After two back-to-back losses in the Asia Cup Super 4 stage, India were looking for a miracle to reach the final. But, they were eliminated after Pakistan beat Afghanistan tonight at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Like every multinational tournament, India started as favourites only to deceive their fans once again.
The Indian team had arrived on the back of series wins in England and West Indies and had not lost a T20 series since the early exit in the last World Cup and it seemed they would romp home and win an hattrick of Asia Cup titles. But the going was tough for the team from the first game when they somehow won against Pakistan in the last over. In the Super 4, inspite of scoring 180 plus, they could not defend and went down to Pakistan and in the last game which was a must win they could not defend 173 and were beaten by a resurgent Sri Lanka.
Captain Rohit Sharma in the post match presentation said it’s not the time to panic as this was the first time in one year they lost two back-to-back games. But without Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel the bowling looked weak. Their batting did not click as a unit and it was tough going for Kl Rahul, Pant, Suryakumar Yadav and Hooda. Virat Kohli played one innings of significance and so did Sharma but the middle order could not take the pressure and caved in at crucial moments. Yes both the matches India lost went to the last over but when it mattered whether batting or bowling and fielding, India failed to seize the key moments which is worrying with the T20 World Cup just 50 days away.
Sharma said he wanted his team to be tested and further added that there are more questions to be answered and they have found some answers. There will be a time when they will draw the line and say, ‘yes this is the team he wants to play for the World Cup’. He has two more series to go before the World Cup, one wonders if they will be able to play their full squad in either of the series as time is running out for the team. The fans are losing patience - they feel let down time and again by the team.