‘Hard to explain their approach’: Ganguly slams blue shirts over ‘lack of intent’

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 30: Former India Cricketer Sourav Ganguly during the ICC Champions Trophy Warm-up match between India and Bangladesh at the Kia Oval on May 30, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Harry Trump - IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

A disappointed Sourav Ganguly pointed out two major reasons behind India’s first defeat in ICC World Cup 2019 at Birmingham, Edgbaston on Sunday. India were handed a 31-run loss by hosts England, who kept their semi-final hopes well and truly after the victory.

Opener Jonny Bairstow’s hundred (111 off 109 balls) set the platform and a cavalier 54-ball 79 by all-rounder Ben Stokes took England to an imposing 337 for 7 in 50 overs after batting first, neutralizing the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav with some heavy duty hitting.

The total proved to be good enough as Rohit Sharma’s (102) 25th ODI hundred and skipper Virat Kohli’s (66) fifth consecutive half-century could only take India to 306 for 5 as England captain Eoin Morgan rotated his bowlers effectively at the death.

Ganguly said India lost the match in two stages – the first 10 overs of their chase when Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma struggled to score quickly and the last 5 overs when Dhoni and Jadhav scored at a run-a-ball despite the asking rate being well over 13 runs per over.

“India lost the chase it in two phases… The first 10 overs and the final 5 overs,” Ganguly told the host broadcasters in the post-match discussion when asked to dissect India’s performance on Sunday.

“You cannot score just 28 runs in the first Powerplay when you are chasing a total like 338. Kohli and Rohit should have taken more risks at the top,” Ganguly said.

Chasing 338 for victory, India lost opener KL Rahul as early as the third over of the match. Then Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma decided to take time to adjust with the pace of the pitch before taking any chances. As a result, India scored only 28 runs in the first 10 overs – their slowest start in the World Cup so far.

Kohli and Rohit, however, made up for the slow start by accelerating in the middle. With their 138-run stand, the duo built a nice platform for India’s middle order to cash in. But like it has been happening many a time of late, India’s middle order failed to cash in after Rohit and Kohli’s dismissal.

Ganguly also pointed fingers and Dhoni and Jadhav’s approach towards the end of the chase. “It was hard to explain the approach of Dhoni and Jadhav, they were scoring at a run-a-ball when sixes and fours were needed,” Ganguly said.

When Hardik Pandya was dismissed in the 45th over, India needed 71 runs in the final 5 overs with 5 wickets in hand but all Dhoni and Jadhav could manage was 39 runs. They hit just 2 boundaries in the last 5 overs.

“England hit 13 sixes and India only 1. The wicket was flat, one side was the boundary was very short, so there should have been more power cricket from the Indian batters,” said Ganguly.

Even after the match, Ganguly told host broadcaster that the intent “especially in the first 10 and last 6 overs was lacking from the Indian duo of Dhoni and Jadhav”.