The scars of the Australian summer came back to haunt India when it mattered most. Trounced by a superior Australian side in the World Cup semi-final by 95 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Team India’s weaknesses were thoroughly exposed. After the drubbing they faced in the preceding Test and One Day tri-series, however, the one question on everyone’s mind before the crucial semi-final versus Australia was whether Team India could snap the losing streak. Both Australia and India had grown rather accustomed to each other’s game over the course of four months. It was, however, Australia that capitalised on India’s weaknesses and made their way to the World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where they will face an in-form New Zealand side on Sunday.
Throughout the tournament, though, the Indian side looked unstoppable. Let the audience not forget that India had a fantastic tournament until the dreaded semi finals. The famed batting line up had clicked and India’s bowlers displayed tremendous levels of skill and discipline, until Australia came knocking. The question, coming into this tournament, was whether Team India had the fast bowlers to succeed in these conditions. Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma have collectively answered that in the affirmative, until the semi-final. Although India’s bowlers, led by Umesh Yadav, had pulled something back during the latter half of the Australian innings, the damage was already done.
The Indian bowling attack, yet again, fell apart in the face of Steve Smith’s belligerent batting performance of 105. Smith had tormented India with a century in every Test of the summer. Chasing down 329 against an in-form bowling line up, therefore, was always going to be a tough ask for the Indian batsmen. The opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma had set Team India off to a solid start.
The Australian bowlers, led by the return to form of strike bowler Mitchell Johnson, the ever consistent Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood, however, ripped past India’s top order. There was nothing much the Indian batsmen could do in the face of a consistent Australian bowling attack and the risks they took, unfortunately, did not pay off. There is no doubt that Australia were the better side on the day.