From tournament favorites to a bunch fighting for survival is the current status of Indian T-20 World Cup squad. The 47-run loss to New Zealand in a space of 4 hours drove a huge spoke into India’s championship chances, not because of the margin of defeat but the fact that they landed themselves in a horrible mess by succumbing to 79 all out. That will tell on India’s Net Run Rate if they win the same number of matches as Australia, Pakistan or any other team. Though India defeated Pakistan in the second game, the euphoria of victory against the arch-rivals would not add much to India’s championship chances. As of this time, even if Indians beat Bangladesh and Australia in their remaining two matches, they could still be joined by Pakistan if Shahid Afridi’s team wins both its remaining matches. Assuming New Zealand end up at the top, India could be edged out on the poor NRR. Besides, there is no guarantee that India could beat Australia, even if they cross their third hurdle with a win against Bangladesh. By all accounts, India’s semifinal chances now hang by a very thin thread. Ironically, rather than their own good performance, India will hope for poor performances by other potential contenders. That might not have happened if India had avoided the sordid loss against the New Zealand.
The Group 2 of ICC T-20 World Cup is being rightly dubbed as the ‘Group of Death’. Every team is capable of dishing out a winning performance on a given day. Apart from New Zealand, every other team has lost one game and Bangladeshis have lost twice. Assuming New Zealand continue with their winning ways, they are certain to top the Group. If Bangladesh lose to India, they would be out of contention straightaway. That will leave India, Australia and Pakistan fighting for the lone semifinal slot. However, if Pakistan should beat New Zealand on Tuesday, the equation will become even more complicated. India’s best hopes lie in winning both the remaining matches and Pakistan losing to New Zealand. That will give three wins to the pre-tournament favorites and a clear chance in the semifinal. Should India lose another match, they could be punching an exit ticket because there would be no chances on NRR comparison too. At this point of time, therefore, India and their supporters could derive cheers only from Pakistan and Australia’s defeats. Added to it, India’s next two games are the must-win situations. It could have been a lot different if India had piled up a good total against New Zealand at Nagpur.
Since that didn’t happen, India have drastically reduced themselves as a fringe team hoping for poor performance by others. All the hoop-la, talking points on individual performances and exalted averages by India’s batsmen and bowlers are meaningless in such a scenario. A die-hard cricket fan in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar Mohmad Yusuf Syed emulates the sentiments of countless Indians by believing that despite the stuttering first hurdle, India could still win the ICC T-20 World Cup!