If the performance in the last two years or so had made India favourites to win the World Cup then their performance in the last couple of weeks have put a serious question mark over it. Virat Kohli & Co. were given a harsh reality check on Wednesday as Australia beat India by 35 runs to seal the series 3-2.
After failing to defend 358 runs in the last game, India had the chance to return the favour to the visitors. However, the hosts miserably failed in their pursuit of 272 and were all out for just 37. In fact at one stage, they were reeling at 137 for 6 before a 99-run stand between Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar revived the hopes. But both the players departed on consecutive deliveries and India were soon all out to lose their first ODI series at home since 2015.
Earlier in the match, Usman Khawaja continued his red-hot form and scored his second consecutive ton to guide Australia to a competitive total of 272 for 9.
The visitors suffered an inexplicable collapse in the end but did just enough to put up a winning total.
Speaking at the end of the game, skipper Virat Kohli did not count too much into the team’s performance and focussed on the upcoming World Cup. He said that the last three games were all about trying different players and combinations, thus hinting that the results would not quite affect the team’s morale ahead of the World Cup.
“Yeah we thought it was a gettable target. They got away from us a little bit at the end, and 15-20 more than we thought we were going to concede. Australia played with more passion, hunger and heart. They were braver in pressure situations, especially in the last 3 games, the way they handled the pressure, they really deserved to win. We didn’t consider the dew in this game, because we can’t control that. We have to live up to the potential we have as a side,” Virat Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.
“We should be good enough to bowl with a wet ball or bat on a slowish sluggish surface. It’s been a long season, and we can be proud of the cricket we have played over the last few months. Both teams played with equal intensity but the deserving side won in the end as I said before. We are more or less sorted with what we want to do. The guys just need to get their roles for the world cup. Just one spot in the side that needs some discussion. The last three games were all about giving the fringe guys some chances, but that’s not an excuse at all. You don’t need any motivation for the World Cup. All the sides will enjoy the tournament. Full stadiums. We just want to relive the big moments and do well in the World Cup,” he added.