India put up a par-for-the-course 168/6, thanks to Hardik Pandya’s blistering 63 off 33 balls and Virat Kohli‘s 50 off 40. But the Indian bowlers were flayed by Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, as the England openers went all the way to overhaul India’s total and deliver a 10-wicket hammering to Rohit Sharma & Co.
England will now play for the trophy in the final against Pakistan, who had beaten New Zealand in the first semifinal, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13.
Buttler (80* off 49) and Hales (86* off 47) made a mockery of a clueless Indian bowling attack and put on a solid 170-run unbeaten stand in 16 overs to storm into the final. The blistering run-chase saw the two Englishmen hit 13 fours and 10 sixes in total.
Former England spinner Monty Panesar questioned India’s lacklustre performance, labeling it as “overconfident” and without any alternate plan.
“Why did Rohit (Sharma) not have Plan B or Plan C? India have played really good cricket in the tournament, but they needed to understand that it was a semifinal,” said Panesar talking to Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
“Rohit expected Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) to get some swing, but that didn’t happen. So he should have gone into the semis with Plan B and Plan C as well. When one thing doesn’t work for you, you immediately switch to the other plan…but that wasn’t the case with the Indian team.”
While the in-form Kohli has been the highest scorer of this World Cup with 296 runs in six matches at an astonishing average of 98.67, it has been a disappointing outing for some of the other big names, including captain Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik.
Suryakumar is the second-highest run-getter for the team, scoring 239 runs in six matches at an average of 59.75.
Rahul, apart from his knocks against minnows Bangladesh (50) and Zimbabwe (51), failed to score in double digits in the remaining games. He scored 4 against Pakistan, 9 against the Netherlands, 9 against South Africa and 5 in the semifinal against England.
Panesar feels India relied heavily on Kohli and Suryakumar, and that “over-reliance” cost them dear in the end.
“Over-reliance on Virat and Suryakumar cost India the World Cup,” Panesar further told Timesofindia.com.
“India were heavily dependent on Virat and Surya. They have been in really good touch and scored heavily for India. But what about other batsmen? KL Rahul scored against small teams. India needed big scores from him against big teams, but he failed. India needed a solid foundation from the openers. (Absence of) That hurt India the most,” Panesar, who played 50 Tests, 26 ODIs and 1 T20I for England between 2006 and 2013, said.
“Virat and Surya can’t score in every match. Someone else needs to join them. India need good openers. India opted for KL Rahul because they didn’t have any choice,” he said.
WHY HARSHAL PATEL AND YUZVENDRA CHAHAL DIDN’T PLAY?
Panesar also questioned India’s playing combination, including replacing Dinesh Karthik with Rishabh Pant and preferring off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Axar Patel over Yuzvendra Chahal’s leg-spin.
“I didn’t understand one big thing. Why did India switch to Pant from DK (Karthik)?” Panesar reckoned.
Ashwin claimed six wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 8.15, while Axar could manage just three wickets in five matches. In the final, Ashwin was hammered for 27 runs in two overs.
Chahal didn’t get a single game in the T20 World Cup. Harshal Patel was also seen warming the bench.
“Chahal is a far better bowler than Ashwin. Why did India stick with Ashwin when Chahal was also there? Chahal has variations; and if he doesn’t take wickets, he will tighten the noose around the batsmen and can control the flow of runs…Harshal was another option India should have gone with. He is a swing bowler and can bat too. Why didn’t India use these two? I am amazed. When you have (such) players, then why not use them,” Panesar said.
‘INDIA FAVOURITES FOR 2023 ODI WORLD CUP AT HOME’
The 2023 ODI World Cup will be hosted by India, and Panesar is confident that Rohit’s team will put up a stupendous show in the 50-over showpiece event.
“India in India are super strong. The 2011 World Cup was in India and (MS) Dhoni took them to the title. India were dominant in the tournament. We have seen how dominating India can be at home. Rohit will surely put that trophy in India’s cabinet. The 2023 World Cup belongs to India,” Panesar signed off.