Though all the matches hold relevance but this match was indeed very important and an iconic match in many ways. For the 1st time in decades, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indian fans prayed together for India to win. It was like a United India of pre independence fighting against the British Raj. A win for India in this match would have throwned England out of contention for semi finals spot while it would have made things easier for Pakistan as well as Banlgadesh to enter the top 4 slots. Above all that was the deep criticism English media and fans have been hurling at the English team, Jonny Bairstow in a war of words on twitter with Former England Captain Michael Vaughan who advised the team to give a fitting comeback. Hence, it was a do or die match for England where they had to prove many things on many quarters, hence they were definitely more pumped up than the Indians.
England opting to bat first at Edgbaston were off to a flying start with openers Jason Roy (66) and Bairstow (111) putting on 160 runs for the 1st wicket in mere 22.1 overs. At one stage England were looking all set for a score of 400 or even more than that. However, India managed to give a bit of a fight in the middle bringing the run rate down. Still the bowling did not look spirited with Bumrah bowling 90% of the deliveries & Shami (70% of the deliveries) of their opening spells on the same spot just trying to take the dot balls rather than trying variations to take wickets.
Even Kuldeep Yadav kept on having a defensive approach after being thrashed,he was looking to contain the batsman. An observation rightly analyzed by Sanjay Manjrekar from the commentary box. At the middle order, Ben Stokes (79 off 54) and Jos Buttler (20* off 8) gave the finishing touch pushing England to a good total of 337/7 in 50 overs.
Have you ever seen a team chasing 338 runs scoring 28 runs in the first 10 overs they face? It was simply unexplainable.A poor opening start appeared as if they were trying to play safe cricket to keep their place secured by not getting out for low scores. Have been maintaining this past few years, dhoni feels he is bigger than the game. No intent to slog even in death overs, not giving or rotating strike to others feeling as if only he can hit those sixes (Words of Ganguly). Not disappointed because we lost but disappointed because of our intent, because of how Dhoni and Kedar played.
This is not how you play for your country MS. There has to be mad fire and selflessness inside. As a cricket lover, our blood boiled and blood pressure literally rose up watching the last 4 overs. Even Ganguly and Nasser Hussain said in the commentary box that this is absolutely disturbing, this is not how Cricket is played. Unbeaten scores only look good on paper and stats but it’s doing nothing for your country. These are Ganguly’s words,Even Tendulkar criticized Dhoni’s attitude and approach towards the game and lack of intent. When we alone say this for Dhoni, we maybe wrong but when everyone slowly joins in including two senior former Indian Cricketers, then you got to believe his style of batting is wrong. Also it was nothing to boast if Sharma (102 off 109) and Kohli (66 off 76) got runs because they should have atleast played at a run a ball strike rate if not more. India eventually lost the match by 31 runs while Jonny Bairstow who played some pleasing sweep shots to Kuldeep Yadav in his knock of 111 was declared ‘man of the match’
Pandya’s batting is the only aspect which we can relate to the previous generations of Indian team where players like Sehwag, Ganguly, Ajay Jadeja, Robin Singh, Dravid, Kaif, Yuvraj, Raina and so many other players played selflessly without worrying about their wickets. Yes many players did not have amazing stats, many were known to throw away their wickets but an average of 50.00 but knocks like these (how Dhoni plays) is better than having an average in 20’s and 30’s but playing like Pandya or Sehwag or Yuvraj. Atleast there was some intent and fire to make the country win in their approach.
Also why is even Kedar Jadhav in the playing XI? He bowls immaturely which is just entertaining to watch, hardly bats effectively down the order & neither is he that electric in fielding either. When you have players like Dinesh Karthik who can atleast try hitting a few big shots in the death overs is made to sit the entire tour. Players like Jadeja who can save 20-30 runs with their fielding, bowl full 10 overs and also chip in with the bat are made to sit, it’s really upsetting. As Ganguly said, there are lot of questions which the team needs to be asked. The coach, the selectors, the captain and everyone involved with the team.
Not bashing the Indian team because of just one loss, it’s since 2-3years now they have been playing fireless cricket. It was just our luck that we stayed unbeaten so far or many teams including Afghanistan had already come close to defeating us.
So it’s high time Indian Team goes through a major revamp when it comes to giving chances to certain players or having the right approach towards the game.