Considering the manner in which India were absolutely marauded at Brisbane by England, their chance of progressing to the finals of the tri-series has all but evaporated. But, they still have an outside chance of making it, albeit a very slender one, thanks in main because Australia managed to overcome England at Hobart. While Australia have made it to the finals with three cracking wins from as many games, including a bonus point, England are also reasonably placed with five points from three games, thanks to the bonus point earned against India.
The table standing leaves India with all the work to do, and some massive one at that. They need to win both their remaining matches, and that too with a big margin to hope to outdo England and book their place in the finals. The remote possibility can only occur if their batsmen rise to the occasions and deliver. In both the games so far, their batsmen have been extremely disappointing. They began promisingly at Melbourne against Australia, but couldn’t finish off the good work, and against England at Brisbane they were completely outplayed and embarrassed in every sense.
If you look at India’s batting performance so far, only Rohit Sharma’s splendid hundred at Melbourne has stood out. The rest haven’t been able to match his feat. Ajinkya Rahane has got into double figures in both matches, but has failed to carry on. While Rahane has done superbly well in his Test career, his ODI performances haven’t been as impressive. He needs to get his act right since India will be depending on him in the World Cup. In case Rohit remains injured, Dhawan will get another chance at Sydney. India would be praying that he somehow finds a way to score runs.
The main reason why India have struggled in the two games so far is because their best batsman across formats, Virat Kohli, has got out in single figure scores. One cannot blame Kohli for he is human after all, and after tasting so much success in the Tests, he was due for a couple of low scores somewhere. The problem actually is that India are so heavily reliant on Kohli that they cannot afford him to fail at all. It is to Kohli’s credit that he has performed so consistently despite constantly being under pressure to score big runs.
India’s lower order also seems weak in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, who has the ability to hit the big strokes. There is Axar Patel, but he has found the going tough with the bat, falling for ducks in both matches. Suresh Raina has got a fifty in the tournament, but India need more from him considering his kind of experience. Not least of all, skipper MS Dhoni also hasn’t looked at his best with the bat. With the World Cup just around the corner, India cannot afford to have Dhoni the batsman out of form.
--By A Cricket Analyst