The second semi final played between hosts Australia and India turned out to be a rather one sided affair. The hosts were dominant throughout the game and Indians never got going. It seemed that all the hardwork done by the Aussies was worth its weight in gold. As a consequence of the 95 run win over India, the Australians have stormed their way into the final, and are scheduled to play the rampant Kiwis. Before moving on to that game, we have some unfinished business from the second semi final. The game between Australia and India reflected the progress of both the sides, and was a learning curve for every player and viewer.
In this article, we analyze the factors, which we learnt from the second semi final.
1. Home teams shall continue to have a massive advantage:
A major reason for Australia’s win over the strong Indian side was the presence of the home advantage. Even though the crowd was mostly filled with Indian supporters, that hardly made a difference to Australians. The men in Yellow looked settled throughout the course of the game. The pitch was like a subcontinent wicket, but because of knowing the conditions so well, the Aussies negated that advantage which the Indians had. Michael Clarke’s handling of Josh Hazlewood reflected the knowledge which the Aussies had about their home conditions. Clarke gave Hazlewood a lengthy first spell. The reason was simple indeed. Clarke knew that the ball would seam and swing only for the first ten to twelve overs, and thus Hazlewood would be highly effective only during those overs. In return, Hazlewood was spectacular. He strangled the Indian openers big time, and that caused them to take many risks.
2. Importance of middle overs:
The passage of play between the 10th over to the 35th over, has a massive influence on the outcome of the game. In this passage, it is the duty of the top order batsmen to consolidate and set the base for a strong finish. While doing so, the batsmen need to milk the ones and twos, and ensure that strike rotation takes place. This is done so that the big hitters can get their juices flowing from the word go. The hosts were brilliant during the middle overs. Finch and Smith were excellent in the middle overs, and kept the run rate ticking. Both were triumphant in keeping the Indian bowlers at bay and laying the platform for a blistering finish. The Aussies scored 150 runs for the loss of just one wicket in their middle overs. On the other hand, the Indians, scored just 115 runs and lost 4 wickets. That just tells the entire story!
3. Batting depth matters:
The Indian captain later emphasized on this point in the post match ceremony. The Australians have the services of profusely talented individuals at their bay. As a result of having such services, they can always keep on accelerating and move ahead in a positive direction. For the Aussies, when Watson is dismissed, he is replaced by Maxwell. Maxwell then is replaced by Haddin. Haddin then is replaced by Faulkner who is then replaced by Mitchell Johnson! Since the Aussies have such an intimidating batting lineup for the death overs, they can always post a large total. The Indian batting lineup though stretches only till MS Dhoni. From no.7 onwards, the Indians lose their batting prowess. The Australian lower order individuals scored 106 runs from 72 balls. Their Indian counterparts could manage 94 from 107 balls. Not to forget, out of those 94 runs, 65 came from one individual! The depth in batting indeed matters a lot!
4. Jadeja is NOT an All Rounder:
The second semi final between India and Australia made it obvious that the term “all rounder” should not be associated with Ravindra Jadeja. Going by his performance against Australia, it wouldn’t be an offense to brand Jadeja as a “bits and pieces” player. An all rounder is expected to contribute well with the bat, and support the main batsmen with ease. With the ball, the all rounder should chip in with a couple of wickets, and if not that, then must atleast control the run flow. Jadeja, miserably failed in doing the two mentioned activities. Against his bowling, the Kangaroos got runs with sheer ease. With the bat, he was struggling to even time a shot, let alone play the big shots. Jadeja’s batting has often put excess burden on the other batsmen. On numerous occasions, he struggles to even clear the inner circle. Its high time, that the Indians brief him about his exact role.
5. Overdependence on Virat Kohli:
The overdependence of the Indian batsmen on Virat Kohli was bound to be on display someday. Unfortunately for the Indians, the second semi final was that ill fated occasion. The theory of overdependence on Virat Kohli, can be easily grasped through this stat. In successful chases, Virat Kohli averages a colossal 85.97 at a strike rate of 96.45. However, in unsuccessful chases, the Delhi star averages a mere 35 at a strike rate of 82.05. Such a contrast in successful and unsuccessful chases is enough to signify the overdependence on Virat Kohli. In the second semi final as well, as soon as Kohli got out, the Indians seemed to have lost all hope. Their body language reflected no signs of positivity. It is imperative of the other batsmen to also shoulder the responsibility.
The second semi final provided the players and the cricket viewers with a few lessons. As a whole, the Indian side has a bright future, but they certainly need to address a few issues big time.