The first anniversary — April 2 — of India's World Cup triumph is drawing close but over the past few months, the team has returned home with empty hands! It is a legacy that does not sit easy with M.S. Dhoni's men. The story was no different out here in the Asia Cup.
A continental tournament in which India defeats both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is often expected to unveil the high table of big trophies but Bangladesh spoilt the expected party. The damage was done on the same day when Sachin Tendulkar kept his date with destiny.
R. Ashwin with five wickets and an economy rate of 5.20 largely emerged unscathed but the rest lost their bearings in the slog.
Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar, also bagged five each but they lacked sting during the batting Power Play and in the final overs. Until recently, the fallacy of poor bowling was often overlooked amidst the larger picture of inept batting in alien conditions.
However over the last week, Indian batting displayed a hearty appetite and a firing top and middle-order left players like Ashwin and the Pathans — Irfan and Yusuf — without a hit in the park.
Game-changer Virat Kohli (357 runs) showed the way but interestingly his immense shadow did not hide Rohit Sharma's obvious potential.
Rohit's 68 proved to be a crucial contribution against Pakistan. In a match that could have gone either way, Tendulkar's blitz and the poise of Kohli and Rohit helped India cope well with a steep chase and tide past the gaping void left by an indisposed Yuvraj Singh.
On warm sub-continental pitches, batting will be the least of India's worries but the lack of bowling fire-power, will hamper Dhoni though for now, he has to deal with a one-off Twenty20 game at Johannesburg and then shepherd Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
Keywords: Asia Cup