Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir feels India was not brave enough in the all-important final against Australia. The hosts suffered a six-wicket loss after they posted 240 runs on the board, but Travis Head scored a majestic knock of 137 runs.
Gambhir reckons he would have been fine if India had got all out for 150 but the batters should have shown more intent. In fact, India got off to a blistering start as they raced to 80-2 after Powerplay overs with Rohit Sharma scoring a quickfire 31-ball 47.
But, India slowed down like a tortoise in the middle overs as they could only hit two boundaries and scored 117 runs from overs 11 to 40, which was a big factor in the below-par score.
In fact, India ticked all the right boxes throughout the tournament as they won 10 matches on the bounce but failed to bring their best in the all-important final.
“I have always maintained this – the most courageous team will go on to win the World Cup. I can understand that for some time you want to build a partnership. But 11-40 overs is a very long period of time. India should have accelerated and taken a risk at that stage.
Gambhir reckons India’s lack of intent led to their downfall in the big final as they didn’t take the bull by its horns.
“I actually would have liked India going really aggressive with the top six, seven batters. Even if they got all out for 150, I would have been fine. But you scored 240 and thought you can fight. In World Cup finals, you don’t fight – it has to be either this way or that way. That is the approach I would have taken. Either we go 150 all out or 300. That is what India has lacked and this is why India has not gone on to win ICC tournaments,” Gambhir said.
The former Indian opener, who scored a match-winning 97 in the 2011 World Cup final, said Rohit should have given the message to the middle-order batters to play aggressively despite his wicket.
“Probably Rohit should have sent that message before the start of the game that even if I get out, we are going aggressive. Virat’s role is to anchor the innings from one end, but rest all the other batters go hard. If you are able to take five singles in an over, that is also called positive cricket. But, if you are playing 4-5 dot balls in an over, the game is going nowhere,” the former opener said.
“If Virat was in, KL should have gone. He should have said that, I am going to take those risks. We might have got out for 150, but imagine if we were brave and had scored 310, you could have won the World Cup. India were not brave enough, courageous enough and that’s where we lost the finals,” Gambhir concluded.
India will take on Australia in a five-match T20I series, starting Thursday at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam.