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Middle order batsman failed, causing India's collapse, says coach

July 14, 2019

Ravi Shastri, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, has said that the lack of a strong middle order batsman was one of the major reasons why India lost at the crucial semi-final match of the ICC World Cup 2019. India, regarded as one of the favourites to win the cup, were knocked out after losing to New Zealand by 18 runs in the first semi-final on Wednesday.

India's middle-order failed to cope with the pressure after Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli got out inside the first three overs, failing to chase down 240 for victory.

Speaking to the Indian Express, Shastri said:

We did need a solid batsman out there in the middle order. But now, that's something for the future. That's a position that was always giving us problems, but we just couldn't nail it. (K L) Rahul was there but then Shikhar Dhawan got injured. Then Vijay Shankar was there, and he got injured. We just couldn't control it. - Ravi Shastri, India cricket coach

India tried three different batsmen at that crucial position during the course of the cup. KL Rahul was initially picked at the start of the tournament but had to shift to opening position after Shikhar Dhawan got injured. Vijay Shankar was then slotted in to bat at No. 4 but his injury led to Rishabh Pant's entry.

Shastri said he was not disappointed by India's performance. "One tournament, one series - and that, too, 30 minutes of play can't decide that. You guys have earned that respect. Of course, we are all hurt and disappointed but, in the end, be proud of what you have done for the last two years".

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, who broke the record for most centuries in a single edition of the World Cup, commented on the loss on Twitter. "We failed to deliver as a team when it mattered, 30 minutes of poor cricket yesterday and that snatched away our chance for the cup. My heart is heavy as I'm sure yours is too. The support away from home was incredible. Thank you all for painting most of UK blue wherever we played".

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