Heartbroken fans still proud of Virat Kohli led-Indian team after World Cup exit

Reuters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Jul 11, 2019, 01.03 PM(IST)

Virat Kohli walks back after losing his wicket in the World Cup semi-final. Photograph:( Reuters )

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While Virat Kohli's men had been favourites to go all the way at the World Cup, their exit did not spark a furious response for fans back home

Indian cricket fans were feeling pain rather than anger on Thursday as they tried to come to terms with their team's shocking World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

Cricket is like a religion in India, where players can enjoy godlike status when they win but see their effigies burnt and houses pelted with stones when they lose.

While Virat Kohli's men had been favourites to go all the way at the World Cup, their exit did not spark a furious response for fans back home who had been captivated by their run to the last four as the tournament's top team.

Their efforts lauded on social media, the team were also congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said he was proud of the way they played during their run at the World Cup, which also saw them wrest the world No. 1 ranking from England.

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"A disappointing result, but good to see #TeamIndia's fighting spirit till the very end," Modi tweeted after India's 18-run loss in Manchester. India batted, bowled, fielded well throughout the tournament, of which we are very proud. Wins and losses are a part of life. Best wishes to the team for their future endeavours."

In his post-match news conference, a glum captain Kohli said it was heart-breaking that his team had to exit the showpiece due to some ordinary cricket in a 45-minute spell.

That sentiment was mirrored by many back home too.

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Indian media and fans were also united in their praise for Ravindra Jadeja, whose all-round brilliance in just his second match of the tournament was not enough to lift India to Sunday's final at Lord's.