Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh feels intent wasn’t there to hit boundaries and it led to India’s downfall in the World Cup final against Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Sunday. India raced to 80-2 in the Powerplay overs as Rohit Sharma blazed away to 47 runs off just 31 balls.
But India veered off the track in the middle overs after Shreyas Iyer was dismissed cheaply. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul did steady the ship but failed to find boundaries. In fact, India could only hit two fours in the next 30 overs and scored just 117 runs. Furthermore, the hosts scored two more fours in the final 10 overs.
Thus, India could only manage 240 runs on the board, which proved to be 30-40 runs short of a par score.
Harbhajan Singh told Sports Today: “I’ve never seen or covered a game or played a game where you score only four boundaries in 40 overs from the 10th over till the 50th over. India scored only four boundaries, which is a very shocking stat. If I look back and and see what happened, obviously there was more pressure. I believe that intent wasn’t there to hit boundaries; it was more of a survival mode.”
“Every game you play for India, there is pressure,” the former Indian spinner continued. “But when you play knockout games like semi-final and final, the pressure is very, very big. However, we have seen that we don’t reach the top of the mountain. There has to be something to do with the mindset and how we take that game.
India was dominant throughout the tournament and the Turbanator added the hosts had a great chance to go all the way but they slipped at the final step.
“I believe Team India had the chance. The way they were playing, I thought this was India’s turn to win the World Cup and cricket would be changed from here onwards.”
The former off-spinner reckons the match turned after Rohit Sharma was dismissed after scoring 31-ball 47 as India struggled in the middle overs.
“When you’re looking to play the finals, you have to put your foot forward, where you have to take on the opposition, look into their eyes, and say, ‘We are here to rule’. That’s exactly the case when Virat Kohli bats. But when Rohit Sharma got out, everything looked completely different,” he added.
India will now take on Australia in five-match T20I series, starting Thursday.