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India's captain Virat Kohli adjusts the field during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match against New Zealand at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, UAE. Image Credit: AFP

India who started the T20 World Cup as one of the favourites have lost both their opening games, first to Pakistan by 10 wickets and second to New Zealand by 8 wickets.

The manner in which they lost both their games is more baffling than the defeats as in both games India were completely outplayed in all departments of the game be it bowling, batting and fielding.

In the first game it was Shaheen Shah Afridi of Pakistan who rocked them early and knocked off their two big guns in Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and it was only due to the brilliance of Virat Kohli they managed to cross 150. But when Pakistan batted both Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan made light work of that target chasing the total under 18 overs. In that match none of the Indian bowlers looked threatening and looked like taking a wicket and Pakistan romped home to their first victory over India in the World Cup.

On a leash

In the second game after being put in by New Zealand, India were again on the back foot when they once again lost both their openers in Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul in the power play and by the tenth over the had lost Rohit Sharma and their key batsman Virat Kohli. In this game, it might have been Trent Boult who got three wickets but it was the New Zealand spinners in Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi who put a leash on the Indian batsman and conceding just 32 runs in their eight overs. So good they were with their line and lengths that the Indian batsman did not get a boundary in almost 12 overs and in the end India managed just 110 runs which was easily chased down by the New Zealand batsman inside 15 overs.

What was disappointing to see was that India - who are known to be good players of spin - were caught in a tangle whether to attack or not and not once did they use their feet against the spinners and allowed the Kiwi spinners to suffocate all the Indian batsman.

There was no intent shown in any of the power packed Indian batman and they allowed the bowlers to get on top of them which led to such heavy defeats in both the games which has dented their net run rate and it’s as low as -1.609.

Fearless cricket

Virat Kohli summed it up during the post match conference that India were not brave enough both with the bat or ball and how true he was as this same Indian batsman during the IPL were playing fearless cricket for their respective franchises but here in the World Cup they seemed to have got stuck.

It can’t be just pressure as they have come across many such match scenarios in the IPL. Yes the toss has gone against them and the wickets have not been conducive to stroke play but in spite of all their players having played the IPL on similar wickets did not adapt well to it and that’s why India are now on the brink of being eliminated from the World Cup which they started as favourites.

India can still make it to the semi-finals if they win their next three matches with big margins and hope that New Zealand lose one of their matches but they very well know their fate is no more in their hands. So far the rub of the green has not gone their way in October, can November bring a change in fortune? Only time will tell.