Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh India What Have You Done?

My facebook status right after the toss was, "India, I think its a mistake chasing".

No matter how good one is at chasing, I believe in crunch games, chasing can be very very hard. Even if the total is not that big; the pressure is just too much for the batsmen.

Besides the call at the toss, I think Dhoni and the team management made a couple of other big mistakes as well.

Firstly the fact that Pragyan Ojha did not play. Why did they drop one of their best bowlers?

To be fair, Harbajhan and Jadeja did a brilliant job with the ball; but surely in a do-or-die game you just have to take your best players in!

Secondly, and not for the first time, India got their batting order all wrong.

So far Dhoni had made the mistake of coming out at number 3 himself. When I understood that the strategy was Dhoni at 3 for Gambhir, and Raina at 3 for Rohit, it made sense to me.

A dasher and an accumulator in the middle always makes sense; it was unfortunate that Dhoni was out of form.

Considering that, it made no sense at all to send Jadeja in at 4 tonight, especially since the wickets to fall were Rohit and Raina.

With Gambhir and Jadeja in the middle, India had 2 accumulators in the middle - what happened to the strategy!?

Moreover, did the team management not watch the IPL? Jadeja batted well alright, but always too slow for the team's liking, leading to a number of failed run chases for the Rajasthan Royals.

Surely Yuvraj should have walked out when Raina fell.

And then when Jadeja finally holed out, in walked Dhoni!

Alright so the captain wanted to take responsibility; but given the form he has been in thus far, and the significantly high asking rate at the time, I believe Yusuf Pathan should have walked out.

But, credit where credit is due, England did hit the Indians where it hits hard - the short stuff.

England would have seen how the West Indian bowlers had handled the powerful Indian top order; they applied the same plan and the Indians, yet again, were found wanting.

The result - India, the defending champions, out of the ICC World Twenty20!

At the end, the difference was ONLY 3 runs!

Are you going to tell me that India would not have done it had Yuvraj walked out at 4, and/or YP before Dhoni?

Yeah I thought so.

Make your pitch on this post...



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38 Pitched:

  1. Krish said...
     

    Terrible captaincy by Dhoni. During the awards ceremony, he was clueless about why the Jadeja move was so messed up. What a change from the 2007 winning captain!

  2. achettup said...
     

    Very well summed up Q. I can't believe they didn't expect England to come hard at them and bowl short after the Windies game. It would have made sense for Dhoni to go at number three because he's better against the short ball than Raina, even in this scratchy form. But Jadeja... dear oh dear.
    :(
    On the bright side for you Q, this WC is becoming more and more like the '92 world cup. SL will probably replace NZ as semifinalists though... and the order of matches might be different.

  3. Q said...
     

    I still don't get why Dhoni did not choose to bat first.. England crumble under pressure and had India posted 165+ there was no way England would have got there.

  4. Q said...
     

    Krish,

    I hope he doesn't give a Ponting type statement saying "he didn't know what went wrong.

  5. Q said...
     

    Ach,

    Bright it looks but its the Irish tomorrow.. nightmares!

    Plus if WI beat Eng tomorrow then the semi finalists will be slightly different than 92..

    But fingers crossed.

    Hard luck for India..

  6. sarahcanterbury said...
     

    I have no idea why Dhoni opted to field first. I'm just very glad he did!

    In addition to the flawed Indian batting order, there were 3 key moments in the match for me - England being inserted; the ball that went for 5 wides at the end of the England innings; and Foster stumping Yuvraj. Had any one of those not happened, India would probably have won.

    As for tomorrow, England seem to win one, lose one.....

  7. khansahab said...
     

    Q

    Am I correct now in saying that if Pakistan win tomorrow, the teams going into the semis will be Pakistan, England, West Indies and South Africa? I forgot Sri Lanka!

    Do you know where I can check to see the latest situation with points? Cricinfo seem to be updating a bit slowly.

  8. Q said...
     

    Sarah,

    Welcome to Well Pitched :-)

    I think u got that right.. that Yuvraj stumping was top stuff from Foster.. could not believe that was an England keeper.

  9. Q said...
     

    Khansahab,

    England, West Indies, and South Africa are in the same group - only 2 of them can play the semis.

    South Africa are through and the other team will be whoever wins between England and West Indies tomorrow.

    As for Group F, it depends on the outcome.

    If Pakistan win tomorrow, they are most probably through with the other team being the winner of Sri Lanka vs New Zealand.

    Sri Lanka's net run rate now is below Pakistan's and New Zealand's, so they will have to beat NZ to qualify.

