India were eliminated from the semi-final’s race of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup after New Zealand defeated Afghanistan to book their spot in the last four on Sunday.
Men-in-Blue entered the tournament as one of the favourites but faced a historic 10-wicket beating against arch-rivals Pakistan, and then an eight-wicket loss against the Black Caps in their two opening contests.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli and Co had to win the rest of the matches by big margins to improve their Net Run Rate and wait for other teams’ results to turn in their favour too.
India managed to vanquish Afghanistan and Scotland but it proved to be a little too late as they could reach only 6 points at maximum while Pakistan and New Zealand were on 10 and 8 points, respectively.
They still have to play their last game against Namibia on Monday, which will not have any impact on the tournament.
A lot of things went wrong for the former World T20 Champions but here are five things that we believe hurt the Men-in-Blue.
Failing to score big batting first
The star-studded Indian batting line-up, which has the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, faced quality bowling in their games against Pakistan and New Zealand.
In both the contests, India suffered a top-order failure and only managed to score 151 and 110 in their games against the Men-in-Green and the Black Caps, respectively, derailing their campaign from the start.
Though in-form Rohit hit 47-ball 74 in India’s 210-2 against Afghanistan, they were already at the mercy of NRR and other teams.
“The toss gives a very undue advantage,” India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun said.
“And that’s the reason why — it’s a huge change between batting in the first innings and batting in the second innings. That shouldn’t be the case in a very short format like this.”
Dew played a big role in almost all the evening matches but going wicketless against Pakistan must have hurt the confidence of the side, who boasted an array of bowling talent including pace aces Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Meanwhile, the Indian bowlers could also manage to take only two wickets in their second game of the event against the Kiwis with Bumrah striking twice. Despite the two scalps, the chase was easy for the reigning Test Champions.
However, with Ravichandran Ashwin’s return to the side, the same bowling attack proved effective in Abu Dhabi when Afghanistan tried to chase the mammoth 211-run target.
Arun said dew was a factor, but “there are no excuses. We should have done better. We should have batted better. And also the first match we had a chance to defend our total. But we looked a little below par.”
India’s world cup squad had regrouped as a national side in the United Arab Emirates two days after the Indian Premier League concluded on October 15 in Dubai.
The tournament was supposed to provide insight and good tune-up ahead of the T20 event but it probably backfired when talk of bubble fatigue crept in.
Bumrah said “sometimes you need a break” after their loss to New Zealand. Coach Arun said a short break between the IPL and the World Cup would have been good for the fast bowlers.
“Being on the road for six months is a huge task…And I think that takes a huge toll,” he said. Social media was also abuzz with #banIPL hashtags after India’s crushing defeats.
Too many cooks?
Legendary wicket-keeper batter MS Dhoni was travelling with the team as a mentor for the marquee event to pitch in with his experience.
The move was welcomed by Kohli and the fans lapped it up after Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings lifting a fourth IPL trophy in Dubai.
Dhoni had also led India to the T20 World Cup title in the inaugural edition of the event in 2007 and then the ODI World Cup triumph in 2011.
But former India batsman Gautam Gambhir wanted explanations on the role of Dhoni sitting alongside the head coach (Ravi Shastri), the assistant coach, and the bowling coach.
Kohli announced that the T20 World Cup would be his last as captain in white-ball cricket. Many discussed India getting the title as a farewell gift for the prolific batter.
In 2017, he took over the captain’s role from Dhoni across all formats of the game and took India to new heights in Test and limited-over cricket but has never managed to win a world title.
According to Gambhir, the timing of the announcement could have made the team “unsettled and emotional”.
Whether it did or not, nobody can tell but ‘King Kohli’ will surely leave the T20 captaincy stage without a crown.