The pressure was just too much for India in the end. It put a spirited defence of its World Cup title but chasing more than 300 to beat Australia in Thursday’s semi-final was a task even beyond it
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India’s inspiring captain who led his country to an unforgettable World Cup win four years ago, led his team from the front again.
He top scored for his team with a run-a-ball 65 but it was all in vain as the Indians collapsed to be all out for 233 in the 47th over, chasing Australia’s daunting 7 for 328.
They (Australia) played very good cricket, over 300 is always a difficult score,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
“I felt it was just over par, they could have had 350.”
India got off to a good start in the reply at the Sydney Cricket Ground with the openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan putting on 76 in the first 13 overs but when Dhawan fell for 45, the wickets started to tumble.
“We started okay but they bowled well. But overall, quite happy with where we were at the start of the tournament,” Dhoni said.
“Shikhar’s dismissal was on the softer side because that was the time when we could have milked the Australian bowling.
“It was not really needed to play a big shot but overall there’s pressure chasing 320 runs and pressure makes you do things you don’t want to.”
Dhoni quit his job as India’s Test captain during the series against Australia but said he had no plans of quitting the limited-overs team in the immediate future.
He said he was undecided about playing on to the 2019 World Cup but had his eyes on next year’s Twenty20 World Cup being hosted by India.
“I’m 33, I’m still running, still fit. Next year, T20 World Cup, will be time to decide about 2019.”