When India entered the T20 World Cup 2016, they were overwhelming favourites coming with series of win prior to the tournament. It started off with Australia tour, with all round performance from every department be it batting, bowling or work on the field. A similar pattern was followed against Sri Lanka at home, though the opponent did give tough competition throughout the series. The Asia Cup T20 2016 was pen-ultimatum before starting off the World T20 campaign. India won all the games with ease and earned the final spot. With the way India was moving forward, veterans from cricket fraternity predicted India to be top notch in T20 World Cup for this year.
When they started off with warm-up games, India went past West Indies and South Africa, claiming they have all the abilities to reach the finish line. But who knew the opening outing would turn to be a nightmare for the much favourite team. The Kiwis left no stone unturned with the spinners ripping apart Indian batsmen.
There are possibilities of top teams tumbling in highest events, but still the format did not seem to improve in every passing game. India seemed to get dependent on their top batsman Virat Kohli and the game finisher MS Dhoni. The opening pair, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who felt could replicate Sourav Ganguly-Sachin Tendulkar, failed to perform and carry forwarded the responsibilities on their No.3 batsman Kohli that became a ritual in almost every outing.
Rohit and Shikhar, who were at their prime form in T20I series against Australia, Sri Lanka and Asia Cup, failed to show their skills in the main show. Rohit scoring 98 against West Indies and Shikhar scoring 73 against South Africa were nowhere to be found in limelight. There was a different element noticed in this World T20 in particular with Kohli and Yuvraj Singh building composure in pressure situations and then there is of course MS Dhoni providing the finishing touch.
Though everyone might be raving about the thrilling match against Bangladesh, India were not at their best until the game finished. The mishaps, dropped catches or unable to restrict boundaries, all lead to last minute action by the skipper or high scoring runs by Kohli. This tournament belonged to Kohli and Dhoni.
Suresh Raina, a top notch Indian Premier League (IPL) batsman, proved to unworthy in this entire tournament. When the middle-order batsmen Hardik Pandya and Ravendra Jadeja needed to give supporting hand to the captain, were shown the way out too soon.
The blame cannot be placed on the batting department entirely, somewhere the bowling failed to do its job as well. As they say experience speaks for itself, Ashish Nehra did his part in every game but gems like Jasprit Bumrah who shone in the Australia outing scalping 2-3 wickets, was not to be found in this tournament, except for the much required wicket of Chris Gayle in the knockout game against West Indies.
Then you have the spinners giving no impetus to the game considering Indian conditions were favouring spin. Ravichandran Ashwin, yet another veteran spinner, proved to be expensive with extras and unable to grasp wickets. If one does not provide the required drive, Dhoni comes to Ravindra Jadeja, who also seem to be in different tangent. The semi-final was a disastrous way to put curtains to India’s campaign. What could have been the other way round, the no balls indeed costs the hosts heavily. Similarly, if dropped catches during a must win clash against Bangladesh or mis-fielding were avoided, the last minute job by skipper could have been avoided.
All did not go well for India with Yuvraj being dropped at the end moment and questions on the next person to be included in the side were either Manish Pandey or Ajinkya Rahane and that was exactly what India needed. India’s batting was perfect right from the opening pair to the finishing touch, had the bowling department done their bit too. But never the less, India have long road to go and after consecutive success, stumbling on rock is not a bad idea after all.