The dream of a billion fans to see Virat Kohli's men lift the coveted ICC World Cup trophy this Sunday ended when New Zealand knocked India out of the tournament in the first semifinal of the 2019 World Cup.
The Men in Blue clearly dominated their opponents in the group stage, but the top order crumbling on the day of the semifinals against New Zealand proved to be the undoing of India's campaign at the tournament.
India kicked off their World Cup campaign on a high by winning the star-studded clashes versus South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their game against the Kiwis was washed out due to rain before the hosts England ended India's unbeaten streak in Birmingham. However, the two-time world champions bounced back in style by winning their remaining group stage encounters.
The team's middle order, which has been a matter of concern since the 2015 World Cup, proved to be the side's weak point once again. The top order and the bowlers did a commendable job to help India top the group standings but in the end, India could not lift the title.
Here's a report card which gives an insight on how the Indian stars fared at this mega-event.
Rohit Sharma - 9/10
Matches - 9, Innings - 9, Runs - 648, Average - 81.00, 100s- 5
Rohit Sharma did perform up to the mark in the IPL season which preceded the World Cup but, the Hitman proved why he is one of the best limited overs players in the world at the moment by slamming five centuries in the 2019 World Cup.
The right-handed batsman emerged as the match-winner for India in the games against Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Only one of his five hundreds went in vain which showcases his importance in the team. In the end, Sharma was just 26 runs shy from breaking Sachin Tendulkar's all-time record of scoring the most runs in a single World Cup.
Shikhar Dhawan - 8/10
Matches - 2, Innings - 2, Runs - 125, Average - 62.50, Highest Score - 117
Though Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament owing to an unfortunate injury, the left-handed opener managed to score a century out of the two games he played. Dhawan had a forgettable outing against South Africa in India's World Cup opener but was in his elements against Australia and led team India to a 300+ in the first innings.
Dhawan has an envious record at ICC tournaments and India dearly missed him in the big matches of this World Cup.
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Virat Kohli - 8/10
Matches - 9, Innings - 9, Runs - 443, Average - 55.38, 50s- 5
The fans had high expectations from the leading batsman in ODI cricket, Virat Kohli, heading into this World Cup. Although the Indian skipper batted with consistency in the tournament, he could not notch up single century. Kohli managed to register 5 half centuries at the mega-event, including a crucial one against Afghanistan.
As a captain, he did considerably well with respect to rotating the bowlers in this tournament. There were some interesting selection decisions but in the end, India managed to fare well in the tourney.
Vijay Shankar - 4/10
Matches - 3, Innings - 2, Runs - 58, Wickets - 2
The 'three-dimensional' all-rounder Vijay Shankar had a dream debut in the World Cup as he scalped a wicket on his very first delivery against Pakistan. Making his debut in the high profile match versus Pakistan, Shankar showed no nerves while replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the power-play overs.
He had a golden chance to cement the second all-rounder's slot in the team but his poor shot selection and medicore bowling saw him lose out on a spot. An untimely toe injury forced him out of the competition.
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KL Rahul - 7/10
Matches - 9, Innings - 9, Runs - 361, Average - 45.12, Highest Score - 111
Making a comeback into the Indian ODI team, KL Rahul impressed the fans by stepping up and taking the opener's role in Shikhar Dhawan's absence. The move proved to be a blessing in disguise as Rahul and Rohit combined to get India off to some great starts.
Rahul had a decent outing in the 2019 World Cup as the stylish right-handed batsman aggregated 361 runs at a fantastic average of 45.12. He even hit his first ever World Cup hundred versus Sri Lanka. It won't be understatement to say that KL Rahul emerged as one of the most versatile ODI players in this World Cup.
MS Dhoni - 6/10
Matches - 9, Innings - 8, Runs - 273, Average - 45.40, Dismissals - 10
India's legendary wicket-keeper batsman, MS Dhoni, who perhaps played his final ODI World Cup was not at his absolute best in this tournament. The Ranchi-born superstar struggled to clear the boundaries but, he always rebuilt the innings whenever the top order failed. Dhoni's best knock of this World Cup (56*) came against the West Indies in the group stage.
His glove-work behind the stumps received appreciation from all corners as his 7 catches and 3 stumpings provided good support to the Indian bowlers.
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Dinesh Karthik - 1/10
Matches - 3, Innings - 2, Runs - 14, Average - 7.00, Strike Rate - 41.17
The fact that England's tail-enders have better numbers in the batting department than India's middle order batsman, Dinesh Karthik in the 2019 World Cup shows how much the wicket-keeper struggled in English conditions. Karthik did not get a place in the playing XI during the initial matches. However, he soon earned a place in the team courtesy of Kedar Jadhav's poor form.
Yet, Karthik failed miserably in the 2 innings he played. The Tamil Nadu-based batsman had a golden opportunity to establish himself as a match-winner in the semifinal against New Zealand, but his 6(25) only added a lot more pressure on the batsmen lower down the order.
Rishabh Pant - 6/10
Matches - 4, Innings - 4, Runs - 116, Average - 29.00, Strike Rate - 89.23
Shikhar Dhawan's replacement in the World Cup squad, Rishabh Pant made his World Cup debut in the group match against England. Pant struggled to time the ball well in his maiden World Cup innings but, he essayed a good knock of 48 runs versus Bangladesh. The way he smashed three consecutive boundaries in the 40th over exhibited his talent.
