Yet another inept performance by the Indian team hands them their first defeat in the World Cup 2011. The bowling and fielding problems were already well documented in the media and with this performance; the batting also joined the problem list. The middle order problem started even before this game but wasn’t taken that seriously as we were chasing miniscule totals but it hurt us big time against the saffers. The top order delivered again led by brilliant Sachin Tendulkar. The little master yet again delivered when mattered with the help of Sehwag first and then Ghambir got India to a commanding position.
Once the top three were back in the hut, the rest fell like a pack of cards. Dhoni was furious after the game, accusing the batsmen of playing to the gallery rather than for the team. It might be true but I got the feeling that the batsmen wanted to score big and make sure that SA are batted out of the game but failed miserably in their quest. Losing 9 wickets for 29 runs is something which even the associate nations would be embarrassed about after the position India were in at that time. The problem now for India is that they have to wait for 1 more week before they can try to rectify the situation. As Ricky Ponting said at the start of the tournament, the gap between the matches are ridiculously long. The gap probably is affecting the Indian team as there can be no momentum for the team and there is very good chance that the Indians will turn up rusty for every game they play.
The bowling too had their issues as except for Zaheer and Bajji (Second spell), the rest were pretty pedestrian. Munaf and Nehra were all over the place and were not able to bowl at the death and for some reason Dhoni did not use Yusuf Pathan that much during the middle overs. The decision to play three seamers kind of backfired for the Indians as Nehra’s lack of match practice was shown up against the Saffers. To give such an important last over to Ashish was a tactical error by Dhoni as Bajji would have been a better choice. The fielding too did not help the Indians as they dropped couple of dollies in the outfield. Ghambir and Yuvraj were the major culprits on that front.
India now has to win against the WI to make sure they don’t end up fighting for the Quarter-final spot with England and Bangladesh. I hope that India plays Ashwin in the all important game against the WI. At the moment it seems like India would find it hard to go past the Quarters with this bowling and fielding performance. India is lacking in all three disciplines at the moment and I don’t think they have enough time to fix any of those. Suresh Raina might also get his first game against the WI next week replacing Kohli as he gives an extra option with the ball for Dhoni. India needs to do lots of thinking with the squad and come up with a better all round performance in the next game if they have any thoughts of advancing beyond the quarters. Based on the performances so far it does not look that promising for India in this word cup.