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Indian batting collapse bizarre: Former greats

cricket Updated: Mar 13, 2011 17:08 IST

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Former cricketers on Sunday described India's dramatic batting collapse in the three wicket loss to South Africa, on Saturday, as bizarre, but defended captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his decision to give the last over to paceman Ashish Nehra.

India suffered a stunning batting collapse with their last nine wickets falling for a mere 29 runs, to be all out for 296.

Later, South Africa needed 13 from the last over for a win, but Nehra conceded 16 runs from the first four balls as India lost by three wickets.

South African legend Barry Richards blamed Indian batting collapse for the loss. "It was bizarre and nobody expected such a thing from a batting side like India. I could not imagine at the 40th over that India would not play the whole 50 overs and would be all out for 296," he said.

"I imagine that South Africa might have been really boosted in their confidence after bundling them out for 296," he said.

Former Indian opener Arun Lal was also puzzled as to how India could lose nine wickets for just 29 runs. "If a team like India can be bundled out for 296 from 267 for one in the 40th over, it's inexplicable. But it also showed that you cannot depend on the bowlers and I feel another 10-15 runs (to India's total) would not have made much difference," he said.

Lal pointed out that Dhoni's shuffling of the batting order has not worked so far in the tournament, including the promotion of Yusuf Pathan up the order against South Africa. He said Pathan should be told not to go after the ball immediately after taking guard.