'In big games, teams should...': Wasim Akram points out key reasons behind India's shock defeat in World Cup final
Wasim Akram analysed the factors behind India's shock defeat against Australia, at the World Cup final.
Team India's campaign at the 2023 World Cup was nothing short of a blockbuster Bollywood script. Rohit Sharma and Co. remained unbeaten throughout the league stage, followed by a win against New Zealand in the semi-finals. But just like a movie, they received a shock in the final, crashing to a six-wicket defeat against Australia in Ahmedabad.
Chasing 241, Australia raced to 241/4 in 43 overs, courtesy of a ton from Travis Head (137). Meanwhile, Marnus Labuschagne (58*) also remained unbeaten with a half-century. For the home side's bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets, Mohammed Siraj and Mohamed Shami bagged a wicket each.
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Initially, India were bowled out for 240 in 50 overs, in what turned out to be a poor batting display. India lost opener Shubman Gill early (4), and then captain Rohit and Virat Kohli tried to build a partnership. But Rohit narrowly missed out on a half-century, departing for 47. Meanwhile, no. 4 batter Shreyas Iyer, who was in hot form throughout the tournament, got dismissed for four runs. Kohli also departed after his half-century, smacking 54 off 63 balls.
The anchor role fell on KL Rahul early, but he didn't receive any support from the likes of Ravindra Jadeja (9) and Suryakumar Yadav (18). Rahul lost his wicket in the 42nd over after a knock of 66 off 107 balls. For the visitors' bowling department, Mitchell Starc took three wickets, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins scalped two dismissals each.
During the run chase, India also decided to use Shami early, moving away from their plan of using Siraj in the beginning. Commenting on India's changed approach, Pakistan legend Wasim Akram felt it could have psychologically affected the bowlers.
Speaking on Star Sports, he said, "Wasim Akram commenting on team India’s decision to change their plans and bowl Mohammad Shami before bowling Siraj, he said- “If you ask me, I found Siraj to be bowling really well throughout the World Cup, though his wickets column may not suggest that, but the break throughs he gave in Asia Cup and his recent performances have established him as the future of Indian cricket. In this match they straight away brought in Shami and he did have impact on the game right away by getting Warner out, though it was more like Warner got himself out by slashing at a wide ball."
"Another factor is that after losing the three wickets within the first 15 overs the due set in, which made it easier for batting as the ball wasn’t doing much after that. I’m not taking credit away from Australia’s batting, but it does psychologically affect the bowlers. I think in big games like the finals, teams should always stick to what they have been doing and what’s been working for them," he added.
Analysing their batting approach, Akram said, "If I have to pick any particular reason, I suppose the middle order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset. I can understand what was going through Rahul’s mind, that there was no batting to come after Jadeja and that he had to bat deep, and batting deep meant he couldn’t take risks of getting out. If possibly Hardik was in the team, he probably would take that risk, but if he had taken a risk and gotten out in this situation, then people would have criticised him for that as well. If they had kept pace and scored quickly in the middle overs, then it would have been a different ball game."
The former cricketer also spoke about the nature of Rohit's game in the World Cup. "He’s played like that the entire World Cup, that’s his game. Nobody complained throughout the World Cup with the starts he’s giving or that he was constantly getting out in the 40’s, and now that he’s done the same in the finals people are finding a reason to complain. And he’s also one of the best players of spin in the world though he got out to Maxwell in the that game, and credit to Maxwell and Cummins, but that’s the nature of Rohit’s game and I don’t think he should change it," he said.
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