Hope loses

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Hope loses

Monday, 20 November 2023 | Swarn Kumar Anand | New Delhi

Hope loses

India bows out of World Cup again Versus Australia

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, India’s fervent aspirations to rewrite history in the Cricket World Cup were cruelly dashed by the five-time champion Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Team India, despite a promising start, found themselves bulldozed by the cricketing prowess of the Aussies, leaving the hopes and dreams of 130 crore Indians shattered in the echoes of a painful defeat.

From the initial overs, the formidable Australian bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood, and Pat Cummins orchestrated a ruthless collapse in the Indian batting lineup. Despite the elegance displayed by opener Rohit Sharma, whose boundaries propelled the run rate to an impressive 8 in the first 10 overs, the Indian innings spiraled into despair.

The departure of opener Shubman Gill, courtesy of a questionable shot selection, set the stage for a tumultuous middle-order performance. Shreyas Iyer succumbed to the relentless aggression of the Australian attack, leaving the Indian batting line in disarray. Although Virat Kohli contributed with the bat, his innings lacked the dependability associated with the cricketing maestro.

KL Rahul adopted a cautious approach, facing a 107 balls to score just 67. The fragility of India’s batting, despite intermittent brilliance, was apparent on the scoreboard.

As India’s innings concluded at 240, a palpable sense of despondency hung in the air. The target, while not insurmountable, posed a formidable challenge for India to defend against the powerhouse Australian batting lineup. It felt as if India had conceded the match, with Australian players visibly exuding confidence as they walked onto the field to chase down the total.

Australia’s innings commenced with a blistering start, notching up 23 runs within the first two overs. However, the Indian bowlers displayed resilience. Mohammed Shami provided a breakthrough, dismissing David Warner in the second over, injecting a glimmer of hope into the Indian camp. Jasprit Bumrah followed suit by dismissing Mitchell Marsh in the fifth over and Steven Smith in the seventh over, a pivotal moment that seemed poised to turn the tide in India’s favour.

However, despite the early breakthroughs by the Indians, the Australians dominated the Indian bowling lineup until the very end of the match, leaving the Indian fielding unit lacking in its usual finesse and the hopes of Indian supporters hanging by a thread.

Despite dramatic fluctuations in fortune during the first 15 overs of its batting, Australia showcased their mettle in the tense battle. The hopes of a vast Indian audience were eventually crushed as Australia, with unwavering resilience and strategic brilliance, secured victory.

The final match had held deeper significance for Indian fans beyond the immediate battle on the field. It was a chance for redemption, an opportunity to avenge the heartbreak of the 2003 World Cup final loss to Australia. The wounds of that defeat had lingered for two decades, and as Team India seemed to capitulate to the resilient Aussies, the moment of redemption turned into a moment of despair.

At the onset of the match, the vibrant sea of blue, embodying the ardent Indian supporters, painted a tapestry of sheer euphoria. Flags waved triumphantly, chants reverberated through the air, and the stadium echoed with a celebration that transcended geographical boundaries. Each fallen wicket was met with a thunderous roar, shaking the very foundations of the arena, while every run scored by Australia elicited a polite applause, thinly veiling an undercurrent of unwavering confidence. However, the initial wave of euphoria soon proved to be misplaced as Travis Head (137 runs in 120 balls), backed by Marnus Labuschagne, showcased exceptional prowess against the Indian bowling attack, steering his team to a resounding victory.

In the end, the hopes of the  nation were shattered, and the dream of rewriting history came crashing down. The Australian juggernaut rolled on, leaving Indian cricket with a bitter taste of defeat in a match that will be etched in the annals of cricketing heartbreak.

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