After a torrid tri-series and fewer hopes, India’s World Cup campaign began in perfect fashion with beating neighbours Pakistan comprehensively to register a 6th consecutive win against them in World Cups, backed up by an even stronger victory against the mighty South Africans by 130 runs to shunt any doubts on their contenders tag.
India then went on to register convincing wins against UAE, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe to enter the quarter finals with a clean slate where they defeated Bangladesh by 109 runs after a brilliant 100 from Rohit Sharma, helped by a quickfire 65 from Raina and a cameo at the end by Jadeja took India to 302.
The bowling led by Umesh Yadav restricted Bangladesh to 193 to setup a semi-final clash with the Australians. This was India’s seventh win on the trot, in this tournament, in the process leading Dhoni upto 100 ODI wins as captain just behind Australians Ricky Ponting and Alan Border.
But it was not all well as the defending champions crumbled to a 95 run defeat at hands of hosts Australia, despite putting up a brave fight. The chase was always meant to be tough after Australia posted a mammoth total of 327 runs on the board.
But India did begin their run-chase positively as openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, got off to brisk starts, setting a perfect tempo for a successful run-chase. However, quick wickets and disciplined bowling from Australia put India under constant pressure and in the end India fell short of the target.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the team, especially after remaining undefeated in the tournament until Thursday. But MS Dhoni took the defeat in a good stride with a gentle smile on his face and with his chin up. “Disappointed we couldn’t go into the finals but only one team can win, and I felt Australia played better cricket on the day,” Dhoni said.
“The World cup is something that doesn’t really belong to anyone. We definitely took it from someone, so somebody took it from us. It’s as simple as that. You know, the best team takes it for four years and every other team challenges the one that has the Cup. If we would have played better cricket on this particular day, maybe we would have gone into the finals. But in any international sport you have to be at your best.”
Despite the semi-final heartbreak, India’s road to the semi-final has been really worth an applause and the captain reckoned the long tour abroad was a big learning curve for the whole side with the bowling being one the biggest positives for the team.
“We had a tough time in the Tests and ODI tri-series but everyone rose to the occasion. The biggest positive has been the way our fast bowlers have bowled. I believe the bowlers would have learnt a lot from this tour.”
“At the batting front, the good thing is that the batsmen have not been bothered by pace. This batting order will remain the same in the years to come and whatever they have learnt in this series will help them perform in the tours overseas.”