'I am disappointed because we should have chased 240 without any doubt. It wasn't a big total.'
Sachin Tendulkar led the cricketing fraternity in lauding the fighting spirit of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, but said the Indian batting can't always rely on the famed top-order to deliver the goods.
A visibly disappointed Tendulkar said Indian batsmen made a mountain out of a mole hill during their 240-run chase as they went down by 18 runs in Manchester on Wednesday.
"I am disappointed because we should have chased 240 without any doubt. It wasn't a big total. Yes, New Zealand got off to a dream start by picking those 3 wickets upfront," Tendulkar said.
"But I feel that we can't be all the time relying on Rohit (Sharma) to give a good start or Virat (Kohli) to come and make sure that a solid foundation is built. Players around them also will have to take more responsibility," the batting maestro told India Today.
After restricting New Zealand to a modest 239 for eight, the famed Indian top-order failed for the first time in the tournament as Virat Kohli and his men were all out for 221 in 49.3 overs.
In fact, at ont point of time, India were completely down and out of the game after Kiwi bowlers reduced them to 92 for six.
But then, Dhoni (50) and Jadeja (77) joined hands and stitched 116 runs for the seventh wicket to keep India in the contest.
"It's not fair all the time to expect Dhoni to come and finish the game. He has done it time and again," Tendulkar said.
He also lauded New Zealand's incisive bowling display and skipper Kane Williamson's tactical moves.
"There came a stage where New Zealand kept things simple. If you saw their fast bowlers, they didn't try too much upfront. They just bowled in the right areas, right channels and got those wickets," he said.
"I felt Kane Williamson's captaincy was incredible."
Former India middle-order batsman VVS Laxman said Dhoni and Jadeja were brilliant even though they couldn't finish the job.
"Congratulations to Kane Williamson and the @BLACKCAPS for making it to a second successive World Cup Finals. Ravindra Jadeja along with Dhoni fought brilliantly and got India so close but NZ were brilliant with the new ball and that was decisive," Laxman tweeted.
A heart-broken Harbhajan Singh wrote on Twitter: "Feeling heart broken for @BCCI. Congratulations to @BLACKCAPS. Well done @imjadeja."
Suresh Raina feels despite being knocked out, India won millions of hearts with their performance in the World Cup.
"Tough luck, boys. Well played. You've won hearts with your efforts throughout the tournament. Congratulations @BLACKCAPS," he wrote on his twitter handle.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar wrote: "India no less a champion side in my eyes. Won 7 lost 2. Last one narrowly. Well done India!"
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke was effusive in his praise for Williamson's captaincy.
"Congratulations absolutely brilliant win. Kane Williamson take a bow, outstanding captaincy. Bad luck to team India," he tweeted.
Ex-Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi tweeted: "Stunning result in Manchester!! I had predicted an England-India final but NZ have been brilliant, unbelievable effort to restrict this India batting for such low total. Great game for Jadeja, hard luck India."