Sourav Ganguly feels India committed a grave tactical blunder by not promoting MS Dhoni to No4 in the 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand at Manchester on Wednesday.
India were chasing a target of 240 runs but fell short by 18 runs after a horrendous start which saw them reduced to 5-3 and then 24-4 in no time at Old Trafford. India opted to bring in Dhoni at No7 in the batting order on Wednesday and Ganguly feels that it was the wrong move by skipper Virat Kohli.
“Dhoni should have batted up,” Ganguly told broadcaster Star Sports.
“You need that composure and not just his batting. He would not have allowed wickets to fall in cluster. Dhoni was there when Jadeja batted. Communication is strength. You can’t have Dhoni at number seven.
“As a finisher, he still has tremendous respect. He can still clear the field and that’s why he left it for last. It’s not that he can’t hit sixes but he thinks that’s the way to win ODI matches.”
The former India skipper’s sentiments were echoed by his former team-mate Sachin Tendulkar who questioned the decision to bat Dinesh Karthik at No5.
“The question here can be, in a crunch moment like this, would you not think of promoting Dhoni with experience on his back? Towards the end he kept talking to Ravindra Jadeja and he was controlling things,” Tendulkar stated.
“May be instead of Hardik Pandya, Dhoni should have come up. Batting Dinesh Karthik at number five was slightly out of the box I felt,” he added.
Meanwhile, former India stalwart VVS Laxman too expressed his lament at Dhoni’s batting position in the semi-final.
“Dhoni should have come ahead of Pandya. It was a tactical blunder,” said Laxman.
“Dhoni should have walked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. Stage was set for Dhoni. In 2011 final also, he promoted himself up to bat at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh and won the World Cup,” he added.
India skipper Virat Kohli lamented 45 minutes of poor cricket by his side after they were knocked out by New Zealand in a thrilling 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final at Manchester on Wednesday.
India were set a target of 240 runs by the Kiwis but a horror start by the top-order cost the team dear before they ultimately fell to a 18-run defeat. The Men in Blue quickly found themselves reeling at 5-3 in the chase with the openers and Kohli falling cheaply to New Zealand’s pacers.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja raised India’s hopes with a defiant 77 off 59 deliveries but it proved to be too tall an order in the end as New Zealand booked their second World up final appearance on the trot.
“The game pretty much changed in those first 40 minutes when we were batting,” Kohli said after the loss.
“The pressure created was immense in those first 40, 45 minutes. And when you lose 3 for 5 it is very difficult to come back into the game.”
The India skipper stated that the loss to the Kiwis was a bitter pill to swallow for his team who had topped the round-robin phase with just one loss in eight games.
“Of course, very disappointed to just go out on the basis of 45 minutes of bad cricket is saddening and it breaks your heart also, because you have worked so hard throughout the tournament to build momentum,” said Kohli.
“You finish No. 1 in the table and then a spell of bad cricket and then you are out of the tournament completely. But you have to accept it.
“We are sad, but we are not, you know, devastated because of the kind of cricket that we played in this tournament. We know where we stood as a team and today we were not good enough and that is the nature of this tournament. A bad day in the knockout stage and you are out of the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Kohli’s poor form in World Cup knock-out clashes continued on Wednesday with the right-hander perishing for just one run to Trent Boult. The India superstar had been dismissed for scores of nine and one in the 2011 and 2015 World Cup semi-finals previously.
The 29-year-old’s frustration with the dismissal was clear to see as he flung his bat into the air following an unsuccessful review of the lbw decision.
“It is very disappointing not turning up when the team wanted me to. Obviously, it feels bad. Everyone gets disappointed when they get out so it was a natural reaction,” rued Kohli.
Virat Kohli’s disappointing record in a World Cup semi-final game continued after the Indian skipper was dismissed by New Zealand seamer Trent Boult for just one run.
Kohli is considered one of the finest batsmen of all time and arguably the best-ever batsman in ODI cricket. In a career spanning 236 ODI games, the 30-year-old has managed to score 11268 runs at a superb average of 59.40. The strike-rate of 93.00 shows that the runs have come at a healthy rate.
Firstly I want to thank all our fans who came in huge numbers to support the team. You made it a memorable tournament for all of us & we definitely felt the love showered upon the team. We are all disappointed & share the same emotions as you. We gave everything we had.Jai hind🇮🇳 https://t.co/rFwxiUdqK5— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) July 10, 2019
However, failure to stage an inspiring performance in a big game sticks out like a sore thumb. The skipper’s scores in the last three World Cup semi-finals games read 9, 1 and 1.
Kohli scored nine runs from 21 balls against Pakistan in the 2011 World Cup semi-final. But his poor show went under the radar after India went on to win the trophy.
In the 2015, he fell prey to Mitchell Johnson’s pace by edging the ball to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, who made no mistake. On Wednesday, Boult claimed the prized wicket via an lbw that stood the test of India’s review.
Kohli’s current average in 15 quarter-finals, semi-finals or finals is just 29.33. Although this could read well for an average player, for a batsman of his quality, Kohli should be doing better.
The sample space is small, but the record does come as a concern. Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting averaged 52.84 and 39.76 in knockout games.
Kohli will find that there is a lot of work to be done on this aspect of his game.