From being tipped as one of the heaviest title contenders of the fray before it started to being virtually eliminated after the two opening matches, India lived almost every emotion on the face of the planet in the span of just one week.
They started their campaign on an exceptionally sour note against Pakistan as a long-standing winning streak in the antiquity of the World Cup went for a toss in the most merciless and brutal fashion.
The two Indian openers were ripped open by the brutal pace of Shaheen Afridi that was followed by the big scalp of Suryakumar Yadav. Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli stitched together to take India to a respectable position. Sadly, once this partnership was broken, India never really looked like imposing a big total that would challenge the superiority of Pakistan on a bland pitch in the second innings with the introduction of dew.
Much to the astonishment of the Indian fans, the Indian bowlers were deemed redundant by the Pakistani openers as Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam won the match for Pakistan without losing a solitary scalp.
India’s next stand was New Zealand against whom they never won in the preceding T20 World Cups and the woeful legacy continued.
A weird experiment in the form of Ishan Kishan coming to the fore failed miserably as Trent Boult exploited the loophole of the wicketkeeping batsman who is also his teammate in the IPL.
Rohit and Rahul stayed in the middle for a while but the shackles imposed upon them by the Kiwi bowlers made them restless and both of them got ensnared in the trap set by the Kiwis.
From thereon, it was a vertiginous decline that saw India tumbling like a house of cards with no answer whatsoever against the brutality of the Kiwi bowling.
Despite Bumrah wringing out a couple of wickets and Varun Chakravarthy managing an economical spell, the other bowlers were absolutely clattered into all corners of the park. Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson stayed in the middle to comfortably put the Kiwis past the winning line.
Let us take a quick look at three mistakes made by the Indian cricket team that led to their decline in the T20 World Cup.
#1 Needless experimentation
The introduction of Ishan Kishan as an opener to actually disturb one of the finest opening pairs in the world made zero sense. The strategy that was deployed by Mumbai Indians was on the premise of the fact that they were already out of contention and they had nothing to lose. The fact, that Kohli resorted to a similar strategy in a must-win match was probably the most glaring error that one could ask for.
Coming to the technical fallacy of Kishan, he has an exceptionally high bat-lift and he tries to whack every ball as hard as he can. This makes him even more vulnerable against pace because every time someone manages to hurl a quicker delivery at him, he has no clue about what to do on those occasions. Also, the variety that this youngster has to offer is very limited given his knack of boundaries in almost every alternate delivery. Despite the warnings written on the walls where he was dropped twice in the practice game, Kohli chose to disrupt proceedings in an all-important match.
#2 Negative body-language
Body language plays a pivotal role in modern cricket as you need to be hungry to eke out results in the gruelling and shortest format of the sport. India never seemed like that they were in the games to win. They literally lollygagged with zero intentions of belligerence and more importantly, the team seemed to be infested with fatigue.
Though it is unsure whether the IPL needs to be held accountable for such a poor display in one of the biggest T20 tournaments, there were clear signs of Indian fielders not really throwing everything that they had in their repertoire. The way the Kiwi and the Pakistani batters ran between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking was not seen from the Indians and the quality of shots offered by the batters seemed like a half-hearted perfunctory swing of the blade.
#3 A rush to reach the ropes
For some weird reason, the Indian batters wanted to frequent the ropes with their colossal strikes and no one focused on running between the wickets by keeping the ball low. Despite seeing that the top order crumbled to some poor strokes those were gifts to the fielders on the ropes, the legacy of playing those unnecessary strokes continued.
Against the Blackcaps, it felt as if India had made a pact of perfectly finding the fielders in the deep as five of India’s seven wickets were by holing out to the boundary fielders. Despite the track slowing down, no Indian batter showed ample sense to take the ground route and rotate the strikes. All they wanted were glory shots and it came at a cost of a World Cup dream.