Winning all four games of the league stage, India was on song and cruised through the semi’s too chasing a big total against South Africa. Fans were almost sure of a victory even before the final started, undermining the Sri Lankan team’s ability to quite an extent. Kohli was firing away, Rohit, Raina, Rahane, Yuvraj, Ashwin, Mishra… each player had contributed to the team’s success. India was ‘the team’ to look out, India was just crowned the top ranking team of ICC T20 rankings, India was about to emerge the first team to win all three trophies of ICC.
Dhoni said during the toss that the tricky games are the ones with less score – the 130’s 135’s, almost in a foreboding. But he was talking about chasing low scores! Sri Lanka had a game plan with the bowling against India, but was India not supposed have one it self? Was it too complacent to come up with one even after three, four, five overs of widish off yorkers? Rahane was in two minds right from the start, he shook it off after a few balls, but the Indian batsmen clearly were out of sorts, Even the prodigal Kohli was not meddling it properly. Rohit was the one that has shown the right attitude, plan, and determination. Kohli too came off good after a while, finding his bat hitting the ball at the right spots.
But the game soon changed, Rahane and Rohit departed, bringing Yuvraj in. Everyone hoped to see the Yuvi of the recent 60 scoring match against Australia. Yuvraj took 21 balls to score his 11 runs, everyone in the dugout, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, partner Kohli, were irritated seeing him waste the precious balls, as it was already past 15 overs. Kohli had reached 70 with almost five overs to spare, giving hope that the team would touch 150, which would be a respectable total to defend. Of the last four overs, Kohli faced just seven balls. Of the last four overs, India had managed only 19 runs.
All Indians heaved a sigh of relief when Yuvi was out, there were too few balls left, but at least another 20 were possible, But Dhoni too stuck to his strike stupidly, having a partner scored 70 at the other end, he would have given him the strike. He thought otherwise, what we finally had was about 20-30 runs less. Dhoni patted Kohli’s shoulder after the last ball, shouldn’t it have been otherwise?
When the bowling started, very soon the doubt creeped up, how come India doesn’t seem to have a plan for Sri Lanka? The ball was moving fast, the batsmen were enjoying the pace, even the comperes said that. How come our calm like a cucumber captain couldn’t contain Sangakkara? Soon the inevitable was visible to everyone. The team India shoulders were sagging, faces pensive, cursing themselves unable to evade the outcome.
Dhoni says Yuvraj was having “an off day.” He didn’t name his own day any way. Malinga says he was clear about how to handle the Indian players as he had gained clear knowledge of them due to IPL!
Sri Lanka clearly had a plan for the game, luckily for them, India did not have one. More over, Yuvraj and Dhoni were also following Lankan’s plan! Why did India lose the final match? Isn’t the answer obvious now?