Complacency and overconfidence can be fatal. This is the universal truth. In regard to India vs Sri Lanka encounter in Champions Trophy on Thursday though it would be slightly inappropriate that Indians were complacent yes at times it was apparent that team was a bit too sure of victory and therefore took things rather easily at times.
As such nothing wrong with a defeat in a match. This is sports after all and one team is bound to lose and let’s admit that Sri Lanka was the better side at The Oval.
It is a typical template in ODIs/T-20s, wherein a side with young players has better of a side studded with stars and heavyweights on a given day. You cannot take anything for granted. Remember how heavyweight batting of RCB struggled throughout the IPL 2017. If on another day number eight team Pakistan can beat number one team, South Africa, then everything is possible.
But Kohli needs to introspect and pick the correct takeaways from this match. First of all Kohli’s post-match statement that 321 runs were enough is somewhat not that convincing. The conditions were conducive for batting and if we take Malinga out, then rest of Sri Lankan attack was just mediocre. So Indians had minimum 40 overs to cut loose. When I was watching Indian innings, somehow I was recalling India – SL encounter during 1999 World Cup in England only, when batting first India amassed 373 runs in similar conditions. Ganguly scored 183.
Rohit and Dhawan were solid and convincing but Kohli and team management must ponder whether 75 runs in first 15 overs are sufficient. I was reading a comment on Cricinfo, which was spot on. It said that one of the openers should actually come with a license to hammer ball right from the word go. Even if he scores 25-30 runs in 12-15 balls, the job is done.
Secondly over dependence on boundaries can be fatal. Runs in ones and twos should keep coming. In the later part of India’s innings, Dhoni though played well but somehow he was not able to keep the score board ticking. He seems to have lost that mojo of scoring singles and doubles without many dot balls. The batsmen should be able to score runs with the pace of 5-6 runs per over without boundaries alone. Pandya’s wicket hit India hard as had he stayed for another 3-4 over, an additional 20-25 runs could have come.
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Kohli perhaps was convinced that Sri Lankan would not be able to chase down 321. A strong intent of taking wickets was somewhat missing. He could have been little more attacking during the earlier phase of Sri Lankan innings. It looked that Indians let the pair of Gunathilaka and Mendis off the hook and ultimately match slipped.
Kohli himself rolled his arm and it indicates a dearth of bowling options in front of him. Ineffectiveness of Jadeja hit team very hard. Umesh was expensive too. Bumrah was good but could not bowl many wickets taking deliveries. Kohli may now think of Ashwin and Shami.
Luck was with Sri Lankan too. Many of their miscued shot did not reach fielders. But then fortune favour Braves this cannot undermine tremendous efforts put up by team Sri Lanka.
Kohli needs to now concentrate on the match against South Africa. He needs to take correct lessons from the defeat and needs to make some changes to break the shackle.
One last thing; relentless aggression is the USP of Kohli and new team India, which somehow was missing in this match. Kohli would like to look into this as well. This team has Batman with two ODI double centuries (Rohit Sharma), which has someone like Kohli who has been regarded as one of greatest ever ODI batsmen and has the finest finisher of his generation MS Dhoni in it. Therefore it should look far more intimidating and assertive on the field.
(The author is NewsMobile iJourno)