Captain Bailey's 'most disappointing game'
George Bailey has called Australia's big defeat to India in the World T20 the "most disappointing game" of his captaincy tenure. Australia were bowled out for 86 chasing 160, and Bailey was particularly gutted at the way his batsmen folded, saying they had failed to deliver the improvement that was asked of them after two close defeats to Pakistan and West Indies.
"Unexpected. Disappointing. I'd go so far as to say it is the most disappointing game that I've led from this team for three years," Bailey said. "I'll give all credit to the Indian bowlers, they obviously bowled well. I certainly do not think our batters can hold their heads particularly high in terms of our shot selection, our match awareness, our game sense, all the stuff that we spoke about in the last game that we were not particularly happy with. We asked for improvement and we certainly did not have that."
When asked if there was embarrassment in addition to the disappointment, Bailey said the former was limited only to himself. "If I was embarrassed I'd say it is with my own performance. I'm disappointed with the team, with the way we batted but I have got pretty big faith in these guys and I'm not sticking up for them in terms of ... we all could've made better decisions and done things differently if we had our chance again but I am not embarrassed for anyone, apart from myself."
Australia were not faced with a particularly demanding asking-rate at the start of their chase but they tried too many shots and lost half their side before the halfway mark. Bailey said while Australia's overall approach in the format was to be aggressive, it did not translate to being reckless.
"If I am thinking back to our T20 form over the last 12 months or so, I reckon that is the first time we have scored under 170. So yep, we certainly want to be aggressive and we want to dictate the game but there does have to be a back-up plan. That is the responsibility of us in the middle order to understand where the game is at and you have got a perfect example in the other side from the way Yuvraj (Singh) managed that innings from where India were. I think runs-wise, at about the tenth-over mark, we were roughly the same. We had lost three or four more wickets. That probably sums up our mindset and the mistakes that we made."
Australia needed Bangladesh to defeat Pakistan in the afternoon game for them to stay alive in the tournament, but that wasn't to be. When asked if having been knocked out before the start of the India game meant a dip in motivation levels, Bailey admitted his players' minds may not have been entirely on the match, but refused to accept that as a reason for not performing well.
"I hope not. Certainly not. Clichéd, but any team you are playing for Australia, you would hate to think that people need extra motivation... that is not an excuse. We feel like we played a couple of good games of cricket but we have been on the losing side of them so for us tonight ... without being disrespectful to Bangladesh, it would have been a shock to us if Bangladesh had beaten Pakistan so we were not arriving here expecting miracles.
"There was enough for us to prove by playing India and playing well against a side who we think are going to be close to tournament favourites, and to win that game and prove that we are a really good side over here and we deserve to go better, but not to be."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo