Dhoni was seen struggling with the bat once again.
What irritated most this time was the way he was giving strike to the tail-enders during the death over.
While Dhoni stayed at the crease for 37 minutes and faced 21 balls, he scored just 12 runs giving maximum of the strike to Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra.
Fourthly, Dhoni came a cropper as a captain.
His decision to choose Nehra for the final over proved suicidal.
It is a mystery why he chose Nehra, who had proved expensive during his early spells, over an economical Harbhajan Singh to bowl the final over.
With 14 required of the last over, Nehra gave away 10 runs in the first two deliveries, before the South African tail-enders sliced the third ball for two runs and smashed the fourth delivery for a boundary to secure an easy win.
Fifthly, the Indian skipper failed to judge the track at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in deciding to go with three seamers -one spinner combination.
At a track that was best suited for spinners, Dhoni’s decision to drop Piyush Chawla and rope in Munaf Patel overlooking R Ashwin proved fatal.
Lastly, slowdown by Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir in the middle of the innings changed the tempo of the game.
Tendulkar’s innings seemed to taper off in the second half.
He took just 33 deliveries to race to his fifty, but took another 68 deliveries to score his remaining 61 runs.
It appeared to get a bit unproductive at that stage in the context of the innings as Gautam Gambhir was also scoring slowly (69 runs off 75) on the other end.
Slowdown provided the much-needed opening to the South African bowlers to put pressure on the Indian team, the pressure under which Team India collapsed.