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Collective failure

cricket Updated: Oct 02, 2009 00:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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A quick look at the key comparative statistics of India and the four Champions Trophy semifinalists could tell you where India messed up. Straight off, they didn’t score enough.

Australia, even with 10 overs less, scored about 238 per innings, while England, even with that horrendous collapse against New Zealand, managed 227. Pakistan, with relatively low scoring games in fact (other than the India one) was the lowest, at 213.

India though, averaged 189 per inning and in an event where every run (the Pakistan vs Australia game showed us that afresh), that’s a huge gap.

Again, Pakistan and India had the least number of 50-plus partnerships, three apiece, crucial to what is a quintessential team sport. One argument can be that India batted one innings less, so this isn’t bad, but then again, India’s best of 92 (between Dinesh Karthik and Virat Kohli) came in an inconsequential match with zero stress.

The other two (67 between Gambhir and Dravid) and 72 (between Dravid and Raina) in the Pakistan game ended when they should have continued.

Pakistan’s best, on the other hand, was that massive game changing stand of 206 between Md Yousuf and Shoaib Malik, made under intense pressure against India. Australia incidentally, showed why, even if in decline, they are still up there among the best — they had six 50-plus stands.

India averaged 29.08 runs per wicket, the Kiwis were just a shade better, with 29.39 but then, their bowlers were far steadier than India’s lot (conceding 25.6 per wicket as opposed to India’s 28.91, the highest — and that made the difference).

Then, just take a look at our bowling statistics. Ashish Nehra had no support whatsoever. Both Ishant and Harbhajan were completely out of sorts and the swapping of RP Singh and Praveen Kumar finally was too little too late.

As for the last ten overs, England probably used them the best. They amassed 92 runs against South Africa and gathered the required 43 runs against Sri Lanka in just five overs.

India reached the slog overs just once — against Pakistan — but could make just 19 runs in five overs before being bowled out.

India was though unlucky in one match being rained out, in a format like this, every game counts, and they knew it. They lost the early advantage when they lost to Pakistan so badly. Australia was never going to be easy to get past.