Recently, the talk that India intentionally lost against England in the World Cup, 2019 came in the news again. This happened due to a statement in Ben Stokes’s new book ‘On Fire’. In his book, he mentioned that “there was little or no intent from Dhoni” in the match. Further, he described the partnership between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as “mystifying”.
This match was a knockout game for England. Thus, if they had lost Pakistan had a chance to qualify for the semis. Therefore, many former and current Pakistan cricketers are not happy with the performance of India in that match and think that India lost it deliberately.
What they said?
Former Pakistan pace bowler Waqar Younis tweeted after the match, “It’s not who you are.. What you do in life defines who you are. Me not bothered if Pakistan gets to the semis or not but one thing is for sure. Sportsmanship of few Champions got tested and they failed badly.”
Then recently Abdul Razzak when asked if there is any doubt that India lost this game deliberately, Razzaq said, “There is no doubt about this – we said this before and all cricketers are saying that – as I said, you can see this clearly; A player can hit a six but he is hitting a four or blocking the ball then that is easy to see”.
And recently, current Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez while talking to media said, ” Ask any cricket fan, everyone will say intent to play with spirit was not there. I don’t know about the results and who went out because of that. We played good cricket and we were out because of our small mistakes. So I can’t blame any result for that. But as a fan if I see the match, I did not see the match-winning intent. I felt bad for the sport. The encounter factor was missing where both teams were playing to win. The mistakes we made, we failed to tick a few boxes in the 2019 World Cup. But as a fan, that is my opinion about that game,” he added.
What happened really?
However, if we look at the performance of both the teams before this match, one can see India won the majority of their matches batting first in that tournament. And on the other side, England won only once out of four times while chasing the total before this match in the tournament. Therefore, it was important for England to win the toss and bat first and put a big total on the scoreboard.
Further, England put a respectable total on the board and rocked India early with the wicket of KL Rahul. Every cricketing fan knows, that India’s middle order was not proper. Therefore, Sharma and Kohli had to be calculative in their approach to not lose another wicket early.
Additionally, when MS Dhoni came to bat, 10 overs were left with only one recognized batsman to follow. Moreover, over 100 runs were required to win. Further, Dhoni was not in his best form during the tournament. Therefore, it was tough to chase that total.
Therefore, we can clearly conclude that India did not lose the match deliberately. It was the match situation which they were facing for the first time in the tournament, which was difficult for their middle-order batsmen.