India’s World Cup campaign finally came to end on Thursday when co-hosts Australia delivered the knockout blow at SCG. Here are the 5 turning points of the second semi-final which ended the dream of an entire nation:
Toss: Toss is always crucial when it comes to knockout games. India with its batting firepower could have given Australia a run for their money had they won the toss, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Once Clarke won the toss, everything fell into place for the co-hosts who ran away with the game. A 300+ total was always going to be difficult in a high-pressure semi-final, and it turned out to be more than enough for India who fell short by 95 runs.Johnson cameo: Johnson did take a couple of wickets to torment India but it was his cameo towards the fag end of the Australian innings that actually propelled them to a formidable score. After a little collapse, Australia were placed at 279/6 but then came a Johnson special, 27 runs in 9 balls, and that was enough for Aussies to snatch the momentum back.
Poor DRS review: If Australia utilised the DRS to their advantage, the Indians did exactly the opposite with the technology. They simply wasted the DRS call available in the innings as Ravindra Jadeja stubbornly urged Dhoni to refer the Finch lbw appeal to the 3rd Umpire. The umpire turned down the appeal but Jadeja was convinced that it hit in line, and was going to crash into the stumps. Replays suggested otherwise, Finch survived and India wasted the review.
Dhawan dismissal: India did sense a victory after a good opening stand of 76 runs but once Shikhar Dhwan departed, India imploded. From 76/1 they were reduced to 108/4. Clearly the game’s momentum shifted to Australia from there on. Had Dhawan stayed on, he could have guided India to a victory. It was a soft and untimely dismissal that cost India hard in the end.
Rahane DRS call: Even after that, India had a chance to excel with Dhoni and Rahane well set, but an active Steve Smith stepped in and averted India’s late flourish. Rahane had nicked a Mitchell Starc delivery but nobody heard anything except the 25-year old Australian. He urged his captain to refer it to which he promptly agreed. The end result – Rahane walked back to pavillion and with him ended India’s hopes to reach the final.