Well well well... what I feared most as an Indian fan has happened... India are out of the World Cup... and people back home are already getting their daggers ready! ;)
India played poorly. England played the better cricket and deserved to win the match. Should be case closed there itself. Ah ha... you thought so? No way.. this is India after all!
I never thought I'd find myself saying this, with me being the big fan and all, but I feel that it was Dhoni's tactical blunders that cost us the match. It was good to ring in a few changes from the last game. But dropping Irfan Pathan was not called for. He was bowling quite well and was doing a decent job with the bat also. Zaheer or Ishant could have been dropped. They have not been performing as well as the team wants them to.
I thought the bowlers did quite well to bring England down to 153. Pietersen and Bopara had gotten off to a handsome start and things were looking ominous for India. But Ravindra Jadeja had different plans and he removed both Pietersen and Bopara in an inspired spell of bowling.
Playing R.P. Singh was a good move and he did bowl really well. Why then didn't he bowl his full quota of 4 overs???? Ishant was getting clobbered all over the park, and he still bowled out!
The leg-side line from the bowlers was defensive and doesn't suit this team. This is a team that plays aggressive. Dhoni is an aggressive captain. When you see him ask his bowlers to bowl a line like that, you know he's not in the right frame of mind.
The Indian fielding was hideous. No dropped catches fortunately, but the ground fielding was just horrible! India needs to work on this urgently.
Predictably the English bowlers dished out the short stuff when the Indians came out to bat. Raina and Rohit Sharma found it extremely tough going and succumbed . Both players will have to work on their game(especially against quality bowling on fast/bouncy wickets) if they are to survive international cricket. Playing Ravindra Jadeja @ No 4 was preposterous. When I saw him walk in to the ground after Raina got out I was like "Oh NO!". I was hoping the guy would prove me wrong, but he didn't. Dhoni didn't read the game well here. It was obvious that the English bowlers were bowling short. The run rate required was rising and it would have been ideal to send Yuvraj or Yousuf out to bat. They would have handled the short stuff better and also the run rate. As things turned out Dhoni left things for a little too late.
Once the required rate reached 10-11, India was always going to be playing 'catch up'. Yuvraj got out to a brilliant piece of wicket-keeping and from then on it was England's game. Dhoni couldn't find any touch and couldn't get any boundaries(edges behind not being counted!). Yousuf and Dhoni did bring it close with some good running and good hitting (from Yousuf!). But England held sway and walked away with a victory that ended India's hopes of defending it's title.
I think more than anything the Indian players should take a good break. The team looked jaded. Probably one of the reasons for the insipid fielding performance throughout the tournament. Dhoni seems to have aged with all the pressure and non-stop cricket. He needs/deserves a good break.
I know many of you out there will be disappointed and generally be critical of this team. But this still is a very good team. I think we need to give the guys a chance and some time.