What Men in blue can learn from Boys in blue

Indian senior teams, over the years, have been known to freeze in big games of major tournaments, unable to recover from early setbacks. But the colts showed how to withstand pressure

Weathering early storm

Batting first in the semifinal against Australia, India found themselves at 37 for 2 with a run rate below three runs an over. Openers Angkrish Raghuvanshi and Harnoor Singh, who had been prolific earlier in the tournament, were dismissed. In this situation, skipper Yash Dhull and Shaik Rasheed repaired the situation, and put on a big partnership, as India reached 289.

The Indian Senior team had to face a similar situation in their first match of last year’s T20 World Cup against Pakistan when Rohit Sharma was out for a duck, and the team wasn’t able to bounce back.

Pacers set the tone

Ravi Kumar and Raj Bawa have no first-class experience, but showed composure and game sense. The teenagers could have been too pumped up going into the final against England and lost composure. But the boys stuck to their plan, bowled in the right areas and ran through the England top order. Bawa finished with five wickets while Kumar took four as the opponents were dismissed for 189.

In the 2003 World Cup final against Australia, Indian fast bowlers Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath and Ashish Nehra tried to surprise Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist with pace. But Australia counter-attacked and finished with India 359/2 in 50 overs.

Useful lower order

In Saturday’s final, India lost four wickets with almost half the runs still to get. But the team had several all-rounders down the order. India were 97 for 4 needing more 92. This is where Nishant Sindhu and Raj Bawa didn’t lose the plot, showing a calm head and game sense in a big match.

In the 2019 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand, the Indian team lost early wickets and couldn’t recover despite MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja scoring half-centuries.

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