India were disappointing against Australia. What stung more than the loss was the reckless approach of the batsmen.
One doesn’t mind a big defeat, if there’s a wholehearted effort. Somehow, one got the impression that India’s batsmen looked for an easy way out, with the excuse of a limited overs format requiring attacking shots.
That argument would have been valid if they had attempted proper cricketing shots, but trying to slog fast bowlers on a hard bouncy pitch is like committing suicide.
T20 does not allow for too many dot balls, but even here common cricketing sense demands that the frontline bowlers should be seen off. One can make up for the slow run-rate when the second string comes on. But if the team has already lost some wickets, the change bowlers can get away with good figures.
India were left shell shocked by the pace of Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait, and half the side was already out before the halfway stage. Rohit Sharma tried his best to join them, but he survived. And once his nerves settled down, he played some top shots, showing India could have made a match of it had others shown some patience.
The match against the West Indies is crucial now. India need to win it to stay in hunt for a place in the semis. The West Indians also were ordinary in their loss against Sri Lanka and their discomfort against spinners would have given a clue to the Indians.
Piyush Chawla must come back and partner Harbhajan, who was magnificent against the Australians.
The West Indians, too, would have noticed India’s reluctance in facing chin music and will look to add some more firepower to their attack. Their quickies, however, may not be as effective as the Australians as they won’t have the same fielding support.
The match between the Australians and the Sri Lankans should be a real cracker. The Australians look extremely focussed, keen to add this trophy to their collection. Moreover, they seem to be peaking at the right time. The Lankans, too, are looking sharp. With Jayawardene in a sublime form, they have a batsman who can take the attack to the Australian camp. If the Australians win that game and the Indians beat the West Indies, then the match between the Lankans and the Indians will decide who will go through.