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Going down sans a fight

Going down sans a fight
Highlights

There was no Sydney opera for the famed Indian middle-order, which crumbled and came down tumbling on a forgetful Thursday. In Biblical terms, the Men in Blue fell to the Ides of March. Looking back, it was perhaps on expected lines because they paid the price for going into the semifinal with a noticeable dose of overconfidence that stemmed from an unbeaten streak.

Both the bowlers and batsmen played stellar roles till the quarterfinals only to perish quite illogically when confronting the most formidable team of the championship

There was no Sydney opera for the famed Indian middle-order, which crumbled and came down tumbling on a forgetful Thursday. In Biblical terms, the Men in Blue fell to the Ides of March. Looking back, it was perhaps on expected lines because they paid the price for going into the semifinal with a noticeable dose of overconfidence that stemmed from an unbeaten streak. What was unfortunate was the spineless surrender by the batsmen, particularly after the flying start given by the openers.

It there are precedents to the law of averages catching up with sportspersons, then here was a classic addition to it. Both the bowlers and batsmen played stellar roles till the quarterfinals only to perish quite illogically when confronting the most formidable team of the championship. The win over Australia in the league phase came to a nought by the dogged determination of the ever-combative four-time champion.

However, looking at the larger picture, India actually exceeded the expectation. Amid the gloom and sense of remorse, there is a consolation because the morale just prior to the commencement of the ODI extravaganza was atrociously low after the Test and ODI humiliation. The fact that there was a tougher job of defending the title was perhaps on the back of the mind. In reaching the last four stage, India had some consistent performers in Mohammad Shami, Shikhar Dhawan, R Ashwin and Umesh Yadav while the zeroes were Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli with the much-hyped ‘all-rounder’ Ravindra Jadeja, being the villain of the piece.

A white-elephant for the entire championship, one finds it bizarre that he was actually in the playing eleven. It is time India hunted for a Steve Smith, who is there when the chips are down. The final should be a wonderful affair as the Trans-Tasmania clash will be as intensely fought as any India-Pakistan showdown. To the cricketing world at large, New Zealand will be the sentimental favourite. Going by present form, the yet to be beaten Kiwis should have the marginal edge although Australians never let go of any opportunity to bounce back into the reckoning.

They accomplished it twice in the previous encounter against India. Irrespective of which captain holds aloft the glittering trophy, the most certain thing is that either way the grand finale will make history. The angst and hurt that the Indian fans find themselves presently in will have a change of heart come April 8 when the eighth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) gets going.

After that, the zeroes of the latest Australian adventure will turn heroes because Indian cricketers have this uncanny ability to take on the best of the world when playing on home soil. The IPL carnival suits the players and fans to supreme levels. By May 29, everyone will forget that the Men in Blue failed to defend the World Cup.

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