Champions Trophy 2017 | Tactical analysis of India’s loss to Sri Lanka

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Champions Trophy 2017 | Tactical analysis of India’s loss to Sri Lanka

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Faizan Qadiri

06/09/2017

Sri Lanka produced an exceptional batting display to secure a seven-wicket win against India and keep their semi-final hopes alive. Even though they beat India convincingly, Sri Lanka’s bowling, much like India’s, left a lot to be desired as both teams conceded a combined 643 runs.

Shikhar Dhawan’s ability to play the short ball puts India in control

The Indian opener seems to be more comfortable in English conditions than anywhere else in the world, averaging an incredible 79 in the European country. In the first match, the Pakistani bowlers tried to keep the ball short and paid the price for it. However, they learnt their lesson and started going a little fuller as the game progressed. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, kept bowling short and on his leg stump throughout his innings and Dhawan was more than happy to just keep exploiting the leg side. When they tried to go on the off-side, the Indian star was comfortable in cutting them, in both behind and in front of the square on the off-side

 Dhawan against Pakistan (L) and Sri Lanka (R) © ICC

Sri Lanka lacked a proper plan against MS Dhoni

Sri Lanka came in with a set game plan for both Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. The Sri Lankans tried to snuff out both players, by bowling just outside the off-stump. Even if Yuvraj's dismissal had an element of luck attached to it, the Kohli wicket was the plan coming together perfectly. However, when it came to Dhoni, Sri Lanka seemed completely lost. Not only did they bowl without a plan, with every bowler trying something different when it came to the death overs, they struggled to find the yorkers and ended up bowling full-tosses that Dhoni was more than happy to put away comfortably. 

 Sri Lanka's plan against Yuvraj Singh (L) and Virat Kohli (R) © ICC
 MS Dhoni's pitch map against Sri Lanka © ICC

Jadeja’s off day creates a problem for Kohli

India's pacers are arguably the best in the current edition of the Champions Trophy as such Virat Kohli has opted to go with two all-rounders in the shape of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja. Even though the latter claimed just one wicket against Pakistan, he was instrumental in building up the pressure that reaped huge rewards for his side. Against Sri Lanka, however, it was his inability to curb the run flow that resulted in India's eventual demise. The major difference in both the performances was the length at which he bowled. While against Pakistan he bowled faster and shorter, against Sri Lanka he was fuller and it resulted in him conceding 52 runs in just six overs. 

Jadeja's pitch map against Pakistan © ICC
Jadeja's pitch map against Sri Lanka © ICC

Pandya’s inexperience costs India

If any bowler could leave the ground with his head held high, today, it had to be Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The 2017 IPL Purple cap winner bowled a brilliant first spell, not allowing any sort of space for the Sri Lankans to exploit. The remaining pacers, on the other hand, were atrocious. From being guilty of bowling too short, too full, or too wide, the pacers didn’t deliver as well. Pandya, in particular, was horrendous on the day, bowling short and waiting for the batsmen to make the mistake rather than taking initiative and attacking the batsman. Five of the six boundaries he conceded today were on shorter balls. Apart from the one difficult catch that Rohit dropped at long off, there was hardly anything positive in his bowling.

 © ICC

The second wicket partnership secures win for Sri Lanka

While the blame rests squarely at the feet of the Indian bowlers, it would be harsh not to credit the Sri Lankans for their monumental effort as they equalled their highest ever ODI chase. Even though they lost an early wicket, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka ensured that the run rate never went out of sight. Once they had settled in, the duo took a lead in the game and despite being failed to complete centuries, the 159-run partnership set up the game brilliantly for the middle order to capitalize and complete a convincing win over India.

 © Cricinfo

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