Restrained in their criticism of the Indian cricket team, the usually aggressive Australian media was in celebratory mode as it focussed on lavishing praise on Michael Clarke’s men for ousting the World Cup defending champions with a comprehensive semifinal triumph.
Chasing a stiff target of 329, India were all out for 233 in 46.5 overs and the media here restricted its criticism to the the opportunities that the tourists failed to grab in the clash yesterday.
“If India were going to have any chance of chasing down Australia’s target, it was going to come down to one of Dhoni or Kohli to go the distance but neither managed to,” a report in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ said.
“There was hope for India for as long as MS Dhoni was still at the crease, but in the semi-final of the World Cup the Indian skipper simply gave up. Dhoni, possibly playing in his last ODI after his shock retirement from Test cricket recently, top-scored for India with 65 before being run out by Glenn Maxwell.
“It was a superb throw, but Dhoni seemed to retire halfway down the pitch. There was no dive, no last-ditch attempt to make his ground, he simply ran straight down the tunnel. And with him vanished India’s last sliver of hope,” the report said.
The report quoted former England captain Kevin Pietersen as having expressed surprise to Dhoni not even sliding his bat to reach to his crease.
“I don’t know what Dhoni was doing here—he could have made it. Absolutely he could have made it,” Pietersen said.
Another newspaper ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ also described Dhoni’s innings as “bizarre”.
“Any questions over whether Australia’s total of 7-328 would be enough were answered, although the nerves did not subside until Dhoni’s bizarre 65 was brought to an end. Dhoni mysteriously held back a final assault on the distant victory target and it was only then that he began to put the foot down, belting Shane Watson for two sixes in a row,” a report in the newspaper said.
“However, the India captain was run out brilliantly by Glenn Maxwell soon after and in keeping with the tone of his odd innings, Dhoni did not appear to put much effort into making his ground,” it said.
The Australian media also mentioned India’s below-par performance here in the Test series and tri-series and said they must be happy to finally leave for home.