The similarities between the last two overs of the Asia Cup 2022 match between India and Sri Lanka on Tuesday and the one between India and Pakistan were uncanny. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled some wides and gave away enough runs to make it easy for the batters in the last over and Arshdeep Singh, for the second match running, was left with seven runs to defend. There was, of course another similarity.
The youngster bowled once again tried his best. There was, of course, one more similarity. India lost again, with one ball to spare.
Watch: Arshdeep, Pant make mess of a run out chance as SL steal win against INDThe common factors were however not restricted to the last two overs alone. Once again, the much-vaunted Indian batting fell way short of what they expected of themselves and what their supporters would understandably demand of them. As did the bowling, with the dependable Bhuvneshwar Kumar finding himself erring massively in the penultimate over, leaving India with little to fight with at the end.
So, where does that leave India? Nowhere, it looks like. Sri Lanka have won both their matches while Pakistan have one win and two matches to go. Afghanistan is the other team in the contest without a win.
Any way you look at it doesn’t look too good for the team. Sri Lanka played their innings like a charm. A 97-run opening stand between Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis took care of any early jitters that they had.
Mendis was in sublime form, orchestrating the powerplay attack on the Indian bowlers and 57 off 43 deliveries was the cornerstone for them, enough for the latter lot to stave off an impending collapse. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and skipper Dasun Shanaka reflected their new-found confidence in no uncertain terms as they pulled off the win which puts them atop the table. India’s batting formula was the same — go all out from the beginning.
So was the result. Once again, it was left to one batter, this time Sharma, to do the bulk of the scoring while the rest were floundering. Read: Rohit smashes records held by Tendulkar, Afridi during 41-ball 72One stand, with Suryakumar Yadav, was the only thing India had to show in their batting effort as all the rest from top down were poor.
KL Rahul is in some sort of nightmare which doesn’t end, and this time around it came from an LBW that didn’t quite look right. Virat Kohli went across to the left-arm seamer who was bringing the ball in and lost his furniture rapidly. What a difference it was in the Powerplay for the two sides.
India lost Rahul and Kohli in a heap and very little to show while the two Sri Lankan openers Nissanka and Mendis played what was by far the best first six overs in the Asia Cup this year. Then we saw another series of moderate performances in the middle-order. Pandya, Rishabh Pant and Deepak Hooda once again got in and out rather too cheaply and while Ashwin did belt some runs, India were once again left way short of whatever target they had in mind.
Questions come up about what kind of instructions do the batting coach and related people give to the batters ahead of these matches. This is not the first time that India’s later-order batters have struggled to get the ball off the square consistently. One also needs to question as to why Hooda is being preferred to Dinesh Karthik if he is not being used as a bowler.
Karthik has surely done better towards the end of the innings and that too consistently. Where is Umran malik (150km speed) ? Why Deepak chahar (top quality swing bowler )wasn’t there ? Tell me if these guys don’t deserve the chances ?? Why Dinesh Karthik don’t get chances consistently?? Disappointing— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) September 6, 2022Anyhow, it was quite a repeat of how the Indian batting performed against Pakistan. Sri Lanka’s opening bowling attack was way more consistent than their Pakistan counterparts and India’s plan to hit everything out of the park is simply not working.
It has been a law of diminishing returns for India over the tournament. After beginning on such a high against Pakistan in the league, it has been all downhill. Even Hong Kong had their moments against the Indian bowling, which has been shown up frequently.
The spinners had their moments today, but with much less to defend and the Sri Lankan batters always beginning to push the envelope right through the first half of the innings, they were under pressure. But that is what it all means. Professional cricketers are supposed to handle the pressure.
Also, irrespective of how these matches have turned out, this is definitely not India’s top attack. Almost every over from every bowler had at least one bad ball in every over and that is just not acceptable. A lot of thought needs to go into the final composition of the bowling before the T20 World Cup.
As for the batting, a problem of plenty is also a problem. Many a batter is not delivering to the potential that is needed. This is nowhere near the best bowling that the Indians will meet in the near future.
The World Cup will bring the Australians and the English, as also the South Africans etc. If this is how things span out there, it will be something of a disaster. Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News, India News and Entertainment News here.
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