Bowlers let India down, reckons Harbhajan Singh
London: Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Tuesday blamed the bowlers for India's dismal show in the Champions Trophy final cricket match against Pakistan at The Oval here.
Pakistan, despite their strength in the bowling department, posted a mammoth 338/4 after being asked to bat first by Virat Kohli-led India.
The bowling department of the men in blue displayed some lacklustre performances under the likes of pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Bhvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya. Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja also failed to click unison, and as a result the green brigade posted a challenging total.
In reply, India were bundled out for 158 in 31 overs with Pandya scoring 76.
"Our bowlers disappointed when it mattered the most. We didn't start too well to begin with. The crucial point of Sunday's final at The Oval came extremely early. It was the no-ball that Jasprit Bumrah bowled that saw Fakhar Zaman being caught behind by M.S. Dhoni," Harbhajan wrote in his column for International Cricket Council (ICC).
"The spinners didn't help by giving away too many runs, plus they didn't take any wickets," he added.
The 36-year-old off-spinner also emphasised on the team's poor fielding which helped the opposition easily score in the middle overs.
"Our fielding wasn't up to the mark as seen in previous matches. It was such kind of performance where we were hoping for a breakthrough rather than making things happen. The runs given in the middle overs were too much," Harbhajan said.
"They got their partnerships spot on. They were up for it right from the first ball and one had the feeling that they had saved their best for the final against us," he added.
Harbhajan mentioned Pandya's blitzkrieg 46-ball knock as the only positive thing on Sunday's match.
"Hardik Pandya's quick-fire 76 coming from just 46 balls was probably the only positive for India on Sunday. At 54 for five, he had all the freedom to go out all guns blazing and hit the ball hard. He took Shadab Khan head-on and scored those massive sixes to give us some ray of hope." Habhajan said.
With IANS inputs