India are again out of the T20 World Cup in the Super Eight stage, although their performance this time was better than in the Caribbean and England.
India were unlucky, but at times had the opportunity to control as to how they would play. Coming into the Super Eights without a win under
their belt in the previous two editions of the World Cup, they were straightaway under pressure and lost the first game against Australia.
Although they managed to pull it back with two wins against Pakistan and a surprisingly under-performing South Africa, the players will be disappointed. Once Pakistan surprisingly beat Australia, life got tougher for the Men in Blue. After what I saw of Pakistan against Australia, the fact that they lose to India mentally and their result in World Cups over the last 10 years is not just because of the difference in skills of the two teams.
Dhoni looked disappointed after losing the toss as he was mentally ready to chase, and the inclusion of seven batsmen was because he felt that the surface at Premadasa was better to bat on at night.
But he would be upset at the way his players did not accelerate at the right time. Rohit Sharma got stuck in the middle and had Dhoni and Suresh Raina not played so well at the end, India would not have reached where they did.
Dhoni repeatedly under-utilises himself in this format but that's his decision and although not many agree to it, people connected to Indian cricket have started to accept it. That he has not scored a 50 in T20 World Cups is because he bats so low.
After looking at the Australia-Pakistan game, India could have played another spinner, and although L Balaji picked up wickets, he was a touch expensive, especially at a time when the margin of win had to be more than 30 runs.
India's elimination has taken away the fizz from the tournament, but there are some serious teams playing over the next few days.
Pakistan take on Sri Lanka and the difference between the two sides could be the quality of the Sri Lanka batting. By getting into the semifinals again, Pakistan have shown how dangerous they are in this format.
Australia, on the other hand, will have a battle on their hands. They smashed the West Indies in the group stage but looking at the way they played the Pak spinners, the likes of Sunil Naraine, Samuel Badree and Marlon Samuels will come into play.
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The writer is ex-india captain
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