Mumbai | India were let down by their pace bowlers and losing the toss was a big blow to the defending champions, who went down tamely to Australia in the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup today, said former captain Ajit Wadekar. We lost half the game at the toss itself as the Sydney wicket is known to become slower as the match progresses and that’s exactly what happened.
Also, chasing 329 in a World Cup semi-final was a formidable task, he said. Australian skipper Michael Clarke opted to bat first after winning the toss and the four-time champions rattled up 328 for 7 by riding on in-form batsman Steve Smith’s classy century at the packed SCG.
India, in reply, were shot out for 233 in 46.5 overs that helped Australia win the lop-sided match by 95 runs and romp into the March 29 final against Trans-Tasman rivals and tournament co-hosts New Zealand. Wadekar felt India were let down by their pace bowlers, who needlessly tried to outdo the Aussies in bowling short-pitched balls which were dispatched to boundaries. The bowlers started off well in the first five to six overs but thereafter their bowling went awry as they bowled too many short-pitched balls.
They are not exactly (Mitchell) Johnson or (Mitchell) Starc, are they? he remarked wryly. The 73-year-old former cricketer also felt the Indian team had exceeded his expectations by reaching the semis which looked unlikely when they could not win a single game in the preceding triangular series involving England as the third outfit. Not many felt they would even reach the knock-out phase after their poor show in the triangular series.
Wadekar was also of the opinion that Team India peaked a bit early by winning all their league games followed by the quarter-final victory over Bangladesh and the law of averages caught up with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and company at the wrong time.
Asked whether he wanted the Ranchi superstar to continue to play limited overs cricket, Wadekar said, Yes. He has retired from Tests in which his captaincy was not great, but he’s a fine captain in the shorter forms of the game and he’s still a fine finisher.
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