Rubbishing the theory that it was an end of an era in Australian cricket, skipper Ricky Ponting said the superior Indian side they lost to in Thursday's World Cup quarterfinal should beat their arch-rivals Pakistan in the semifinals. Having lost to both India and Pakistan, Ponting said it was hard to pick between the two, but gave his vote to the co-hosts.
"It is hard to chose between the two teams. They have a very similar bowling attack but I think India will beat Pakistan in Mohali," said Ponting, after his side's five-wicket loss to India.
The Australian captain admitted losing to a better Indian team and felt they were 15-20 runs short of a winning total.
"Today we lost to a very good Indian team. I think we were some 15-20 runs short and we lost wickets at regular intervals. It forced us to delay taking the batting Powerplay. Our bowlers also gave away too many wides and fours," said Ponting.
"We needed more wickets in the middle of the innings. With 15 overs to go, it was touch and go, but Yuvraj and Raina played really well. It's disappointing to bow out, we are a better team than we have played."
Ponting said the loss doesn't indicate the end of an era in Australian cricket that saw them winning four World Cup titles, including two under his captaincy in 2003 and 2007.
"I refuse to believe that it is an end of an era of Australian cricket. It is too early to say," said an emotional Ponting.
Asked if he was the tragic hero of the loss, as he struck a century but couldn't stop his team from exiting the tournament, Ponting said: "I don't have an answer. But probably this is my last World Cup match and I am happy to have scored a century. I am not a stats man, but probably after I hang up by boots I will look into it."
"We came into the tournament with a lot of expectations. We found it difficult as the tournament progressed. It takes a couple of moments to change the course of the game, but we couldn't do that," he said.
On his pace spearhead Brett Lee, Ponting said: "Brett had a lot of expectations from this tournament. He walked into this team hoping to be a part of a World Cup winning squad. He would be shattered."