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‘Those little chinks in India’s armour came to the fore’: Manjrekar on WC final | Cricket

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‘Those little chinks in India’s armour came to the fore’: Manjrekar on WC final | Cricket


Team India were left stunned at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, crashing to a six-wicket defeat vs Australia at the 2023 World Cup final. Their performance was a stark contrast to their form until the semi-finals as they got bowled out for 240 in 50 overs, courtesy of a three-wicket haul by Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood scalped two dismissals each.

Rohit Sharma during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia.(PTI)
Rohit Sharma during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia.(PTI)

The hosts lost opener Shubman Gill (4) early, and Rohit Sharma began the rebuilding process with in-form no. 3 batter Virat Kohli. But the India captain narrowly missed out on his half-century, departing for 47 off 31 balls. Shreyas Iyer, who got a ton in the semi-final, came in to bat at no. 4 and fans expected him to form a stable partnership with Kohli. But Iyer lost his wicket cheaply, registering only four of three balls as India were stuttering at 81/3 in 10.2 overs.

Kohli had to once again begin the rebuilding process with wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul. It looked like the pair were surging towards a strong partnership, but the former skipper lost his wicket after his half-century. The RCB star registered 54 off 63 balls. The likes of Ravindra Jadeja (9) and Suryakumar Yadav (18) failed to give proper support to Rahul as India began to lose wickets quickly. Rahul departed for 66 off 107 balls, with India standing at 203/6 in 41.3 overs. The tailenders managed to add a few more runs as India posted 240 in 50 overs.

Chasing 240, Australia cruised to 241/4 in 43 overs, as Travis Head slammed 137 off 120 balls. Meanwhile, Marnus Labuschagne (58*) got a crucial half-century. For India, Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami scalped a dismissal each.

Analysing India’s defeat, former India player Sanjay Manjrekar pointed out that India’s weakness in not having depth was showcased in the title clash. “India felt the pressure of not having depth; you know, those little chinks in India’s armour came to the fore,” he said, while in conversation on Star Sports.

“The batting depth wasn’t there, and you saw the way KL Rahul played a bulk of the innings with the knowledge that there isn’t much batting to come.

“Well, India had certain limitations that they had covered beautifully throughout the tournament, with Jadeja at number 7 and their batting finishing at number 6,” he further added.

Manjrekar also felt that the pressure of playing in a final had a huge impact. “Just imagine this game was a league match between Sri Lanka and India; would India have taken that risk? Maybe yes, that is where perhaps temperament comes in, and maybe, if it was a league match, India would have played differently,” he said.

After Hardik Pandya’s injury, Shardul Thakur was also removed from the playing XI and the management decided to include Shami and Suryakumar Yadav. Shami was in destructive form and ended the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 24 dismissals. But Suryakumar was in poor form, registering only 106 runs in seven innings. He had an average of 17.67 and a strike rate of 100.95.

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