NEW DELHI: Gautam Gambhir‘s favourite team after India for the T20 World Cup was New Zealand, but the Blackcaps left him disappointed with their second-half show in the T20 World Cup final, which Australia won to claim their maiden world title in the shortest format.
The Kiwis did well to put a challenging 172/4 on the board, but the script went woefully wrong for Kane Williamson‘s men from thereon.
Australia won by eight wickets, thanks to dominating half-centuries by David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.
“My favourite side after India (for the T20 World Cup) was New Zealand. Seeing them bullied around like an apprentice wasn’t a pleasant experience,” the former India opener wrote in his column for The Times of India on Tuesday.
“They batted very well to score 172 for four. More often than not this kind of score isn’t that tough to defend, especially with a balanced attack like that of New Zealand. But clearly the occasion got to them as they didn’t look the same team that beat India or England in the semis.
“New Zealand is one team that prides itself on meticulous planning, clear role definitions, precise execution and all this without any fanfare…If I was a New Zealand supporter, I would have demanded a refund seeing my team all over the place in second half. It wasn’t a performance worthy of a final,” Gambhir analysed.
Australia reached the target with seven balls to spare, with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, batting at No. 3, scoring a 50-ball 77 not out. Warner, named ‘Player of the Tournament’, made 53 off 38 balls.
“While watching Australia beat New Zealand in the finals on Sunday, I was once again tapped on my shoulder by my grandpa’s assessment of great institutions…he once told me ‘good institutions produce individuals, great institutions produce culture.’ He made that remark regarding my school and its legacy,” the 2011 World Cup winner recalled.
“In this case, it was Australian cricket – robust, contextual, in your face and overall brilliant.”
Gambhir couldn’t make any head or tail out of the line of attack New Zealand bowlers chose to bowl to Marsh. He smashed 6 fours and 4 sixes in his blistering knock.
“It was hard to understand why they (New Zealand) bowled short and on a wrong line to Mitchell Marsh. He is a Western Australian, played most of his cricket at WACA, Perth. So playing a pull shot would have been the first thing he would have learnt,” said Gambhir, who was also a member of Indian team that won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007.
START EARLY TO COUNTER DEW, CHANGE THE BALL EVERY 10 OVERS
Dew and toss made a lot of news during the T20 World Cup, where winning the toss virtually meant winning the game. The late-evening dew made it difficult for bowlers, and captains invariably chose to bowl first after winning the toss.
“There were a few lessons to be learnt and challenges to be addressed,” Gambhir wrote.
“I think dew was a big concern. My two cents: go for an early start. There is no harm starting an hour early to what they were doing now. Players, broadcasters, fans – I don’t think anyone would complain.
“My second suggestion would be to have a mandatory ball-change after 10 overs in both the innings. These two changes may help in restoring balance in the contest.”
Gambhir also mentioned that ICC should take note of the performance by the associate nations.
“Another area of concern is lack of anything notable from the new teams. Those new ‘kids’ on the block didn’t seem a part at all. If I was ICC, I would be disturbed. I am all for the romance of amateurs playing professional sport, but then the real story is woven on the field, not off it.
“It definitely merits attention. Once again it is about the culture that the institution breeds and ICC needs to set that part in order,” Gambhir concluded.