Bangalore, Dec 1: Why does Team India make things difficult for itself? In less than a week, we have witnessed two instances wherein India almost made it look very difficult to score the winning runs as they struggled to reach the target after being in a comfortable position, while they were successful once.
Though they have won a few after losing track, managing to play a super hero innings at the end, there are a few instances where India has lost having come so near to the target. That reminds us of the phrase, 'so near, yet so far' which aptly suits India's during run chases.
This generally happens during a low scoring match, which makes us think whether its done purposely or is it due to over confidence/complacency making them wait for the nth moment to score the runs, increasing the pressure of the cricketers' and people around the globe as the run rate increases and reaches double digits. Or can it be called lack of killer instinct?
There are two instances wherein the 3rd Test match saw India how it came close to a victory but could not win while the other ODI against Windies witnessed another thrilling finish as the Indians lost track after restricting the opponents to a score of 211/9. Though a low scoring match, it went on to the wire as the Indians won by a wicket off the last ball!
Can we call it carelessness or the batsmen got out after playing bat shots or the bowling was so good that Indians succumbed to pressure which led to the downfall?
India were 59/5 after 11.2 overs, with half the team back in the pavillion, chasing a target of 212, men in blue depended on one batsman. Does it mean, the so called 'famous' batting line-up fell for an inspired Windies attack?
Else, do players need motivation to chase a low scoring target since it doesn't pose a challenge or a tricky target wherein you need to score every ball.
There could be plenty of reasons for Indians to lose track in a low scoring match. If it is a day-night match, due factor might play a vital role, hampering the spinners' agenda as it becomes difficult for them to grip the ball.
Here are a few instances wherein the Indian cricket team has struggled to reach the target
in a low scoring game or otherwise. There are a few instances where India have come very close to the target and yet not able to register a win, chasing a small target.
In 2006, when India played West Indies at Kingston, Windies set a target of 199, where India lost by a run. Similarly, when India played Australia at Brisbane in 1992, India fell one run short of the target of 236 as Aussies went on to win the ODI.
Offlate, India has managed to squeeze a win by the same one-run margin. India edged past South Africa chasing 191 at Johannesburg last January while they repeated it again against the Proteas in February 2010 at Jaipur as they successfully chased 299.
India has also won against New Zealand by a one run margin as they bowled out New Zealand for 220 after setting a target of 222 at Wellington in 1990.
Another instance wherein the Indians have held their nerves to register another thrilling victory was in 1993 against Sri Lanka at Colombo where Lankan Lions were bundled for 211 after India set a target of 212.
Similarly in 1996, India registered a 2-run victory over SA after scoring 196 at Kolkata and another one against Zimbabwe wherein India clinched another thriller and won by 3 runs after scoring 281 at Adelaide in 2004. Though it isn't a low scoring match, its worth mentioning here as India managed to hold onto it as the match went on to the wire.
Talking about India's run chases, India have clinched the thrillers against New Zealand in 2003 where they successfully chased 200 runs and against West Indies recently at Cuttack in Nov 2011.
Though these are instances where India has registered one-run wins or thrilling finishes against a few nations, Indians have made it look very difficult even though they were in a comfortable position at one stage.
India has registered a tie thrice during a low scoring match in ODIs. 236 and 248 against Zimbabwe , 126 against West Indies. This also shows how many matches have gone to the last ball and also suggests that this could be due to over confidence and lack of killer instinct as stated above as the bowlers/batsmen wait for the opportunities till the end of the innings.
Now, the matches that could India could have won, eventually ended up losing it making it look very sensational. Indeed they were sensational and exciting but, its disappointing to be on the losing side. India registered a 2 run-loss against Windies in the year 1988, led by Ravi Shastri. India were ona mission to score 197 but fell short by 3 runs as Windies won.
While the recently concluded Test match also tells the same story, with 2 runs to get off the last ball, India managed to score only 1 run as they lost an opportunity to seal the series 3-0 and the match eventually ended in a draw.
All these show how Indians could make an easy match look very difficult making it a high intensity match.