Skipper Sehwag blames top order for Ahmedabad defeat

Stand-in skipper Sehwag blames top order for Ahmedabad ODI loss vs West Indies

Stand-in captain Virender Sehwag admitted that India's top-order needed to start firing after West Indies claimed a 16-run win in the third one-day international on Monday. West Indies kept the five-match ODI series alive with a morale-boosting win in Motera as India fell short in pursuit of 261. Openers Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir failed to get off the mark as they were dismissed by consecutive balls from Ravi Rampaul while local boy Parthiv Patel could only manage 39.

Poor run continues: Virender Sehwag walks back after his dismissal
at Motera on Monday. Pic/AFP

Rohit Sharma (95) was the only India batsman to score more than the wicketkeeper as Virat Kohli (20) and Suresh Raina (two) also failed. It was the third match in a row that the top three of Sehwag, Gambhir and Patel had failed to give the hosts a decent start and Sehwag felt they needed to step it up in the final two ODIs "The total was okay to chase but we lost a couple of early wickets with me and Gautam getting out back-to-back in the second over," he said.

"And after that, we did not have a good partnership in the top order. If we lose early wickets, it is difficult to chase. "We have to look at our top order. We have to click and fire. We have to give a good start as a team so that we can achieve any target or set any target for the West Indies in the coming games."

Runs drying up
He added: "It is not only Raina who is not scoring runs. It is myself, Parthiv and Gautam too. Only Rohit and Kohli are scoring. "We are top-order batsmen and it is our job to play well and give a good start. We need to look back at our batting performances. We are playing good cricket since sometime, but today we were not able to play well. We hope to do well and not let down our fans."

The West Indies lower order hammered 93 runs in the last seven overs to give their bowlers 260 to defend, but Sehwag believed that's not where the game was lost. "The last five overs did not make much of a difference as they have good hitters and we were expecting them to fire in the series," he said. "They batted well, we tried everything, slow, back of length good length, yorkers but they connected everything."

One-man show
Sehwag heaped praise on Rohit Sharma, who has scored 257 runs at an average of 128.50 in his three visits to the crease in the series. "Rohit is a talented player," Sehwag said. "He is performing very well. In fact he is the only one who is performing consistently. Hope he continues his form," he said.

"It is difficult to bat with tail-enders, but he knows what to do and how to rotate the strike and take runs. Rohit had good partnership with (Ravichandran) Ashwin. (Abhimanyu) Mithun and (Umesh) Yadav also played some good shots. We thought both would win the game but unfortunately we lost it."

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