It was a heartbreaking moment for a billion plus Indians on Wednesday. Team India performed fantastically well throughout the ICC World Cup tournament, but in the semifinal, the top three of our batting order failed. Within a span of 45 minutes, the top and middle order fell like nine pins in the face of smart Kiwi bowling aided by a moving ball.
Ravindra Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni fought valiantly and raised hopes with a surprising comeback, and yet luck eluded them. A fantastic throw by Martin Guptill preceded Dhoni by a few centimetres and the ex-captain was run out. We can only say that it was bad luck for Dhoni, who stood like a rock with Jadeja, amidst the ruins. Jadeja mishit a slower ball and had to go.
The distance of a few centimetres is what mattered both for Dhoni and for Team India, which missed the World Cup final.
On the other hand, New Zealand, after a low score of 239, worked to a game plan. The team members knew that they had no big total to defend, and they planned to take the wickets of the top three - K L Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to trigger a collapse. They knew that they had a chance to win if the top three Indian batsmen were removed, and their bowlers worked well with the moving ball in the initial overs. Rishabh Pant tried to play well, but was out to a completely wrong shot.
Ultimately, the mantle fell on Jadeja and Dhoni, and the two kept India's hopes alive, until bad luck intervened. The team that played well with clockwork precision throughout the tournament, failed when it mattered the most. Team India had to ultimately pay a heavy price.
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