Inspite of his good showing in the World Cup, Pant still needs a lot of gametime to grow with experience, a fact emphasised by the way he threw his wicket away in a crucial situation against New Zealand.
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Kedar Jadhav - 3/10
Matches - 6, Innings - 5, Runs - 80, Average - 40.00, Strike Rate - 80.81
Kedar Jadhav played a match-saving innings for the Men in Blue against Afghanistan but besides that, there was nothing the Maharashtra-born all-rounder could contribute to the team. He scored a fighting half-century versus the Afghans which helped India reach a respectable total. In the game against England, Jadhav's inability to up the run-rate saw his ouster from the team.
It was surprising that Virat Kohli did not make much use of his off-spin. Jadhav bowled only six overs in the six matches he played. Known to be a partnership breaker, Kedar could not deliver the goods for team India in the World Cup.
Ravindra Jadeja - 8/10
Matches - 2, Innings - 1, Runs - 77, Wickets - 2
Ravindra Jadeja waited for a long time to get into the Indian playing XI. He turned up as a substitute fielder in every match before the team management decided to include him in the match squad in the final group stage match. Jadeja impressed with his left-arm spin which helped him cement his place for the semifinal encounter.
In the semifinal clash, New Zealand's fast bowlers ran through the Indian batting order as half the side was back in the hut for just 71. However, Ravindra Jadeja valiant knock of 77 runs from just 59 balls, with four fours and four sixes silenced all his critics. Though the left-handed all-rounder could not guide Virat Kohli's men to the final, he established himself as a match-winner for the nation.
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Hardik Pandya - 8/10
Matches - 9, Innings - 9, Runs - 226, Wickets - 10
India's premier all-rounder, Hardik Pandya stood tall against every challenge that he faced. Pandya impressed with his aggressive batting style as well as accurate line and lengths with the ball in hand. The right-arm medium pacer exhausted his 10 overs quota in almost every game besides scoring runs at a magnanimous strike rate of 112.45.
Gifted with an ability to turn the screws with bat and ball, Pandya enjoyed a good tournament and all in all, the Baroda-born all-rounder provided the much-needed balance to the playing XI.
Jasprit Bumrah - 9/10
Matches - 9, Wickets - 18, Economy Rate - 4.41, Best Figures - 4/55
The world's best ODI bowler, Jasprit Bumrah rose to the occasion at the 2019 World Cup. The right-arm pacer scalped 18 wickets in the nine matches that India played. His immaculate line and length tested the skills of the best batting line-ups in the tournament. Bumrah finished with a splendid bowling average of 20.61, along with a miserly economy rate of 4.41.
Bumrah bowled a total of nine maiden overs all through the tournament, highlighting his efficiency against some of the best in the business.
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Yuzvendra Chahal - 7/10
Matches - 8, Wickets - 12, Economy Rate - 5.97, Best Figures - 4/51
Yuzvendra Chahal showcased why he is billed one of the best wrist spinners of world cricket with his consistency in the 2019 World Cup. Chahal scalped 12 wickets in the pace-friendly English conditions to finish as the third highest wicket-taker for India.
The Haryana-born spinner picked a 4-wicket haul on his World Cup debut against South Africa. Barring the games against England and New Zealand, Chahal performed well in most matches
Kuldeep Yadav - 4/10
Matches - 7, Wickets - 6, Economy Rate - 5.02, Best Figures - 2/32
Yuzvendra Chahal's spin partner Kuldeep Yadav did not have a World Cup campaign as good as Chahal. Kuldeep performed below-par in this tournament. The left-arm chinaman bowler picked up just 6 wickets in 7 matches of the 2019 World Cup.
Except the fixtures versus Pakistan and South Africa, Kuldeep failed to trouble the opposition batsmen. Perhaps, the dismal IPL season before the World Cup may have dipped his confidence levels but Virat Kohli would be extremely disappointed with the way Kuldeep played in this World Cup.
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 6/10
Matches - 6, Wickets - 10, Economy Rate - 5.20, Best Figures - 3/43
Preferred over Mohammad Shami in the playing XI, the Meerut-based right-arm pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave good support to Jasprit Bumrah. Kumar could not pick many wickets in the power-play overs but his death bowling was an improvement.
Though his numbers were good, they could have been much better if he could have scalped a couple of wickets in the first 10 overs. Bhuvneshwar even got injured in the middle of the tournament but since it was a minor injury, the fast bowler recovered in time for the final phase of the World Cup.
Mohammad Shami - 7/10
Matches - 4, Wickets - 14, Economy Rate - 5.48, Best Figures - 5/69
Mohammad Shami became only the second Indian bowler to pick a hat-trick when he guided India to a famous victory over Afghanistan in the group stage. Shami was the only Indian bowler to grab a five-wicket haul in this tournament. Though he picked wickets for the team, his poor execution in the death overs cost India the match against England.
Shami did not feature in the semifinal match but in the four matches that he played in the group stage, the right-arm pacer scalped 14 wickets.
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