XtraTime Web Desk: India’s sensational journey in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup ended in heartbreak after Ravindra Jadeja & MS Dhoni failed to take their side over the line by a whisker in the semifinal as they lost the game by 18 runs.
In a column for TOI on Friday Sourav said that the Indian team management made a blunder by not sending MS Dhoni when the team was 5/3 and then 24/4 while chasing 240 to win against New Zealand.
“Knockouts are knockouts, the equations are different, the pressure is different and all the form of the group stage means nothing. Who knows it better than India one day after that long semi-final in Manchester,” Ganguly wrote.
The match went to the reserve day as it was heavily raining on July 9.
“Right throughout the World Cup and maybe even before, Indian fans’ biggest fear was what would happen if we lose both Rohit (Sharma) and (Virat) Kohli early, especially with (Shikhar) Dhawan injured,” Ganguly mentioned. “That’s exactly what happened in this crucial tie. Losing three wickets with five runs on the board was too much for India to recover from.”
But the team management held back MS Dhoni, India’s most experienced batsman and proven match-winner, until he came out to bat at the fall of fifth wicket. According to Ganguly, it defied any logic.
“India, who were outstanding in the group stages, made a few surprising decisions in this game (semi-final). Leaving Dhoni for so late, when three wickets are lost early, was a blunder. They needed to consolidate and if anyone was a perfect foil to young Rishabh (Pant) at that stage, it would have been Dhoni.
“India needed the exuberance of youth and the calmness of Dhoni at that stage to hold the innings together and rebuild, and that was a mistake by the team,” Ganguly wrote.