KL Rahul did not play with a do-or-die mindset as he did not want to expose India’s tail-enders, which is probably one of the biggest reasons for the hosts’ World Cup final defeat, feels Pakistan legend Wasim Akram. Batting first, India posted a modest total of 240 in 50 overs and Rahul scored a painstaking 66 off 107 balls with a solitary boundary to his credit. “If I have to pick a particular reason, I suppose the middle order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset,” he told Star Sports.
“I can understand what was going through Rahul’s mind that there was no batting to come after Jadeja and he had to bat deep and batting deep meant he couldn’t take the risk of getting out, Akram added.
The final was possibly one game as the team missed all-rounder Hardik Pandya more than ever as he provides the balance in the middle order with his power-hitting.
“If possibly Hardik was in the team, he (Rahul) probably would have taken that risk. But if he had taken a risk and come into this situation, then people would have criticized him for that too,” said the ‘Sultan of Swing’ explained.
Not scoring quickly enough between overs 20 to 40 was definitely India’s downfall.
“If they had kept pace and scored quickly in the middle overs, it would have been a different ball game.” For the ‘Men in Blue’, Rohit finished the tournament as the second highest run scorer after Virat Kohli, thanks to his attacking intent.
Meanwhile, Akram felt captain Rohit Sharma was right to go ahead with his attacking approach in the final as it was what had given him success throughout the tournament.
“He’s been playing like that throughout the World Cup, that’s his game. No one complained throughout the World Cup about the starts he gives or that he’s constantly getting out in the 40s, and now that he’s done the same in the final, people finds a reason to complain.” “And he’s also one of the best spin players in the world, although he got out to Maxwell in that game, and credit to Maxwell and Cummins. But that’s the nature of Rohit’s game and I don’t think he should change that,” he added.
While defending the total, the Indians could manage to hold just four Australian wickets with the pacers being the most effective on the Motera pitch.
Apart from Jasprit Bumrah who grabbed a couple of wickets, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj grabbed a wicket each.
Also during the Aussie chase, Shami was brought in during the powerplay, while Siraj was handed over the duties only after the powerplay.
Similarly, Akram feels that bringing Siraj ahead of Shami could have worked better, given his ability to play economical spells.
“I thought Siraj bowled really well throughout the World Cup, although his wickets column might not suggest it. But the breakthroughs he made in the Asia Cup and his recent performances have established him as the future of Indian cricket,” he continued .
Like many others, Akram also did not support Rohit introducing Shami with new ball after the bowler had such success as one change throughout the tournament.
“In this match they brought Shami straight away and he had an impact on the game straight away by getting Warner out, although it was more like Warner got himself out by chopping a wide ball.” “Another factor is that after losing the three wickets in the first 15 overs, the dew set in which made it easier to bat as the ball didn’t do much after that.” Akram maintained that he did not want to take credit from centurion Travis Head or Marnus Labuschagne.
“I’m not taking credit from Australia’s batting, but it affects the bowlers psychologically. I think in big games like the finals, teams always have to stick to what they’ve done and what’s worked for them,” he concluded .
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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