Unfulfilled dreams: Virat Kohli failed to win a major ICC trophy for India in his last T20 assignment as India captain. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The mood will be certainly blue in the Indian dressing room - not to speak of the legion of fans - as there was no twist in the tale in the Super-12 match they were all looking at. New Zealand went about in an unhurried style to beat Afghanistan and take their appointed place in the semi-finals along with Pakistan from their group - leaving Virat Kohli’s men - touted as favourites on the eve of T20 World Cup - at the exit door from the league stages.

England, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan complete the semi-finals line-up and even the most diehard of Indian fans will have to agree that the four were the most deserving teams to go through in a tournament which offers little margin of error - much like the format itself. With the tournament being held in the UAE and conditions being similar to the sub-continent, the pundits felt that Asian teams may call the shots but in reality, it’s left only to Babar Azam’s men to carry on the good work.

The way international cricket calendar is packed these days, the likes of Kohli, Rohit Sharma or Jasprit Bumrah have no time to sulk over what had been an underwhelming performance. The core group of this team had been on the road for nearly six months and no sooner they are back home, the Kiwis will be at hand for a white ball series. At a personal level, Kohli may be leaving the UAE shores as a disappointed man deep down - there were no changes to his trophy luck in either a major ICC event or IPL in his last two assignments as captains in the T20 format.


How did their campaign come unstuck on the familiar venues where they had been plying their trade since mid-September for the IPL?

In Super-12 groupings, India were somewhat fortunate to be clubbed in Group 2 (which had both the qualifiers from associate countries in Namibia and Scotland), compared to Group 1, being referred as Group of Death. However, the die was cast when they slumped into back-to-back defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand and were then left to play catch-up with wins against weaker opponents and wait for the results of other matches.

Blame it on dew factor

It’s a fact that the dew factor in Dubai (India were scheduled to play four of their five league matches here) was changing the batting conditions considerably in the evening and it’s something their bowling coach Bharat Arun also alluded to in a media interaction on Sunday. This does not, however, explain the tentative, inept batting display against the Kiwis after being sent in - a total of 110 gives you little chance to defend - dew or no dew.

The subsequent wins against Afghanistan and Scotland, albeit against mediocre attacks, showed there was nothing wrong with the confidence levels of Rohit Sharma or KL Rahul. Where did then the bright idea of shielding Rohit against the left-handed Trent Boult come from, just because he succumbed early during an exceptional spell from Shaheen Afridi in the match before?

These are enough questions like this to raise the storm in your brew over next few days. The bottom line is: the host nation of IPL, the biggest T20 league in the world which has changed the landscape of the game, has failed to win a single World T20 title since its inaugural edition in 2007.