India caught short by England in Twenty20 World Cup
In the end, few would have missed the irony. England, their feeble limited overs credentials torn apart after their opening defeat against Netherlands, knocking out holders India from the World Twenty20 with a brilliant execution of strategy.
India were pipped by three runs as England handed them their second defeat in the Super Eights on Sunday, eliminating them from the race for a semi-final berth.
West Indies, another team usually on the receiving end for their inconsistency, had caught the top order batsmen napping with short-pitched bowling to defeat India in their opening Super Eights fixture.
England proved they were quick learners with a near-perfect execution of a similar drill, leaving India struggling as they began chasing what appeared an achievable target of 154.
The hugely popular Indian team have turned villains overnight among fans and media back home. The Indian media has attacked skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led the team to an unexpected win in 2007, for shuffling the team for the crunch game, for his leadership and his subdued batting.
There had been worries the players would be fatigued after the month-long Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament. Explosive opener Virender Sehwag was then ruled out due to a shoulder injury and finally England bowlers perfectly executed their plans.
England are aiming for the unthinkable now, a semi-final spot if they can defeat West Indies on Monday.
Do India deserve heavy criticism or should we put their failure down to the unpredictable nature of cricket’s shortest format?
Picture of India’s Yusuf Pathan by Philip Brown