Adelaide, Nov 10 (PTI): India skipper Rohit Sharma on Thursday said that his players crumbled under pressure in a high-stakes T20 World Cup semifinal against England.
He blamed their insipid bowling performance for the humiliating 10-wicket loss.
Defending 169, Indian bowlers cut a sorry figure as England openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler made a mockery of the chase, completing the task with four overs to spare.
“Pretty disappointed how it turned out today. We batted well at the back end to get that score. We were not up to the mark with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team can come and chase it down in 16 overs. With the ball we couldn’t turn up today,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation.
“When it comes to knockout stages, it’s all about handling the pressure. Depends on the individual as well. You can’t teach anyone to handle pressure. When these guys play the playoffs in the IPL and all that, those are high-pressure games, and they’re able to handle it.
“The way we started with the ball was not ideal. We were a little nervy.”
Hales and Buttler didn’t put a foot wrong and the India skipper praised the English openers for their flawless knock.
“You got to give credit to their openers, they played really well. I thought it swung a bit in the first over, but not from the right areas. We know the runs are scored square of the wicket, we were aware about it.
“When we won the first game, it showed a lot of character. The game against Bangladesh, it was a tricky one. I thought we held our nerve and kept executing our plans. Couldn’t do that today.”
England skipper Jos Buttler lauded the team for scripting a remarkable turnaround after the shocking loss to Ireland early in the tournament.
“The character we have shown since then (England’s loss against Ireland) – it has been amazing. We came here very excited, there was a very good feeling,” he said.
“Everyone from 1 to 11 – stood up today. We always want to start fast and aggressive. Rashid was batting at 11, that’s incredible to know that we have such depth.”
Buttler, who had the best view as Hales went hammer and tongs, praised his opening partner for his breathtaking knock.
“Hales used the dimensions well and he has shown his form. He was brilliant today. It’s important to enjoy this, it was a brilliant performance from us,” he said.
Chris Jordon did most of the damage, returning with 3 for 43 after coming into the semifinals as a replacement for an injured Mark Wood.
“We need to give special credit to Jordan, to bowl three overs at the death coming into the semi-final, it was a tough job. He handled the pressure towards the end pretty well, especially bowling against a world class player like Hardik Pandya,” Buttler said.
Hales, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, for his scintillating 47-ball knock, said it was a “special knock” and the “best night of his career” as he never expected to play in another World Cup.
“It will be right up there for sure (referring to a perfect innings). Huge occasion, India in a semifinal of a World Cup, really happy with the way I played and it is as special as it gets,” said Hales, who hit four boundaries and as many as seven sixes.
“This is one of the best grounds to bat in especially in the powerplay, a really good surface and great value for good cricket shots, this is a ground I have good memories of and enjoy batting here.”
Hales had joined the England team for this World Cup after a three-year exile following his failed recreational drug test in 2019.
“I never thought I would play in a World Cup again, so to get the chance is a very special feeling, in a country (Australia) that I love and spend a lot of time in, tonight is one of the best night’s of my career.”