Aakash Chopra has pointed out that Team India’s fate is no longer in their own hands and that they are dependent on other results to make the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.
The Indian team was handed crushing defeats by Pakistan (10 wickets) and New Zealand (8 wickets) and is yet to open its account in the marquee tournament. They need to win their remaining three encounters against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia and hope for other results to go their way to qualify for the knockout stages.
Aakash Chopra: India’s Fate Is Hanging By A Very Thin Thread
While previewing tonight’s clash against Afghanistan in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that Team India will have to rely on other results as well.
Aakash Chopra elaborated: “Nothing is easy, to win a match in the World Cup, now I see all the matches as difficult. We have lost to Pakistan and New Zealand. Our fate is hanging by a very thin thread. We have already put our lives’ remote control in others’ hands.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Team India cannot consider Afghanistan as pushovers.
Aakash Chopra observed: “I am still saying India will win but is it actually a cakewalk. There are no games that are cakewalks in this World Cup as far as we are concerned. The toss will be in focus again. But do you still need the toss to defeat Afghanistan? Toss is important but it is not the be-all and end-all.”
Aakash Chopra: Afghanistan Is A Serious Threat For Having 3 Excellent Spinners In Their Squad
Aakash Chopra pointed out that Team India will have their task cut out against the likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. Afghanistan is equipped with arguably the best spin attack in the tournament with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman sharing 13 wickets between them.
Rashid Khan, the fastest to 100 wickets in 53 T20Is single-handedly tested Pakistan with his leg-spin before an Asif Ali cameo saw Pakistan win. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, a mystery spinner who has nearly all the variations, returned his career-best T20I figures of 5-20 in his team’s 130-run rout of Scotland.
Aakash Chopra reasoned: “Afghanistan is a serious threat. Take them lightly at your own peril. If we were stuck in front of Shadab, Ish and Santner, there will be three excellent spinners here. If Mujeeb is fit, our story is going to be very difficult.”
The 44-year-old concluded by stating that the Afghanistan batters could also pose a serious challenge to Team India.
Aakash Chopra said: “Afghanistan have batsmen who like to play the big shots. Their batsmen don’t have any timidness. They do have a very decent batting lineup. They will keep on attacking. If a guy is there for 30 balls, he will kill you.”
Apart from their batting issues, Team India has also been found wanting in the bowling department. They will need their bowlers to be at the top of their game to restrict Afghanistan’s big-hitters. Underdogs Afghanistan are second behind group leaders Pakistan in the table and another win would boost their hopes for a place in the final four.
Below par totals of 151 (v Pakistan) and 110 (v New Zealand) are not usually associated with a team having world-class batsmen including Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. But India’s batting has been found wanting against the quality pace attacks of Pakistan and New Zealand on a Dubai pitch that was one of the venues of the recent Indian Premier League.
In a procession against a Trent Boult-inspired Kiwi bowling line-up, KL Rahul (18), Ishan Kishan (4), Rohit Sharma (14), and Virat Kohli (9) returned to the dugout with the scoreboard reading 48. In Pakistan’s opening game against India, lanky Pakistan paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi put India on the back foot from the start with the wickets of openers Rohit Sharma (0) and KL Rahul (3) off his first seven deliveries. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.