Sport is cruel. It can rip your heart out in the middle of the night on a miscued shot, smashed stumps or missed penalties. And, when its a knockout match of a World event, tha pain can be unbearable. And, it is unbearable right now for a billion cricket fans as Team India bowed out of the 2019 World Cup with a heartbreaking 18-run loss against the BlackCaps.
Ravindra Jadeja [77 off 59 balls] played an innings of his life but in the end, it proved to be a bridge too far to cross. Like the 2017 Champions Trophy final, India's top-3 fell like a pack of cards against incisive seam bowling from Matt Henry [3-37] and Trent Boult [2-42]. Henry landed the first blow on the Indians when he nicked off Rohit Sharma for 1. Virat Kohli's underwhelming returns in the knockout games continued as the Indian captain was nailed LBW for 1. This was Kohli's third successive failure in a semi-final of the World Cup [His previous score in S/F read- 9 vs Pakistan, 2011 & 1 vs Australia, 2015].
KL Rahul  too went while awkwardly fending at Henry's delivery outside the off-stump and all of a sudden India were 5-3. Dinesh Karthik hung around for his 25-ball-6 before a brilliant one-handed catch by Jimmy Neesham ended his stay at the crease. India 4-24. Pant  and Pandya  stitched a crucial 47-run stand for the fifth before throwing away their wickets in an attempt to hit a big shot off Santner. At 6-92, an embarrassing defeat looked a striking possibility but 116-run stand between Jadeja and Dhoni  ensured that India kept their chances of pulling off an unlikely win.
That dream got shattered with Jadeja's dismissal in the 48th over and the final nail in the coffin was hammered by a bullseye throw from Martin Guptill which really summed up India's day. 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and now sadly 2019. When the pressure was ON, the Men in Blue faltered, AGAIN.