How could India play like novices?
Was it really India playing out there in Amstelveen? I, for one, didn't think so. I can understand a Bangladesh or a Kenya sometimes collapsing from the highs of 60 for one or two to 120-odd but, for an experienced side like India to go down the way they did, was inexplicable. For India, it was a total washout.
The strangest part was that India were right on top twice in the game -- at the beginning of either innings -- and yet they managed to fritter away the advantage.
Our bowlers, especially the comeback men -- Agarkar and Balaji -- bowled splendidly to get the team off to a great start. Likewise, the batsmen too set off well in pursuit of a somewhat stiff target, but none of them could keep up the good work long enough to decide the fate of the match in their favour.
In fact, Pakistan deserve a lot of credit for the way they played. They had the tougher task on the day after they had been put in to bat. In a rain-shortened game, the team batting first never knows how much to score. It only gets worse in a rain-interrupted tie. It is a huge advantage knowing the target in such a scenario and India simply blew it.
India's task was simple. All they had to do was learn from Pakistan, who with just one good partnership in the middle, managed to steady the ship enough for a late assault. On the other hand, the Indians, once they lost three quick wickets following a great start, never got down to rebuilding the innings.
Mind you, after the brisk start provided by Ganguly and Sehwag, the middle order wasn't under too much pressure either. But where Shoaib Malik and Youhana rode the pressure superbly to bring Pakistan back into the match, the India middle order went about creating problems for itself.
How Afridi was allowed to bag four wickets beats me. We are supposed to be good players of spin, we are supposed to bat deep down the order and I suppose someone forgot to tell the team all this!