Sometimes a player says something and then it is blown out of proportion by the media or other members of the sports fraternity. This is exactly what happened about Ben Stokes when he wrote in his book that India’s intent in the World Cup 2019 match against England was something that surprised him. However, the Pakistan cricket fraternity took it in a different sense. According to the few former cricketers of Pakistan, India lost the match deliberately so that Pakistan doesn’t qualify for the next round.
First, it was Sikander Bakht who accused the Indian team to have lost the match deliberately. Now, former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has also echoed the sentiment. Talking to a prominent Pakistan news channel, the former international player said that he has no doubt that India lost the match deliberately to not allow Pakistan from qualifying.
For a person who can hit fours and sixes at will, he was blocking everything: Abdul Razzaq
“Ismein shaq ki baat hi koi nahi. Humne uss waqt hi bola tha. Saare log keh rahe hain, jitne cricketers hain sab keh rahe. Ek aadmi chakka maar sakta hai, chauka maar sakta hai lekin phir bhi woh rokh raha hai…Toh pata toh chal jaata hai na. (There is no doubt in this. I had told this at that time as well. In fact, everyone else opined the same. For a person who can hit fours and sixes at will, he was blocking everything…Hence, one tends to know)” Razzaq told ARY Sports, clearly pointing out at MS Dhoni, who played a knock of 42 runs from 31 balls in that match.
India was set a total of 338 to chase in that match. Even after a century from Rohit Sharma and a fifty from Virat Kohli, the team fell short of the target by 31 runs. But, India had five wickets left in hand and their intent in the last five overs was questioned by many experts. Had India won that match, England would have failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup. Instead, Pakistan would have been the frontrunners to qualify for the knockouts.
Recently, it was Ben Stokes whose book started the talk regarding that match once again. In his book, On Fire, the all-rounder said that the way Indians batted in that match was a bit strange for the English side.
Stokes had written, “Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. …there was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke. The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre.”
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