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Time to reinvent

Time to reinvent
Highlights

India’s campaign at the World T20 ended in heartbreak on Thursday because, contrary to expectations, the Men in Blue were entrapped by the cavalier Calypso magic in what was a fantastic game of cricket, as Michael Vaughan put it. A match that was absorbing till the photo-finish will come across as good advertisement for the high-voltage excitement that the shortest form is expected to generate. 

India’s campaign at the World T20 ended in heartbreak on Thursday because, contrary to expectations, the Men in Blue were entrapped by the cavalier Calypso magic in what was a fantastic game of cricket, as Michael Vaughan put it. A match that was absorbing till the photo-finish will come across as good advertisement for the high-voltage excitement that the shortest form is expected to generate.

If one were to make a post-mortem of where India erred, it straightaway points to some strategic blunders committed by the think tank. No excuses can justify the audacity of going in with a bowler short. That India relied on Virat Kohli, who cannot even be called a part-time or stock bowler, to deliver the last over shows the ill-conceived calculations that went into the game-plan. A team that is largely dependent on its spin department may have found the dew rather worrisome.

However, Ravichandran Ashwin’s faux pas of delivering a no-ball at a particularly critical juncture is an unpardonable crime. In a way, that ball was the turning point of the match, which gets evidenced from the flamboyant manner the eleventh-hour replacement, Lendl Simmons, seized the golden opportunity, went from strength to strength and took away whatever advantage India had in its grasp.

All said and done, the Caribbean’s exposed several chinks in India’s famed armour as was done by New Zealand earlier on. A callous approach aka complacency came to the fore when the team breathed a sigh of relief following the early exit of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels. They paid a heavy price for taking things for granted and not reckoning with the match-winning abilities of Simmons and Johnson Charles.

The ‘not retiring now’ Dhoni is bang on when he contends that India’s earlier wins were not by any stroke of good luck but by the dint of hard work and for having executed plans to appropriate levels. That is precisely where Captain Cool’s counterpart Darren Sammy outsmarted him with a wonderfully executed plan, particularly when their backs were to the walls.

In his hour of glory, and at a time when West Indies will go into Sunday’s grand finale with the marginal advantage, Sammy exemplified a rare humanness when he pointed out that the team took inspiration from the country’s Under-19 team that won the World Cup and their women team, which has been rocking in the women World Cup that is underway in India.

His smartness was to the fore when, on calling it right for the fifth straight time, he put India into bat after taking a pragmatic stock of the conditions. That cricketing maturity saw the 2012 champion going a step closer to reclaiming the throne. After all, their brand of cricket, whichever the format, always makes them a strong contender in the shorter versions.

Sammy should, meanwhile, show some caution in the championship clash because the surprise in the pack, England, whose fortunes revolve around its batsmen, will hope to capitalise on the underdog tag as it suits their clinical approach just about perfectly.

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