  10. Tifosi Guy said...
     

    Q

    I was not too displeased with India chasing. Ok it's a pressure situation, but I guess the thinking there was to know a definite target. It's all conjecture to think what would have happened if India batted first.

    Looked at in cold light , the Punjab da Puttars lost it :-) Those two ' 5 wides' , especially the one in the last over which Yuvraj let through.

    In 2007, Yuvraj had his fame against England, two years down and he has his blooper moment !

    Poor Jadeja - all and sundry would look at his innings as the one that lost it for India, conveniently forgetting his bowling was responsible for England only reaching 153 !!!

    All said and done - England were ' just' that better than India.

    Ah the fine margins..

    MSD needs to be ready for the mother of all backlashes when he heads home. Ah the fun fickled minded Indian media is going to have a ball.

    I just hope the public keep things in perspective and don't go around stoning people's houses ala WC 2007 exit.

  11. Q said...
     

    TG,

    But it sounds so much more logical to bat first, put up a good score, and defend. England are known to crumble under pressure. There was no way they would have been able to chase had India posted 160+.

    What was the logic behind knowing the target? There was no net run rate to be met..

    The 5 wides and the Yuvi mis field in hindsight look like major blunders, but it was really India's batsmen who failed them.

    No doubt Jadeja bowled really well. I didn't mind the way he batted either - my issue is with the undecided strategy of dasher + accumulator that Dhoni talked about.

    Had Gambhir got out and Jadeja walked in, the strategy would have been the same and I would not have pointed it out. But he walked in instead of Raina.. that did not make sense after what Dhoni had done in the previous games. Plus to trust the man in his first WC game, a big ask.

    I too hope the public backlash is not as harsh. But the media are already coming down hard on the team.

    A bit too overconfident they were, don't u think?

  12. Wasim said...
     

    I told you let a good team post a decent total and then see them struggle.

    I think Dhoni will face huge criticism for the batting order.

    He should have batted first but I expected this to happen after they lost to West Indies.

  13. Tifosi Guy said...
     

    Q

    Fair points you've raised commented. I couldn't have put it better than this report :

    http://doosraredux.wordpress.com/

    Over confidence ? didn't think there was enough confidence, forget over confidence ;-)

    There was also a good comment raised by Harsha Bhogle in the commentary - India as a team HAVE NEVER worn the tag of being the favourites ! It's proved right.

    Anyways from tonight I'm all Carribean :-) until I jinx them tomorrow night, when I wouldn't know what to be next.

    I'm useless at predicting anything lately.. Guess it's best to remain silent :-)

  14. Q said...
     

    Wasim,

    You were right.

  15. Q said...
     

    TG,

    I read that right now. Dileep raises the same points abt the batting as I do in this post, and he's right. It was left too late for Yuvi and YP.

    Plus, as I mention, the way Jadeja has batted for the Royals in the IPL should have been an indication that it would not work.

    Betting on the Windies is a good bet in my opinion.. ur not the only one whose predictions have gone haywire in this tournament.. a lot of people have been wrong.

    Which just shows the unpredictability of the T20 game.

  16. sarahcanterbury said...
     

    Q, thank you! Nice to be here!

    Foster's take of the very first ball of the Indian innings was fab too.

    Have thought for a while that he should be selected by England for this format. That's not an easy thing for a Kent supporter to admit either!

  17. Tifosi Guy said...
     

    Q

    I just feel bad for Jadeja. Hope the team closes rank on him and protect him from the media/public.

    It wasn't his fault one bit - you could see the poor guy starting to feel the pressure with each delivery. Eventually the shot that got him out - what luck it had to be Broad right there ! :-)

    Anyways - weird I read somewhere the next T20 WC is next year !!!! What next - two in a year ?? THis is sheer madness.

    Btw - what you reckon ? NZ to beat SL well enough and knock them out.

    I'm pretty sure Pak will be in the semis. Would atleast love to have one of my least favoured team - out of the cup.

  18. Q said...
     

    TG,

    I hope so too. Jadeja has huge potential for the future and I think was unfortunate to be thrown at the deep end tonight..

    As for the semi finals.. NZ don't have beat SL well.. they just have to beat them.. read the scenarios:

    http://www.wellpitched.com/2009/06/world-twenty20-semi-finals-scenarios.html

  19. Q said...
     

    Sarah,

    Ur right.. I have been impressed with Foster, though I have not been impressed with Nasser Hussain singing his praises.

    Think Foster might play a role in the Ashes?

  20. Q said...
     

    TG,

    You are right abt the next World T20 - it will be played in the West Indies in April 2010!

    So whoever wins this cup, they will be defending their title in 10 months time!

    More importantly, if WC T20 is in April, what happens to the IPL?

