Dubai: There were high expectations in the contest between India and West Indies, which fizzled out into a no-contest. There were no turning points in the match, none on the field and none in the manner in which the Caribbeans have approached their game.
After breezing past Pakistan in the opener, one expected the West Indians to make this their World Cup, regaining the past glory that they lost in England 36 years ago. It’s the first meeting between West Indies and India in England since the World Cup final in 1983. Against this backdrop, the West Indians, loaded with globe-trotting stars in the shorter formats of the game, were expected to give unbeaten Indian team a stiff fight.
But that was not to be. There’s no turn around in their approach to chasing the target, no turn around to their act of building partnerships, no turn around in curbing their aggressive instincts and accumulate runs … They have flattered to deceive once again.
With so many match-winners in their ranks, the West Indian fans were hoping against hope that the Calypso would produce a sweet music that will redeem the lost Caribbean pride. After a meek surrender, losing by 125 runs, they must be feeling a big let-down.
One incident that could have made some difference is when Mahendra Singh Dhoni had two lives in one delivery. It was a comedy of errors when Shai Hope missed the stumping chance in the first attempt and again missed it in the second attempt when the batsman was more than a foot outside the crease.
After a thumping defeat, I think that incident at best would have been a small swerve, not a turning point for West Indies. It only shows that mentally they are not up to it.
Even from India’s angle, there were no turning points. They are keeping a straight ascending path in the performance graph as the Men in Blue keep getting better and better. When India were four down for 140 similar scenes of the Afghanistan match came into the picture.
Once again, not showing any sense of nerves, Virat Kohli, Dhoni and Hardik Pandya took the team to a challenging score. One should also remember that Indian team possess one of the best bowling combinations, a mean, lethal attack that can test the best, and they proved it once again defending a score under 300.
Dhoni, whose every innings is put under the microscope for though investigation by his detractors, showed how important it is not to throw away the wicket and with a calculated assault reached another 50 in his career.
With the middle-order batsmen scoring some runs, it would have given Kohli some solace, but it remains to be seen if the Indian team management will persist with Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav in the coming matches as they are not been given enough overs to justify their selection as all-rounders.
With 11 points India are almost assured of a place in the last four, but given the current mental state of the players, I don’t think they would ease their menacing run towards the trophy.