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regular-article-logo Sunday, 03 March 2024

World Cup final: Indian middle-order should have played with a do-or-die mindset, says Wasim Akram

Former Pakistan captain says Rohit was right in his aggressive approach with bat while opening the innings even though that cost him his wicket eventually

Our Bureau Mumbai Published 26.11.23, 08:34 AM
KL Rahul during the World Cup final against Australia in Ahmedabad last Sunday.

KL Rahul during the World Cup final against Australia in Ahmedabad last Sunday. PTI picture

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram thinks that the Indian middle order lacked intent in the World Cup final loss against Australia last Sunday in Ahmedabad.

Batting first, India posted a modest total of 240 in 50 overs. While skipper-cum-opener Rohit Sharma (47) and Virat Kohli (54) were a hit at the top order, KL Rahul (66) was the only success in the middle order. But Rahul’s runs didn’t come at quick rate, with his strike rate being only 61.68.

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Analysing the situation, Akram felt that although pressure was on Rahul to play a composed innings, he also sensed that the middle-order batters could have approached the game with a “do or die” mindset.

“I suppose the middle-order should have played with a do-or-die mindset. I can understand what was going through Rahul’s mind, that there was no batting to come after (Ravindra) Jadeja and that he had to bat deep, and batting deep meant he couldn’t take risks of getting out,” he told Star Sports.

“If Hardik (Pandya) was in the team, he (Rahul) probably would’ve taken that risk. But, if he had taken a risk and gotten out in that situation, then people would have criticised him for that as well.

“If they had kept pace and scored quickly in the middle overs, then it would have been a different ball game,” he added.

Rohit’s approach

Akram also opined that Rohit was right in his aggressive approach with the bat while opening the innings even though that cost him his wicket eventually.

“He’s played like that in the entire World Cup, that’s his game. Nobody complained throughout the World Cup with the starts he was giving, or that he was constantly getting out in the 40s, and now that he’s done the same in the final, people are finding a reason to complain.

“He’s also one of the best players of spin in the world, though he got out to (Glenn) Maxwell in that game, and credit to Maxwell and Cummins. But that’s the nature of Rohit’s game, and I don’t think he should change it,” he added.

Trick missed

While defending the total, the Indians could manage to claim only four Australian wickets with the pacers being the most effective ones on the Motera track. Besides Jasprit Bumrah, who seized a couple of wickets, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj grabbed a wicket each.

During the Aussie chase, Shami was brought in during the Powerplay, while Siraj was handed the duties only after the Powerplay. Akram felt bringing in Siraj ahead of Shami could have worked better, given his ability to bowl economical spells.

“I found Siraj to be bowling really well throughout the World Cup, though his wickets column may not suggest that. But the breakthroughs he gave in Asia Cup and his recent performances have established him as the future of Indian cricket,” he continued.

“In this match, they straightaway brought in Shami, and he did have impact on the game by getting (David) Warner out, though it was more like Warner got himself out by slashing at a wide ball.”

With inputs from PTI

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