The location was ideal. A World Cup semi-final, a hostile audience, and the absence of the opposition’s fast-bowling enforcer due to injury. KL sliced away the first ball for four after an anxious wait to begin proceedings. Rahul and India’s important quarterfinal game in Adelaide began with all the promise of the squad having turned a turnaround. Following a disappointing World Cup campaign a year ago. They had established proof at the conclusion of the inning that they had just gone around in a circle.
India’s lack of purpose with the bat was show by Rohit Sharma’s 28-ball 27
This was exactly the type of game Rohit Sharma mention. While touting the team’s new gutsy attitude to T20 cricket. The team’s tale would revolve around the batting, their far stronger suit, freezing beneath the Adelaide lights. Every fault that had plagued them in previous T20 World Cups. Every reason why they had lost games, is in highlight once more.
This was exactly the game they’d been preparing for all year, when they consistently chose to bat first and utilised their new tempo to claim a fantastic victory rate of 70.83 (17 out of 24) while setting objectives in T20Is. Interestingly, despite the two night games at this stadium (India-Bangladesh & Australia-Afghanistan) allowing chasing sides come extremely near with the ball sliding on nicely under the lights, they had chosen to bat first nevertheless. Their year of batting first preparation had convinced them to put all of their eggs in the runs-on-the-board basket.
India scored at a rate of 8.67 in the PowerPlay between the two World Cups, the most of any side. They only exceeded 40 once in this World Cup (46/1). They delivered their first blow to the solar plexus today, scoring a little more than a run per ball after six overs. England, on the other hand, had 63 points. India had only six fours and one six by the halfway point of the innings, whereas England had nine fours and five sixes.
India has been fortunate that their cautious PowerPlays had not cost them up to this point in the World Cup. If there was ever a World Cup when their slow-burn attack strategy might have worked, it was this one, with plenty of help for fast and swing bowlers throughout the locations they’ve played at. Adelaide, though, was unique. According to Dravid, the pitch was sticky up front but play considerably better after that. India also took pleasure in their versatility, with Dravid stating midway through the competition that they would be able to turn it on when faced with a ‘180-190’ surface. In an unfortunate twist of destiny, his team ended up on exactly that type of pitch in the semifinals.
All that bravado, though, was for naught as, in the face of England’s discipline bowling effort, India’s top-order returns to pattern, batting with the handbrake on. KL Rahul fell easily, bringing together Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. They were the couple England didn’t mind bowling to, even with Rohit out of form. He tried to lead the charge but battled with time and rhythm, which had led him from one optional net session to the next. It all came down to a labored 28-ball 27. On the other hand, Kohli had a good World Cup, constructing his innings slowly before blasting at the death.
With their top three scorers scoring only 82 off 73, India had set themselves up for a dramatic comeback. It was exacerbate by a late finishing kick. Even after Pandya’s plunders at the death, which delivers 68 runs from the final five overs, India only got to 168 – a mediocre score on the ground that was finally turn outrageously poor by a side that bats till 10 yet only require 2.
It felt like deja vu all over again for India, and losing this manner after allegedly resolving the problem over the previous year would be a bitter pill to stomach.
Rohit will understand that T20 cricket is always evolving, with new means to counter old concepts. Standing motionless is the same as going backwards. Opponents become accustomed to you and devise counter-strategies. That is why the finest teams, even in league cricket, that strive to construct a dynasty, are always evolving.
This is where players’ longevity, as well as a sense of familiarity, might become a concern. There have been minor modifications and the occasional experiment, but that batting performance was the Indian default before to 2022. Except for Suryakumar, five of today’s top-six players played in the last World Cup loss to New Zealand. In the aftermath of today’s performance, it appears like India has once again toyed with the concept of change in T20 without truly committing to it, especially when it counts the most.
That is not to say that India has not made progress. Following last year’s group-stage withdrawal, conversations about a strategy adjustment were critical, and the excellent showing in bilateral performances indicated a step forward. They were given a year to put their new mindset to the test. They will now have two games remaining until the next T20 World Cup. That could be enough time to unpick one line-up and begin another.