Virat Kohli’s gallant 89 not out went in vain as India’s World T20 campaign came to an end with a seven-wicket loss to the West Indies. Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said that besides Kohli no other player pulled his weight for Team India.
Kohli’s second successive half-century helped India post 192 for two. However, his innings was overshadowed by Lendl Simmons, who struck 82 not out off 51 balls, taking the West Indies past the target and into the final, where they will face England on Sunday. (Two No-Balls That Cost Dhoni’s Men A Final Berth)
“Virat Kohli dragged India ahead throughout the tournament. Hardik Pandya has been a problem. He was lucky to get two wickets against Bangladesh. (Ravindra) Jadeja and Pandya did not adjust well to the conditions,” Sangakkara told NDTV in an exclusive chat.
Rohit Sharma (43) gave India a blistering start. Ajinkya Rahane (40) and Kohli took the innings forward with a 66-run partnership.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kohli added an unbeaten 64 off 27 balls to power India to 192. However, the Indian captain failed to really get going and managed just 15 off nine balls. (Dhoni Brushes Off Retirement Speculations in Style)
The West Indies’ chase got off to the worse possible start with Chris Gayle (5) and Marlon Samuels (8) falling early. With the Windies 19 for two, India looked to be favourites in the match.
However, things quickly changed for the Indians as Johnson Charles (52) and Simmons strung together a match-winning 97-run stand for the third wicket.
Simmons was lucky to be standing unbeaten at the end of the match, twice dismissed on no-balls. Andre Russell smashed 43 off 20 balls at a crucial time to thwart the Indians and take his side over the line.
“Credit should go to West Indies, their batsmen played brilliantly. They cashed in on their luck,” Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar to NDTV.
“Reasons for the no-balls was probably due to bowlers trying something different,” Sangakkara added.
The Dew Factor
Dhoni, in the post-match press conference, spoke about his spinners being rendered ineffective due to the dew. Jadeja gave away 48 runs in his four overs without picking a wicket while India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled just two overs for 20 runs.
“Conditions should be the same for both teams,” said Gavaskar.
His words were echoed by Sangakkara and Australian great Dean Jones.
“Conditions like dew should not decide such a big match. A semi-final should not hinge on the dew factor. It should be a level-playing field,” said the former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper batsman.
“The Indian bowlers struggled with the wet ball in the death overs. The dew factor does not help teams bowling second,” said Jones.
However, the former Australian batsman also credited the West Indian batsman for their power hitting and their approach to the game.
“West Indies know how to hit sixes. They bat well down the order. This track suited the West Indies. Eighty percent of Indians will support the West Indies. They bring joy in this format,” Jones told NDTV.