The unthinkable defeat from arch rivals
Pakistan beating India in a World Cup match is a thought we were never allowed to have. While Pakistan is a perfectly good team to do so, it’s just that we have always seen Pakistan crumble under pressure against India in world cups, and we just didn’t know how to react once India were on the receiving end. To be fair to India, it was those two overs from Shaheen Shah Afridi in the powerplay that took the match away from India, and eventually their World Cup campaign. Kohli and Pant did steady the ship to land their side a competitive total, but it just wasn’t enough with the amount of dew on offer. To make matters worse, Babar and Rizwan batted beautifully and hardly broke a sweat during their perfect chase. Not to mention the whole situation was blown out of proportion after the match and the pressure on Indian players increased manifold.
Serial Kiwis at it again
No team has hurt India in ICC tournaments as much as New Zealand has. Be it the semi finals of the 50 over World Cup in 2019, or the WTC final earlier this year. This T20 World Cup was no exception. Already under humongous pressure from the extraordinary defeat against Pakistan, India were up against the so-called dark horses of cricket. Skipper Kohli continued to defy the laws of probability with consecutive losses of toss, in conditions tailor made for chasing. Batting first, India put up probably one of their worst performances with the bat in the past few years in the T20 format. The batsmen were under an enormous amount of pressure, and it was clearly visible in their half hearted approach while playing aggressive shots. As a result, they could manage only 110 runs. With the ball, Bumrah looked sharp as he managed to take two wickets, but that’s all India managed that day. Cool headed Williamson guided his team to a comfortable win.
The consolation wins
With consecutive losses in the big games, the Indian team’s destiny was no longer in their own hands. What was in their hands was to win big against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia. They were dependent on Afghanistan to beat New Zealand, which unfortunately didn’t happen, and they were knocked out yet again due to New Zealand. However, they didn’t disappoint their fans and delivered to their potential. All of a sudden, Kohli started winning tosses, and India dominated both with the bat and ball. Rohit and Rahul scored the majority of runs in these three games. The vintage duo of Ashwin and Jadeja strangled the opposition in the middle overs, just like the old times. One could always argue that India brought up their A-game on the table against “relatively weaker” oppositions, and crumbled against top sides in crunch situations.
However, let’s not forget that these two losses doesn’t make India a lesser side by any means. Any team could have a couple of bad days, and India should just think that they had theirs at the worst possible time.
-- Jatin Shad