T20 World Cup: So Near, Yet So Far – A Fan Account of India vs England SF

T20 World Cup 2022: India have not won an ICC event since 2013.

4 min read
Hindi Female

Before the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final against England, India lost three semi-finals and two finals in ICC events since 2013. As an ardent and optimistic fan of the Indian Cricket Team, one would expect that the law of averages would finally favour India, propelling it one step closer to ending the nine-year streak of not winning ICC trophies.

I was no exception. The promos aired by the official broadcaster of India this year echoed the sentiments of billions. They did away with the chest-beating 'Mauka Mauka' advertisements replacing them with the tagline 'Bahut Hua Intezaar' (We have waited enough).

Swamped with college assignments and a non-existent sleep cycle, I was determined to stay awake to cheer for the men in blue, even if it meant spending another day without sleep.

It's toss time, and England won it, deciding to bowl first. An intriguing trivia popped up on social media and television stating that no team had ever won a T20I at the Adelaide Oval after winning the toss. The figures had a calming influence on my anxious self. But soon, the rational mind took over, convincing me that this England line-up bats deep, with Adil Rashid, owner of 10 first-class centuries, as their number 11.

I had this gut feeling that England would decimate any total under 180-200. KL Rahul departed in his signature tentative fashion by poking a ball outside off-stump during the second over. The same old story of possessing so much promise but not delivering on the big stage, all over again. Rohit Sharma went to the pavilion after a scratchy 27 off 28 balls.


India were in a deep soup when middle-overs enforcer Suryakumar Yadav was dismissed at India's score being 75 for three wickets in 11.2 overs. Panic set in, forcing me to think whether India were on their way to crumbling under pressure in another knockout fixture.

With Kohli getting out without a late flourish after a 40-ball 50, the onus was on Hardik Pandya to provide the impetus to the tattering innings. Pandya's pandemonium comprising 63 runs off 33 balls, helped us to put up a decent score of 168. There was a glimmer of hope.


England Made Light Work of the Target

Ultimately, it was a T20I World Cup semi-final, so scoreboard pressure was inevitable, no matter how coveted or fiery England's batting line-up was. We needed early wickets. India needed early wickets! Anybody could sense that England would come hard at India in the first six overs, trying to kill the game then and there, and they did so, with great ease.

It was pretty disappointing to see our bowling attack being taken to the cleaners in the powerplay. Jos Buttler and Alex Hales scored 63 off the first six overs, contrary to India's 38.

England raced to the total in 16 overs without losing a wicket. It was confusing to see India not sticking to its gung-ho attitude while batting in the first six overs in this World Cup, an approach Rohit Sharma's team followed after the group-stage exit last year.


Erratic Decisions Cost India Dearly

The opening duo of Rahul & Sharma scored a combined 244 runs off 215 deliveries in this tournament at a below-average strike rate of 113. Barring the brilliance of a resurgent Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, India's batting could not deliver consistently.

To add to that, some erratic selection calls also cost the Indian team dearly. For instance, the team management backed Yuzvendra Chahal the entire year, only to not give him a single opportunity in the World Cup.

With this loss, the cricketing world was, essentially, robbed of what promised to be a mouth-watering, once-in-a-lifetime India-Pakistan final. An outcome in favour of which most of us drooled.

The result stings, especially the manner we have gone down. India simply cannot afford to play T20Is, pretending that the format has not evolved since 2007. We need fresh blood, even if it means taking some tough calls. It is surprising to see how Prithvi Shaw misses out consistently despite being the best powerplay enforcer in the IPL, having the highest strike rate among batters to face 500 balls.

Consider this as a consolation or a denial of reality, but the highlight of this World Cup for me is Virat Kohli pulling off a Harry Houdini against Pakistan. Only Kohli could have played those two shots off Haris Rauf's express pace, one of which defied biomechanics.

But then again, let's not feel all is doom and gloom. It's just a game of cricket, and one has to accept the ebbs and flows of it. There must not be any doubt that Pakistan and England are the two best and most deserving teams in the final.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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