India captain Rohit Sharma said on Thursday that his team crumbled under pressure in a high-pressure match against England in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semifinal at the Adelaide Oval. He lamented the 10-wicket loss and the lacklustre bowling effort as India failed to take a single wicket while defending 169 runs.
India had a rough start to their innings after losing KL Rahul early on. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma attempted to form a partnership, but England’s tight bowling prevented them from scoring quickly. Hardik Pandya’s 33-ball 63 guided India to 168-6, but the total proved inadequate eventually.
Although it was the batting powerplay that saw India struggle as they hit just 38 runs in comparison to England’s 63, Rohit believed that India’s cluelessness when England openers Alex Hales (86*) and Jos Buttler (80*) made a mockery of the chase was the primary reason for their loss.
“It’s pretty disappointing how we turned up today. I thought we still batted pretty well at the back end to get to that score, but we were not good enough with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team can come and chase it down in 16 overs. With the ball we didn’t turn up today,” said the Indian captain at the post-match presentation.
India now know a thing or two about early exits at ICC tournaments and defeats in knockout games, having faced several of them in the last few years. While India fared better this year than the group stage exit in the previous edition of the T20 World Cup, their inability to perform well in high-pressure games such as these is now a pattern of concern.
Talking about the inability to handle pressure, Rohit said, “When it comes to knockout stages, it’s all about handling the pressure. Depends on the individual as well. You can’t teach anyone to handle pressure. When these guys play the playoffs in the IPL and all that, those are high-pressure games, and they’re able to handle it.”
Hales and Buttler delivered an authoritative performance, putting up an unbeaten 170-run stand that demolished whatever plans India had for their batting lineup. Earlier in the innings, it was Hales who blasted the Indian bowlers while Buttler played second fiddle. But, once England had a firm grasp on the contest, the English skipper joined the party in the second half of the innings.
Rohit dissected that performance saying, “The way we started with the ball was not ideal. We were a little nervy, but you have to give credit to the openers as well. They played really well. When Bhuvi bowled the first over it swung today, but not from the right areas.”
He added, “We wanted to keep it tight, not give room, because square of the wicket was an area we were aware of - that’s where the runs came today. If we keep it tight and the batsman still score runs, we’ll take it. But we didn’t do that today. In the game against Bangladesh it was tricky as well, but I thought we held our nerve that day, executed well.”