Middle-order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset: Akram on India''s World Cup final loss

Middle-order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset: Akram on India''s World Cup final loss

Mumbai, Nov 25 (PTI) Former Pakistani all-rounder Wasim Akram blamed the Indian middle-order for lack of intent, leading to the side's defeat in the World Cup final against Australia last Sunday in Ahmedabad.

Batting first, India posted a modest total of 240 in 50 overs. While skipper-cum-opener Rohit Sharma (47) and Virat Kohli (54) were a hit at the top order, KL Rahul (66) was the only success in the middle-order.

Analysing the situation, Akram felt that although pressure was on Rahul to play a composed innings, he also sensed that the middle-order batters could have approached the game with a 'do or die' mindset.

“I suppose the middle-order should have played with a ‘do or die’ mindset. I can understand what was going through Rahul’s mind, that there was no batting to come after (Ravindra) Jadeja and that he had to bat deep, and batting deep meant he couldn’t take risks of getting out,' he told Star Sports.

'If Hardik was in the team, he (Rahul) probably would've taken that risk. But, if he had taken a risk and gotten out in this situation, then people would have criticised him for that as well.' 'If they had kept pace and scored quickly in the middle overs, then it would have been a different ball game,' he added.

For the Men in Blue, Rohit finished the tournament as the second-highest run-scorer after Kohli, thanks to his attacking intent.

Meanwhile, Akram attested that the captain was right to move ahead with his attacking approach in the final, as it had given him success throughout the tournament.

“He’s played like that in the entire World Cup, that’s his game. Nobody complained throughout the World Cup with the starts he’s giving, or that he was constantly getting out in the 40s, and now that he’s done the same in the final, people are finding a reason to complain.' 'He’s also one of the best players of spin in the world, though he got out to (Glenn) Maxwell in that game, and credit to Maxwell and Cummins. But that’s the nature of Rohit’s game, and I don’t think he should change it,” he added.

While defending the total, the Indians could manage to hold only four Australian wickets with the pacers being the most effective ones on the Motera track.

Besides Jasprit Bumrah, who seized a couple of wickets, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj grabbed a wicket each.

During the Aussie chase, Shami was brought in during the powerplay, while Siraj was handed the duties only after the powerplay.

Akram felt bringing in Siraj ahead of Shami could have worked better, given his ability to bowl economical spells.

“I found Siraj to be bowling really well throughout the World Cup, though his wickets column may not suggest that. But the breakthroughs he gave in Asia Cup and his recent performances have established him as the future of Indian cricket,' he continued.

'In this match, they straightaway brought in Shami, and he did have impact on the game by getting (David) Warner out, though it was more like Warner got himself out by slashing at a wide ball.

'Another factor is that after losing the three wickets within the first 15 overs the due set in, which made it easier for batting as the ball wasn’t doing much after that,' said Akram.

'I’m not taking credit away from Australia’s batting, but it does psychologically affect the bowlers. I think in big games like the finals, teams should always stick to what they have been doing and what’s been working for them,” he concluded. PTI AYG KHSKHSKHS UNG

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