T20WC 2022: And the ‘Trophy Drought’ continues

Another ICC Trophy is completed, and India’s ‘Trophy Drought’ still continues. We started on a memorable note and were the table toppers, but were completely outplayed when the things mattered the most. Pakistan did post an epic comeback from where they started but had a huge heartbreak in the finals. While, England again showed to the world, why it is such a big White-ball Powerhouse. There are some serious issues that need to be discussed and worked on. So, in this article, we will discuss India’s whole T20WC journey and what can be the way forward for our team.

As I said in my last article, India did select a very decent squad, probably the best in the last couple of years. The power definitely was in its batting and power-hitting, while the weakness lay somewhere in our pace attack. This is what seemed at the start of the tournament. In the two practice games; while we won the first one against Australia by a whisker riding on Shami’s brilliant last over, the second game was a washout. After this, we entered the main tournament with lots of questions, opportunities and an epic clash with Pakistan knocking at the door at the ‘G’.

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Pakistan had defeated India in the last T20WC and entered this time, very high on confidence at a ground that suits them pretty well. India won the toss and as per its strength decided to field first. India’s bowling was spot on. Both Bhuvi and Arshdeep were swinging the ball very well and got Pakistan reduced to 15-2, with both their stalwarts (Babar and Rizwan) back in the pavilion. It seemed that Pakistan won’t even touch 150, but some rebuilding by Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed, took Pakistan to 159/8. While every Indian bowler did a decent job, Arshdeep and Pandya were the standouts with 3 wickets each.

When India came out to bat, everybody thought the real fear was with Shaheen Shah Afridi, but he seemed a little out of touch coming out of injury. But, his two counterparts didn’t let India feel any easy and India soon found it struggling badly at 31/4 after 6 overs. From there, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya started consolidating the innings. They stopped the fall of wickets and were also hitting boundaries at regular intervals. Despite that, Pakistan never allowed the required run rate to get out of control. India still needed 48 off the last three overs. Virat did smash three brilliant boundaries off Shaheen, but 31 off 2 was still a daunting task. The task was made further hard when Haris conceded just 3 off his first 4 balls. It meant India needed 28 off 8, which we don’t really hear teams getting. India was very well staring at a defeat.

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Virat Kohli took the game out of Pakistan’s jaws (Photo Credit: Cricket Addictor)

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Virat Kohli showed such deep emotions after very long (Photo Credit: Cricket Australia)

But, there is a word called CHASE MASTER. Virat got off the backfoot and smashed the next ball down the ground, to everyone’s surprise, the ball went over the sight screen for a huge six. This was something the world has never seen…unarguably the GREATEST single T20I shot EVER. The next ball too, Virat smashed it elegantly over fine leg for a six. And these two shots were executed under so tremendous pressure that too at the MCG (which happens to have the LONGEST boundary in the world). The two shots showed the world that Virat Kohli just doesn’t belong to this planet…he is a goddamn BEAST. India needed 16 to score in the last over and Nawaz had the ball. He got the first ball right and Pandya misplayed it for a catch. Second ball, DK was only able to manage a single. Third ball, Virat managed a double, but 13 off 3 looked nearly lost and I was having a bad feeling of India losing by some 2-3 runs.

But, again CHASE MASTER…remember. Virat smashed the ball which was over the waist for a six, and the umpire gave a close call no ball. On the Free Hit, although Nawaz did hit the stumps, it had gone well far to allow Virat and DK to manage a triple. Now, DK was on strike with 2 needed off 2. Nawaz again bowled a smart delivery, which outsmarted DK and he was run out by the wicketkeeper. So now, it was 2 off 1. Here, Nawaz lost the plot and conceded a leg-side wide. Ashwin was smart enough to leave the ball at such a crunch moment. The next ball, 1 off 1, all fielders in the circle and Ashwin hit it over the mid-off for a four. And…..India had scripted history…a match that will be remembered for ages. In Virat’s own words his BEST knock. A match that ultimately and rather officially transformed Virat from a GREAT player to a LEGEND.

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India finish as the Table Toppers

After the Pakistan game, India had to face the Netherlands. Riding on multiple fifties of Virat, Rohit and SKY, India posted 179, which was just too much for the Netherlands, as they were reduced to just 123/9 with all Indian bowlers ticking the right boxes.

In the game against South Africa, from the very beginning, the Indian batsmen struggled against the South African pace attack. Dangerous spells from Ngidi, Rabada, Nortje and Parnell once reduced India to 49/5 and it was only SKY who was able to stand up the attack with his very fine and gritty 68 off 40. While bowling, Indian bowlers did fire and reduced South Africa to 3-2 and 24-3, but from there on Markrama and Miller didn’t give any chances to the Indian side. Some sloppy fielding from India, further made the task easy for the batters and they comfortably chased the target.