  21. Naked Cricket said...
     

    MSD was determined to lose, and when he puts his mind to something...

  22. sarahcanterbury said...
     

    Q, I'd be surprised. Think England will probably stick with Prior, unless he has a nightmare behind the stumps early in the series.

    Foster is a better keeper but Prior a more consistent batsman - I guess England have to weigh up how many runs Prior might cost them in the field through missed chances, compared to what he'd score as a batsman over and above another keeper.

  23. Q said...
     

    NC,

    I guess MSD was missing his lucky charm here.. no jogi no boogie!

  24. Q said...
     

    Sarah,

    Yeah I thought as much.. Prior batted really well against the Windies earlier this year.. He must be a starter..

  25. Som said...
     

    I think Jadeja justified his selection over Ojha both with ball and bat. But hats off to England. You can lpan whatever you can but to put it to action and with such precision is mindboggling. Dhoni was foggy as captain, pretty ordinary and confused.

  26. Chullanz said...
     

    or in other words it was Bhaji's last ball wide 4 was the match deciding one. I think something has to do with Kirstine's(dhoni's?) logic.

  27. Tazeen said...
     

    I think a lot of credit for that win goes to erstwhile Pakistani Leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who is now part of the English coaching brigade. He exploited the Indian preference of playing with heavy bats with which playing a pull or hook is not that easy (unless of course you are built or gifted like Inzi)

  28. donthaveaclue said...
     

    Q, disagree with you on some of those points. You'd agree that in hindsight it's easy to find fault with every move made. My reasons are too long, so pointing you to my blog link on the topic

    http://outsideedge.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/why-india-lost/

    Always up for a healthy debate :)

  29. Rayden said...
     

    I am not surprised at all by the result. The team that really wanted to win - actually won.

  30. Q said...
     

    Som,

    I agree. In hindsight Jadeja did justify his selection over Ojha. But I still think it was wrong to send him at 4. His IPL stint will prove that.

    Though I hope he does not take the blame alone for he is a huge talent for India.. moreso in the longer version of the game I feel.

  31. Q said...
     

    Chullanz,

    Had Yuvi stopped that, Eng would have got 2 runs (wide and bye) meaning they would have ended on 150. We would have had a tie and a super over. And then who knows what.

  32. Q said...
     

    Tazeen,

    That's an interesting thought, however I think the Indians' weakness against the short ball was exceptionally exploited by the West Indies a few days back, and England just followed suit.

  33. Q said...
     

    dontheveaclue,

    I disagree further ;-)

    My points are in the comments of ur post.

  34. Q said...
     

    Rayden,

    Probably. But I think India lost it more than England won it.

  35. SledgeHammer said...
     

    @Q: Wouldn't make such a direct link between the 4 wides and the final result.

    Each run changes the dynamic of the game, especially when you compare across innings.

    It shouldn't have happened regardless, but I think it has no bearing on the final result.

  36. Q said...
     

    Sledge,

    I didn't make a link with that final wide and mis field - my reasons were completely different :-)

  37. donthaveaclue said...
     

    Q, replied to your comment on my blog but couldn't resist pasting them here :)

    You say that having been bounced by the Windies, they should’ve planned for it. But if technical flaws could be ironed out that easily, don’t you think there’d be hordes of Don Bradmans in world cricket today? Vinod Kambli (he was considered a left-handed Tendulkar for a while after he scored two doubles at home against England) was ejected from test cricket after Ambrose and Co found him out. Raina has a serious problem with short-pitched bowling and that will be exploited till he goes back and works really hard on it.

    If India had posted 160, sure they’d have a great chance of defending it but my contention is they wouldn’t. Without Sehwag, Gambhir would feel the pressure of accelerating and wickets falling at the other end would mean they’d end up at 140 instead.

    I agree with your ‘dasher-accumumulator’ theory, but its not as cut-and-dried as that is it? Gambhir can be both on his day but was neither in this game. Raina is a dasher, turns out, only if you bowl length. It’s easy to form visions of Yuvraj smashing Broad and Anderson if he’d come out at that stage but then we’d be overlooking his susceptibility to edging quick bowling to slip when he first comes out.

    Point is, there are loads of ‘what-ifs’. Should the responsibility of guiding the chase have been handed to a newcomer? Hell No! Dhoni or Yuvraj should have fronted up to it. But would it have meant an Indian victory on the day? I highly doubt it.

  38. Q said...
     

    Don,

    I will say the same thing I said over at yours:

    At the end the difference was 3 runs.. 3! Had Yuvi walked out before Jadeja or YP before Dhoni, are u telling me Ind would not have got to their target?

    And also that we can agree to disagree :-)

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