India farewells T20 World Cup with a convincing win

By Kersi Meher-Homji

There was both joy and sorrow in the Indian camp at Dubai this early morning. Joy because India defeated Namibia convincingly by 9 wickets with 28 balls remaining. Sorrow because India had earlier failed to reach the semi-final.

First the joy. With spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin capturing three wickets each Namibia could score only 8 for 132 in the allotted 20 overs.

Indian openers Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma started with bang and gusto, adding 86 runs for the first wicket. Rohit scored 56 with 7 fours and 2 sixes and Rahul blasted 4 fours and 2 sixes in his unbeaten 54. Jadeja was made Player of the Match for his economical and effective bowling.

It was a big victory by 9 wickets but rather meaningless as Virat Kohli’s men will return home without the World Cup. I would describe the last game for India as a consolation win.

There were two farewells among Indians. This was the last match for Kohli as India’s captain in T20 International cricket. It was also Ravi Shastri’s last match as India’s coach.

Shastri appeared emotional when interviewed by Harsha Bhogle. The tall, serious-faced Shastri described the Indian cricket team as “one of the great cricket teams in the history of the game.” He had coached India for four and half years.

On India’s elimination from the current T20 World Cup Shastri said, “We are disappointed with the result in the first two games here. I’m not here to make any sort of excuses. We lacked the daring in the second game against New Zealand. I know the toss was important and as you’ve seen in the last three games how important it is, and I do feel it’ll continue to be important ”“ though not as much now as the weather has cooled down a bit, but still.

“It’s something for the boys to learn and they’ll get an opportunity again next year. It’s not often you have [two] World Cups in 12 months, so hopefully, they’ll go and kick some butt there.

“The cricket itinerary is so packed that you can do only one thing at a time. At least they played some T20 cricket in the IPL. I just wish that the gap was a little more. That’s not my job, it was already done. That’s something I’m sure the administrators, not just from India [or] from BCCI, but from others around the globe who will also be looking at it before big tournaments, to ensure that there is a little bit of a gap so that the guys are mentally fresh and ready to play.”

England meets New Zealand in the first semi-final on Thursday morning (1.00 am) Sydney time. The next early morning Australia will take on Pakistan. The FINAL will be held on the 15th.

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