Team India’s World Cup campaign came to an end abruptly after New Zealand defeated the Men in Blue by 18 runs. The Indian fans before even realizing that the team had weak links they were toppled from the World Cup. However, the defeat exposed numerous vulnerabilities of the team, which had been hidden by an exceptional performance from a few batsmen and the bowlers. The Indian top-order had been scoring runs in every game, which was hiding the middle order.
However, the Kiwi bowlers managed to make early inroads, dismissing Rohit, Rahul, and Virat for a run each. The responsibility of scoring runs fell on the middle order, but irresponsible shots did not help the team’s cause. Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni tried to help the team make a comeback, but their 116-runs stand went in vain. The questions would definitely be raised on the middle order. However, another debatable topic is MS Dhoni’s batting position. MS Dhoni can slow down the game very nicely. He can prevent the flow of wickets from one end, which helps his partner to attack freely. Once the top-order was dismissed for 5 runs, one would have anticipated him to come out at number 5.
However, it was Dinesh Karthik who came out to bat at No. 5. Karthik has seemed comfortable in the finishing job. However, he never looked comfortable in his 24-ball stay at the crease, where he could manage only six runs. Even after Karthik, Hardik Pandya was promoted above Dhoni. All three aren’t the best at this job. The experience and game knowledge of a player like Dhoni would have helped in absorbing the pressure.
The DNA reports suggest that it was India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar who decided to send him at No. 7. That ultimately turned out to be the difference between the two sides. The veteran played a gritty knock of 50 from 72 balls, but his dismissal closed the game for the Men in Blue.
Had he played at number 4 or 5, the outcome could have been totally different. Committee of Administrators (CoA) will be reviewing India’s World Cup performance with skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri, and the reason for sending him at that position might be asked. It would be interesting to see the reason why this call was made.