India's dreams of winning a third World Cup title were dashed on Sunday when they lost in the final by six wickets to Australia. Hosts India were the favourites going into the match not just because of the fact that they had won every game in the tournament, they had hardly been challenged by any team, including Australia themselves in the opening game for both sides. While Australia had lost the first match by six wickets, they reversed that result on India in the final.
Before the final, India had scored over 350 in three of their previous four games, with the only time they didn't do so being against South Africa. They had scored 326 in that match and went on to win by a whopping 243 runs. However, they were all out for just 240 runs in the final in 50 overs and Australia chased it down in 43 overs. India had scored 80 runs in the first 10 overs but they managed to hit just four fours and no sixes for the rest of their innings. Former batter Gautam Gambhir said that it would've been better if India had tried hitting more boundaries with someone taking more risks in the middle overs.
“It's a double-edged sword. But I have always said this, the most courageous team will go on to win the World Cup. I can understand that you need time to build a partnership but 11 to 40 overs is a very, very long time. Someone should have taken that risk,” Gambhir told Sportskeeda.
‘Either we go 150 all out or end up with 300’: Gambhir
Gambhir admitted that India could have ended up falling for a lesser score had they remained aggressive but they should've tried to score quicker regardless of that. The former opener, who scored 97 in the final of the 2011 World Cup and was instrumental to India's victory in that match, said that getting 240 should have never been an acceptable scenario.
“I would have actually liked India going really aggressive with their top 6-7 batters even if they had been all out for 150. I would have been fine. But if you feel you can defend 240 in a World Cup final...that is not where you fight. It is either this way or that. Either we go 150 all out or 300. That is where India have lacked. That is where India have not gone on to win ICC tournaments. Rohit should have sent the message before the game that even if I get out we should go aggressive,” he said.
KL Rahul and Virat Kohli put up a fourth-wicket partnership in which they played 109 balls but could score just 67 runs. While Kohli maintained a good strike rate despite the lack of boundaries, it became even more difficult for India to score after he fell on 54 off 63.
Gambhir said that Kohli had been given the role of anchoring the innings and had done it well throughout the tournament. So, other batters should have tried to play aggressively around him. Instead, Rahul ended up scoring just 66 in 107 balls.
“Kohli has played a role of anchoring the innings, but the rest all should have been aggressive. KL should have gone. What harm would it have caused? We would have been 150 all out. But had we been brave, we could scored 310 and India would have been world champions. This is not the 1990s. 240 is not a good score at all. You need 300-plus totals. India were not brave enough,” said Gambhir.
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