As the dust settled down at the Narendra Modi Stadium here in Ahmedabad and the India cricket team and fans tried to come to terms with the six-wicket loss to Australia in the final of Cricket World Cup, coach Rahul Dravid emerged out of an inconsolable dressing room, to look back at the campaign which until Sunday had looked perfect.
“Just at the last step in the final we probably didn’t have our best game… I think we fell about 30-40 runs short. With 240, I think they were always one partnership away from getting there (to the target of 241),” said Dravid, who was also part of the 2003 World Cup as a player, when India last lost to Australia in a Cricket World Cup final. This time he is part of the team as a coach.
“We were rotating the strike, but weren’t able to hit those boundaries. And yeah, there was a conscious effort to take the game deep, but we kept losing wickets. We lost wickets just when we felt that we built a partnership and we can start going.”
India scored only 13 fours in the 50 overs in the final. In contrast, they hit 30 fours in 50 overs in the semi-final against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and 18 fours in only 30.3 overs the last time they played here at this venue, against Pakistan on October 14.
The boundary here is longer than Wankhede, and required more running between the wickets but the Australians, besides bottling up boundaries, didn’t allow Indians to convert ones into twos and kept picking wickets.
Asked by Patriot if Australia’s use of seven bowlers, especially for shorter spells impacted the batsmen, Dravid said, “I thought the way that they bowled was really good. They bowled straighter lines, used the slower ball well, used the larger, big size of the boundary really well. Didn’t let us get away with many boundaries in that middle period (India failed to get a boundary for 16 overs at one point). We’ve sort of been a team that’s been hitting a lot of boundaries in that period.”
The loss notwithstanding, the coach added that there are a lot of positives to look up to from the World Cup campaign.
“There’s disappointment. There’s more disappointment in our dressing room than anywhere else. But like I said, there’s a lot of positives to reflect on as well.”