India vs Pakistan: Temper euphoria of win with caution | Cricket News – Times of India


Defeats hurt, but they are like well-wishers we must embrace. Reverses lead to introspection, changes and improvements. But victories can be red herrings. The happy hormones they release can make us draw the wrong conclusion, preventing an honest assessment of our real strengths and weaknesses.
Undeniably, India’s seesaw six-run victory over time-honoured rivals Pakistan is special.The Sunday triumph came despite losing the toss, and after batting first in conditions which were decidedly more bowler-friendly than what Pakistan faced two hours later.
The New York victory is also a tribute to the team’s fighting spirit and underlined, once again, that it is our bowlers who win us key games, even though the batters are the megabrands. But the triumph must be tempered.
This was a game riddled with slip-ups by both sides. India emerged the winner because their sub-standard batting performance and poor catching were compensated by their smart and sharp bowling.
Rishabh Pant was excellent as a wicketkeeper. But his 42, though brave and decisive, was delineated by risk and luck. Fortunately, India’s pace attack, notably Bumrah, bared Pakistan’s batting fragility and mediocrity. Their defeat suffered at the hands of the USA didn’t seem so shocking after all.
You cannot separate a country and its cricket.
India’s approach while batting hovered between the reckless and the thoughtless. On a pitch that nobody had a clue of to begin with, the hitters spent no time in sizing it up. Nobody bothered to tailor his game to the conditions. Sixes were attempted, singles forgotten. The top eight threw their bats as if trying to chase 219, not set up a target. What exactly was the score they had in mind?
Not one of India’s batters was undone by an unplayable delivery. All top batsmen got out trying to play an aggressive stroke in the air. The lone exception, Axar, was bowled when stepping out to smote Naseem Shah.
The initial offensive was understandable. But persisting with the same approach after the fall of five wickets betrayed either an absence of intelligence or an erroneous strategy or both.
Shivam Dube wasn’t the only batter who failed. But there’s a difference between failing and not looking like succeeding. Dube had earned his spurs and World Cup ticket clobbering spinners on batting paradises that IPL offers.
Selectors had preferred him to the reliable and proven Rinku Singh. In New York, he also dropped a sitter in the deep which almost undid India. One more point. Dube was often rested and replaced by an Impact Player and hadn’t fielded much in the IPL. Naturally, he didn’t bowl either.
Imagine having a specific rule in the world’s priciest cricket league which arrests or damages the growth of your players! All in the name of attracting more excitement and eyeballs.
Suryakumar Yadav again failed in a key game. His T20 scores against Pakistan are 11 (Dubai, T20 WC 2021), 18 (Dubai, Asia Cup 2022), 15 (Melbourne, T20 WC 2022), 7 (New York, T20 WC 2024). He looked out of sorts even in the ODI World Cup final in Ahmedabad last year. The 360-degree batter needs to raise his game in important games. So does Jadeja, whose batting has been scratchy and bowling defined by containment, not penetration.
To put things in perspective, Rohit Sharma and company must raise their game because sterner tests against stronger teams lie ahead. As Jack Reacher keeps telling us, “Details matter.”
Defeating Pakistan added two invaluable points to Team India’s kitty and gave an emotional high to many cricket lovers. But let’s not forget that the goal is to win the T20 World Cup.

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