World T20: India undone by Ashwin, Pandya no-balls

What if Ajinkya Rahane had kicked off a little earlier? What if R Ashwin and Hardik Pandya had not overstepped to give Lendl Simmons, the Man of the Match, two lives? What if Ravindra Jadeja's foot hadn't grazed the boundary line as he caught a tough catch and parried it over to Virat Kohli? Why didn't MS Dhoni bowl Ashwin for more than two overs? Why didn't he continue with Kohli the bowler, after he removed Johnson Charles for 52 in an over that contained just four runs?

It would be cruel to play out a Match Ka Mujrim ('Criminal of the Match') type crass analysis as one Hindi news channel used to do several years ago, but questions will be asked, theories will abound, critics will harp and Twitter will buzz with a clash of anger and resentment. You cannot give a batsman hell-bent on winning a game on his own two lives, that too off front foot no-balls. You cannot bowl full tosses, beamers and half-trackers on a surface as friendly to batsmen as the Wankhede is.

India were let down by Jadeja, whose four overs cost 48; by Pandya, who bowled a big front-foot no ball and conceded 43 in his four; and by Ashwin, who gave Simmons that first reprieve. When a spinner oversteps it becomes tougher to digest, considering the slowness with which he comes to the crease.

Pandya, who many still feel was lucky to escape in Bangalore last week when Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah fell of successive deliveries when Bangladesh needed three runs in three balls, bowled too many short and short-of-length deliveries on Thursday to West Indies' trigger-happy batsmen. First Charles and then Andre Russell smote him into the stands with glee. The free hit that followed Pandya's no-ball to Simmons disappeared into the stands, and was the shot that really snapped India's spirit. The 22-year-old has a lot to learn about bowling at the international level, as a T20I economy rate of 8.08 suggests.

As he later admitted, Dhoni felt India were good except for the times Ashwin and Pandya overstepped to give Simmons lives on 18 and 50.

"The only thing I'm disappointed about are the two no-balls. Other than that we tried our best and even if the conditions were not in favour of the spinners, whatever resources we had we tried our best in the game," he said. "Frankly, you have to take into account that nobody wants to bowl a no-ball but it is just that on tracks like these when it is so difficult. If you bowl a no-ball and get a wicket off that no-ball then there is no one else to blame because also one of the catches was brilliant that was taken off the no-ball. What it does is that it gives you a free-hit and the batsmen gets a chance to get into some kind of a momentum. So I feel that the point at which the no-balls were bowled were quite crucial."

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