Manchester, July 10: Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar led the cricketing fraternity in lauding the fighting spirit of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the ICC World Cup 2019 semi-final against New Zealand, but said the Indian batting can't always rely on the famed top-order to deliver the goods.
A visibly disappointed Tendulkar said Indian batsmen made a mountain out of a mole hill during their 240-run chase. India lost the match against New Zealand by 18 runs to crash out of the World Cup.
"I am disappointed because we should have chased 240 without any doubt. It wasn't a big total. Yes, New Zealand got off to a dream start by picking those 3 wickets upfront," Tendulkar said.
"But I feel that we can't be all the time relying on Rohit (Sharma) to give a good start or Virat (Kohli) to come and make sure that a solid foundation is built. Players around them also will have to take more responsibility," the batting maestro told 'India Today'.
After restricting New Zealand to a modest 239 for eight, the famed Indian top-order failed for the first time in the tournament as Virat Kohli and his men were all out for 221 in 49.3 overs. In fact, at ont point of time, India were completely down and out of the game after Kiwi bowlers reduced them to 92 for six. But then, Dhoni (50) and Jadeja (77) joined hands and stitched 116 runs for the seventh wicket to keep India in the contest.
"It's not fair all the time to expect Dhoni to come and finish the game. He has done it time and again," Tendulkar said. He also lauded New Zealand's incisive bowling display and skipper Kane Williamson's tactical moves.
"There came a stage where New Zealand kept things simple. If you saw their fast bowlers, they didn't try too much upfront. They just bowled in the right areas, right channels and got those wickets," he said.
"I felt Kane Williamson's captaincy was incredible." He also tweeted that he was heartbroken just like every Indian supporter.
"A good fight put up by @imjadeja & @msdhoni but @BLACKCAPS were exceptional today. Congrats to (New Zealand) on making it to the Finals & all the best for the same. I felt #KaneWilliamson's captaincy & composure played a crucial role in this result."
💔 just like every 🇮🇳 supporter.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 10, 2019
A good fight put up by @imjadeja & @msdhoni but @BLACKCAPS were exceptional today.
Congrats to 🇳🇿 on making it to the Finals & all the best for the same.
I felt #KaneWilliamson’s captaincy & composure played a crucial role in this result.#NZvIND pic.twitter.com/3sUlW21cgN
Having fallen to 5-3 just 19 deliveries into their reply, India's soft underbelly was exposed and neither Jadeja (77) nor Dhoni (50) could prevent the Black Caps returning to the World Cup final.
Jadeja was dismissed in the 48th over while attempting a big shot as the asking rate kept shooting up. Dhoni too succumbed in the next over when he tried taking a quick double to retain the strike but a direct hit from Martin Guptill found him short of the crease. Dhoni's departure put the final nail in India's coffin as their entire inning was folded for 221 in 49.3 overs.