India keeps their semifinal hope alive as they defeated Bangladesh in a thrilling match in Bangalore on Wednesday. Captain MS Dhoni had thrown the ball to Hardik Pandya in the final over who conceded 9 runs from the first three balls, but in the next two balls he got the wickets of Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim, while captain MS Dhoni ran out Mustafizur Rahman; otherwise, India would have suffered a humiliation and probably would have bid a goodbye to this edition of World T20.
However, India have been rattled by unexpected conditions and weakness against the spinners. Critics before the World T20 gave a favourite tag to India as they had won 10 matches out of 11 matches. But, a defeat to New Zealand in the opening match rattled the host as their chance to qualify for the semifinal as the first team was dealt a huge blow and subsequently the chances after New Zealand’s surprising form are bleak.
Surprising everyone, New Zealand, who traditionally are reckoned as a weak team against spin, qualified for the semifinal as the first team. Now, India has fallen in the cruel paradox of uncertainty. They have to beat Australia to harbour any chance of winning the tournament.
So, here are four key reasons why should India might not win the world T20.
1) India has struggled on doctored pitches, they made.
Indians are known as the strongest team against the spin, but now it seems the time has changed as Indians have strengthened their batting skills against the fast bowlers while they are ignoring to better their skills against the spinners. Indian batsmen have a weakness against an off-spinner and that is well known to every opposition team. So, in the opening match New Zealand captain Kane Willaimson benched his key pacer Tim Southee and Trent Boult and picked up three spinners Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum who bamboozled India on a pitch where the ball was viciously turning.
Everybody has seen how India have won the Test series against South Africa, so taking a cue from the series everybody has barraged their bowling department with spinners. Indian pitches have also become tired after the end of the domestic season. In the match against Pakistan, on a turning Eden Gardens wicket Indian batsmen found it really difficult to bat while cashing 118 in 20 overs. But, Virat Kohli adapted to the conditions and played a 57 runs innings that helped India to win the match. Bangladesh bowlers also got on the top of India in the last match. Now India has to face Australia in Mohali, which is quite a fast wicket compared to other pitches in India. India’s chance to qualify for semifinal may get spoiled if Australia wins the match on a wicket which may suit the visitors.
2) Openers are yet to perform
Opener Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, since the final of the Asia Cup, are yet to fire. They have contributed only 33 and 30 runs respectively in the last three matches. Their off form has created a pressure on middle order batsmen. It was observed that if Indian openers give the team a good start then middle order make a feast on it and a big score is just a matter of time. In the Mohali match against Australia, openers have to fire as without a good start India will find it difficult to beat Australia. If their off form continues India’s chance to qualify for semifinal will be squeezed.
3) Middle order lacks depth:
Indian middle order is very unpredictable and overdependent on Virat Kohli. If India’s star batsman Virat Kohli fails then other batsmen struggle to put a respectable challenge to opposition. Suresh Raina, whom you can’t rely on every day as he can fire on some days but can fail miserably on other days. Hardik Pandya is yet to learn the nuances of batting in difficult conditions while Yuvraj Singh has lost his old charm. The lower order comprised of captain MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja is too patchy as Dhoni gets very fewer deliveries to bat and Jadeja has forgotten when was last time he construed a meaningful innings in national colours .
4) MS Dhoni’s stubborn captaincy:
The flaw has become big in MS Dhoni’s impeccable captaincy as he sticks with the same playing XI even after some of the players’ repeated failures. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma failed in the last three matches, while Ajinkya Rahane who warmed the bench since the Australia tour is ready to hatch an egg but is ignored by MS Dhoni. Meanwhile, the bowling department too remains unchanged since the first match against New Zealand. When opposition captain took a brave step in dropping two key pacers replaced them with Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum that proved a master stroke as New Zealand even after initial hiccup scored 127 that proved too difficult for India as the host folded up for only 79. Even Grant Elliot did not allow Indian batsmen to play big shots. Harbhajan Singh who could have made an impact in the New Zealand and Pakistan match was (and is still) ignored along with Pawan Negi.
Dhoni still stuck with the same bowling unit against Bangladesh which almost cost India a win, but for foolishness and incompetence of Bangladesh batsmen to close the match. Dhoni could have benched a seamer and replaced him with Harbhajan Singh then Bangladesh would not even have come close to India’s score 146.