Moody: India were ‘very conservative and lacked intent’ in the first half of their innings

India did put up a decent total of 168 for 6 in their semi-final against England at Adelaide Oval after being put in to bat, but it was largely because of Hardik Pandya‘s 33-ball 63. At the halfway stage, they had only scored 62 for 2.

“I thought it was an innings of two halves. First half was a very conservative approach from India that lacked intent,” Tom Moody said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out programme. “We all know that Adelaide has short boundaries square and we could particularly see that in the back-end of the innings, how easy four were captured on the leg and the off side.

“And then, if it wasn’t for an absolute blinding innings from Hardik Pandya, India would have been probably 150, let alone high 160s.”

Openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma scored a run-a-ball 5 and a 28-ball 27 respectively, and while Virat Kohli hit 50, it took him 40 balls. Suryakumar Yadav, India’s man of the moment with the bat, failed, dismissed for a ten-ball 14. Between them, they hit ten fours and two sixes in the 83 balls they faced.

“You have to look in the first ten overs – the number of dot balls that were consumed, the lack of boundaries that were obtained, that may well be something that India will look back on and think they missed a trick,” Moody said.

He also pointed out that India did not target specific bowlers, allowing the likes of Liam Livingstone and Ben Stokes to get away with quiet overs.

“For Rohit Sharma, at the moment, it is lost. It nearly looked like he is going to break his shackles and burst through with a series of boundaries but it just didn’t happen for him”

Tom Moody

“The one observation that I made in that first 20 overs was that India did not particularly target any one bowler on the England side,” Moody said. “So they were relying all on coming home with a wet sail, which they did. But when it comes to strategising, you look at your opponents, you look at the various weaknesses, and you look at the various match-ups and think that this batsman [or] that batsman can target this bowler and that bowler. To me, they sat in the game too long. They didn’t target anyone to put England under pressure.

“The only time they [England] were under pressure was the last five overs. Otherwise they could get through their bowlers quite seamlessly and no one was really exposed. So, from a captaincy point of view, you’re sitting back and thinking ‘okay, it’s all falling into plan here; I’m getting an extra over of Livingstone here and I’ve got two overs out of Stokes here’, and it all sort of seemed a little bit too easy for the fielding side.”

Anil Kumble, also on the same programme, suggested that Kohli could have been more aggressive when England’s spinners were bowling.

Adil Rashid, you sort of give him the credit. He’s a proper legspinner. He’s tough, he was turning the ball and it was not easy. But England will be happy because we know that in the middle overs it would be Adil Rashid and more importantly Mark Wood, and Mark Wood didn’t play today,” Kumble said. “England would have been hoping for someone to step up and I don’t think they expected Livingstone to bowl those overs for those many.”

While Rashid returned 1 for 20 from his four overs, Livingstone gave away just 21 runs from his three.

“Yes, in that kind of a phase, you would expect someone like a Virat to step up and take the initiative,” Kumble said. “And it was only Surya, when he lasted those deliveries, and then Hardik came in and he took his time. So that phase, when the two spinners bowled, I would have expected a couple more boundaries or a little more intent to put pressure on Livingstone.”

Rohit’s struggles with the bat continued in this match, too, and despite hitting four fours in his innings, he finished with a strike rate of under 100.

“He seems like a number of leaders in this tournament at the top of the order that have had their struggles finding the rhythm to their game and the timing in their game,” Moody said. “We have seen it with Kane Williamson, we’ve seen it with Aaron Finch and Babar Azam. They are quality players, but just haven’t found their rhythm.

“For Rohit Sharma, at the moment, it is lost. It nearly looked like he is going to break his shackles and burst through with a series of boundaries but it just didn’t happen for him.”

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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