In a few days, team India will begin their journey in the T20 World Cup 2022, one of the year’s biggest cricketing events. Going into the World Cup, India is considered one of the leading contenders to win the prestigious title.

There is no shadow of a doubt that India’s best performance in the global event came in the inaugural edition, when the MS Dhoni-led Indian team defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the final to lift the title in 2007 and became the first team to do so. However, since then, the side has failed to bring back the glory. After rewriting history in 2007 in South Africa, they have only made it to the final of the tournament on one other occasion, which was in 2014 against Sri Lanka. An ICC trophy has eluded India since 2013, when they won the Champions Trophy in England under Dhoni. In particular, if we talk about the 20-over World Cups, then from 2007 until now, it’s been a really long wait for India to claim their second T20 World title. In the second edition of the global event, India crashed out of the Super Eight stage. The story was no different in the second edition in 2010.

In the 2012 T20 World Cup, India failed to advance to the second round despite losing just one game in the tournament due to a poor run rate. In the 2016 T20 World Cup, India made a semifinal exit after losing to the West Indies, while in the 2014 T20 World Cup India lost in the finals against Sri Lanka and ended as runners-up of the tournament. But despite those defeats, during this period, the Indian team has been a top-five team in T20I cricket. This raises the question of why the team struggles in the ICC events.

Let us try to zero in on the major factors behind this drubbing in the T20 World Cups.

2021 T20 World Cup (Finish: Super 12)

In the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Team India had a season to forget. After suffering a thumping defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan in their first match, followed by another loss to New Zealand, the men in blue could not proceed to the knockout stage.

India could not make it into the semi-finals in what was the first instance since 2012 that the team crashed out as early as the group stage of a major ICC event. A few selection calls, like the omission of wily leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and picking Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar ahead of him, hurt India as the Indian spinners underperformed in the last edition. At the start of any tournament, a team needs to start well, and India lost the first two games to Pakistan and New Zealand, respectively, which hampered India’s chances.

T20 WORLD CUP

2016 T20 World Cup (Finish: Semi-finalists)

2016 was another year in which India entered as the favorite to lift the coveted trophy as they were the host nation. On the back of strong performances in the Asia Cup, India started the event with a disappointing loss against New Zealand in Nagpur but then won consecutive games to reach the semi-final stage. In the semi-final, the Dhoni-led Indian team surrendered to the two-time champions West Indies to end their campaign. It was that semi-final game in particular where India’s lack of discipline with the ball hurt them at the end. Man of the match from that game – Lendl Simmons got three reprieves and on the two occasions, the Indian bowlers were found guilty of bowling no balls. Dew also played a big part in that game, even when India was defending a total of 192. But that cannot hide India’s abysmal display with the ball. West Indies capitalized on the home team’s sloppy bowling display and used the conditions to their advantage in a high-scoring semifinal showdown.

2014 T20 World Cup (Runners-up)

In 2014, they were comfortably the best team in the tournament but contrived to lose the final to Sri Lanka in a disappointing manner. India remained unbeaten before losing the final, winning all five games. The loss also put paid to their hopes of becoming the only cricket nation to hold all three World titles at the same time. In a crunch game, India could only manage to get to a below-par total of 130 in 20 overs. The hero of the 2011 World Cup – Yuvraj Singh turned into a villain and produced arguably his worst-ever T20 performance on the biggest stage. The left-handed batter looked completely out of sorts in his 21-ball essay and single-handedly stopped India from gaining any momentum in the final overs. Bowlers failed to defend such a low score and India without any resistance, surrendered to the enemy. 

T20 WORLD CUP
T20 WORLD CUP

2012 T20 World Cup (Finish- Super 8)

With two victories each in Group B of the Super Eight stage, India, Australia, and Pakistan had finished joint first in the pool but the other two teams qualified for the semifinals on their better net run rates.

It was a near-miss for India in the fourth edition of the T20 World Cup held in Sri Lanka. India lost just one match and defeated the likes of Afghanistan, England, and South Africa. India’s only loss came against Australia. In the first match of the super eight stages against a strong  Australian outfit, India scored 140 runs which the Aussies chased down easily within 15 overs. India’s bowling wasn’t their strongest suit in the 2012 edition and that was reflected in the game against Australia. Poor execution with the ball was the prime reason behind India’s thumping loss to the Aussies. Due to that loss, the net run rate got affected and in the end, it proved to be a difference maker.

T20 WORLD CUP

2010 T20 World Cup (Finish- Super 8)

India was placed in Group C along with South Africa and Afghanistan. India had a good start in the tournament, as it defeated Afghanistan and South Africa in its first two matches. However, India once again got knocked out after losing games against Australia, the West Indies, and Sri Lanka. This tournament was a big failure for the team, as they were again knocked out in the Super 8 stage. India couldn’t capitalize on the excellent start to the tournament, and the team lacked a united effort, especially in the second half of the tournament, which led to the team’s downfall. To add to it, India’s conservative approach didn’t help their cause.

T20 WORLD CUP

2009 T20 World Cup (Finish- Super 8)

The defending champions started the tournament as the favorites to reclaim their title. The expectations grew when India was placed in a weak group along with Bangladesh and Ireland. In the group stage matches, India did well and easily qualified for the super eight stages. However, in the super eight round against the big guns, India again faltered on the big stage and had to face a shameful and early exit. In the super eight, India lost three matches in a row against the West Indies, England, and South Africa.

At the big stage, the Indian team failed to win even a single match and was kicked out of the tournament. This tournament was a nightmare for the Indian team. India’s batting was the biggest letdown. Batters like Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, and MS Dhoni failed to create any sort of impact, and that really hampered India’s winning chances.

Conclusion:

India’s journey in the World Cups has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. In almost every edition, the team starts the event as favorites and ends up choking either in group stages or in the knockouts. The reason can be the overexhaustion of the players due to the heavy scheduling of the matches before the ICC events. Then, the lack of big-match temperament in players and the conservative approach are things that have been pulling the team down time and time again. The selection has at times been questionable and certainly can be counted as one of the main reasons. These reasons have hindered the Indian team from winning ICC tournaments.

Expectations from the upcoming edition: 

This time, the number one-ranked T20 I team looks in good form. In 2022, India played 27 T20I games, winning 21 of them. They have lost 6 times, while 1 game ended without a result. India beat England at home, outclassed South Africa twice this year, and also recently clinched a three-match T20I series against Australia. Despite not having the pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, many cricket pundits and bookmakers have come out with very favorable odds for India to win the T20

World Cup this year. We believe India will struggle to make it to the final due to the bowling unit – which seems to be the weakest link of the team. 

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