Against Bangladesh, India rode on the fifties of Virat and Rahul to post a good enough 184. But, the way Bangladesh, and especially Litton Das started, it seemed 184 is a very small target. Suddenly, the rain stopped the game as well as the batsmen’s flow. Once the game resumed, there was a severe batting collapse following the run-out of Das. However, India was able to save the game, but only by a margin of 5 runs.

In India’s final game against Zimbabwe, India again posted a good total of 186, as Rahul and SKY smashed the fifties. Zimbabwe was all out at a meagre 117, and India entered teh knockouts riding high on confidence.

England hammer India to make ICC T20 World Cup 2022 final England humiliate India by 10 wickets to reach ICC T20 World Cup 2022 final

The England Team after the commanding victory (Photo credit: Parimatch News)

HEARTBREAK: Semi-Final versus England

At Adelaide, England won the toss and decided to field first. The English pacers were spot on and didn’t let India score freely in the powerplay. Rahul got out early and Rohit too got out after struggling for quite a long. All hopes were on SKY, but this time he too was outsmarted by Adil Rashid’s clever and planned delivery. Now, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya again took the charge, and somehow took India to a challenging total. While Virat managed a 50 off 40 in his Anchor role, Pandya showcased his masterclass with a blistering 63 off 33.

But this total was just not going to be enough, as it seemed that it was a very well 200+ wicket. Jos Butler and Alex Hales knew that they are chasing a below-par total, and the Indian bowlers will be under pressure. They capitalised on the fact and came heavily against the bowlers right from the first ball. No Indian bowler whether the pacers or the spinners were able to even create proper chances. England went through the chase like a cakewalk. Suddenly, the shoulders were down, the energy was missing and India seemed a completely different team. With this game, India’s ‘drought’ of winning a tournament since 2013 continued.

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Pakistan Cricket Team has won several hearts across border (Photo credit: Jagran English)


Pakistan started this tournament with an extremely heartbreaking loss. What a loss against Pakistan means for us, a loss against India means for them. From such a point, the team went on to lose against Zimbabwe as well, that too by 1 run. From that point, no team could have even thought of posting a comeback, but this Pakistan team did. It defeated the Netherlands comprehensively and then presented absolute carnage against the mighty Proteas. The all-round performances of Shadab and Nawaz, the pace quartet, and most importantly the batting which used to be their weak area stood up. In the game between South Africa and the Netherlands, something happened that even Pakistan hadn’t expected. In the Greatest UPSET, the Netherlands came out victorious by not 1 or 2 but 13 runs. The team which was written off was now in the knockouts.

In the semi-final, Pakistan completely outplayed New Zealand. First, they restricted them to 150 odd, and then chased down the total with utmost ease. Other than Rizwan, now Babar too had got into form. I genuinely wished that India is not winning it, at least Pakistan takes the trophy. But….England too is a white-ball Juggernaut. And…Pakistan was disappointed badly with the bat that day. 137 was just not defendable, but still, the Pakistan team fought and fought very hard. If Shaheen could have bowled his full quota and if the runs would have been a little more, the trophy would have been somewhere else. Anyways, this won’t change the fact that Pakistan has presented a commendable performance. Very few teams that too at the international stage get into your hearts with their fight and commitment. And…for me…Pakistan is one such team. Sending my gratitudes from this side of the border.

It's been a while since we've won the World Cup": Rohit Sharma determined  to do lot of things right to win ICC T20 World Cup 2022 - The SportsRush

Indian Captain Rohit Sharma has a lot to ponder before the 2023 WC (Photo Credit: Sports Rush)

Deep Introspection for India

Well…now it has happened just so much…that it doesn’t even hurt me anymore (I’m lying). I don’t even need to describe how gutted and frustrated it feels now. But there are not one or two but several points to ponder for India. The first is definitely the approach of our batting. When India adopted the attacking approach of batting, why did we suddenly get into the ‘shell’ in the tournament? That should very well have been our approach. The other thing is why are we not able to keep our players ‘fit’ before a tournament. I am not blaming my players, but this is something that we will have to deeply ponder. We are the ones who gave the ‘League’ concept, so why is it that foreign players are able to benefit from it, but we ourselves aren’t.

In my opinion, the T20I should very well be left to the YOUNG lot with a completely FEARLESS approach. I had already said before that Virat, for managing his workload should leave T20Is after this T20WC, and there won’t be a better opportunity to do so than being at your peak. Pandya seems the most preferred choice for captain, and he should be given complete freedom to lead the team. Young and hard-hitting players like Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan should be given more roles I completely feel for Rohit, but now he too should shift his focus solely towards 2023 WC. Also, he will have to regain his batting form before giving his final shot. So…as of now, 2023 WC seems to be the only hope of redemption, but for that, a lot of work is needed to be done. And…irrespective of whether that happens or not, the Indian fan in me and millions like me will be supporting our team. It is in these tough moments when the team needs us the most. So, all the best for the next assignment…and I hope the drought ends soon.


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