Adelaide: Jos Buttler brought out the scoop against Hardik Pandya as the ball raced to behind the square.
Mohammed Shami was able to stop the ball well inside the ropes and he relayed it to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bhuvneshwar could not collect the throw as it sailed over his head. Chaos followed. Buttler and Alex Hales converted 2 runs into an all-run four. Shami looked in disbelief at Bhuvneshwar. Rohit Sharma shouted in dismay from the circle.
It was so symbolic of India’s lacklustre effort on Thursday in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final against England at the Adelaide Oval, which the Men in Blue lost by a stunning 10-wicket margin.
It may be recalled at this juncture that India had lost to Pakistan, who will face England at the MCG on coming Sunday, in the same margin in the last edition of the World Cup in the UAE.
Having posted a healthy 168 courtesy fifties by Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, India and their legions of fans would have expected a win or at least a close contest.
There was neither of them. Buttler and Hales reigned fire on India’s unsuspecting bowling attack and there was no place to hide for them. If you want to measure the dominance of England opening batters then sample this: until the 15th over they were able to find at least one boundary in every over.
There was also this talk about the long, straight boundary at the Adelaide Oval, and how the batters will target the square boundaries to get the big runs. However, England batters were not constrained by that factor as well.
In fact, Buttler, fittingly so by the England captain, closed out the match by hammering Mohammed Shami over long-on for a six. Hales and Buttler let out a massive roar as the Indians walked back to the hut in small, silent groups.
Their campaign is over. For them nothing is left in the World Cup except a painful look back. A harsh reminder that India failed to progress beyond the semifinal for the 4th time in the last 5 ICC World Cups.
A despondent Rohit knew that very well. “It's pretty disappointing how we turned up. I thought we still batted pretty well at the back end to get to that score, but we were not good enough with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team can come and chase it down in 16 overs. With the ball we didn't turn up today.
“When it comes to knockout stages, it's all about handling the pressure. Depends on the individual as well. You can't teach anyone to handle pressure.
“When these guys play the playoffs in the IPL and all that, those are high-pressure games, and they're able to handle it. The way we started with the ball was not ideal. We were a little nervous, but you have to give credit to the (England) openers as well. They played really well,” said Rohit.
For now, many of this group will board the flight to India from Melbourne and a few will travel to New Zealand.
Perhaps, we will not see this India bunch that competed in the T20 World Cup 2022 together ever again.
A World Cup in their hands would have been nice but all the stories do not have a perfect ending. Isn’t it!