India Semi-Final Loss Breaks A Billion Hearts
India was ranked number 1 on the 2019 World Cup points table and New Zealand were ranked number 4. The Indians had only lost 1 game prior to this and were the favourites to win with the sportsbooks as well as the general public. Not only did cricket bettors have money on India winning the semi-final, many had already backed India to go on and win the 2019 World Cup.
They were left disappointed on Wednesday as New Zealand played some brilliant cricket to defend their modest score of 239 and book themselves a place in the World Cup finals on 14 July.
Rain And Reserve Day Helped Kiwis
The first semi-final was supposed to be over on 9 July, but that did not happen due to rain. New Zealand struggled on a slow pitch. They then just crossed 200 in 46 overs before the match was postponed to the reserve day. This was something that most Indian fans and punters did not consider or factor into their betting.
Nevertheless, sportsbooks gave India (1.19) even better betting odds to win because they felt the powerful Indian batting line-up would make quick work of the small total. However the rain interruption on the first day took away the momentum that India had. The reserve day allowed New Zealand who had odds of (4.55) to settle down, come up with a game play and also make use of the conditions on Day 2.
Did The India Top Order or Middle Order Fail?
One of the main reasons why India have had a phenomenal World Cup is because their openers have been in good form. R Sharma scored 5 centuries leading up to the semi-final. Meanwhile, KL Rahul hit a century in their last playoff game against Sri Lanka. Captain V Kohli has not got to a hundred at this World Cup but he has chipped in with some good knocks.
The Kiwis ripped through the Indian batting line-up as M Henry picked up two quick wickets and T Boult got the Indian captain. India fiddled with their batting line-up and promoted D Karthik ahead of MS Dhoni. However, Karthik got out to a superb catch from J Neesham. R Pant looked like he was going to launch a fight back but threw his wicket away.
Did the top order let India down in the semi-final? Or was it the brittle middle order that should take the blame? That’s an interesting question that the selectors, head coach and captain need to answer.
MS Dhoni Gets Praise And Flak
India were reeling at 20 for 4 and looked like they were going to fold. H Pandya and MS Dhoni then put together a partnership that brought some stability to the innings. Once Pandya went, R Jadeja decided to launch a counter-attack that kept India in the game.
MS Dhoni once again went into his defensive mode, failed to rotate the strike and consumed a lot of deliveries. He was content in letting Jadeja play the big shots and allowed the pressure to build. Now MSD has used this strategy in the past. The big difference on those occasions, though, was the fact MS Dhoni could find the boundary when he wanted.
However, Dhoni struggled to find the boundary throughout his innings. As the pressure mounted, R Jadeja was then forced to play one too many shots and he lost his wicket. India’s hopes rested on the shoulders of MS Dhoni. However, a brilliant throw from M Guptill saw Dhoni short of his crease. India subsequently failed to qualify for the 2019 ICC World Cup final.
There were a lot of fans who lashed out at MS Dhoni and his style of play in recent years. The former Indian captain is a proud man and one might think it is time for him to call it a day!