From favourites to desperados: India's ICC World T20 chances in jeopardy
Pre-tournament favourites India lost to New Zealand by 47 runs in their tournament opener.
New Delhi: The tournament is only one match old for favourites India, but the manner in which Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co. lost to New Zealand on Tuesday has put doubts in the minds of fans, on the team's chances.
It's too early for such a 'lost cause' verdict. But in a tournament of such magnitude, India can't afford an early slip up.
After winning the Asia Cup, a confident Indian side ready to feast on the tournament 'outsiders' New Zealand, losing the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 opener at Mumbai by 47 runs in a low scoring match at Nagpur.
The gravity of that defeat could only feel only after Pakistan thrash Bangladesh – Asia Cup finalists – by 55 runs today. Before the start of the tournament, the Asia cup finalists and Australia were considered contenders from the Group 2 to fight for the available tow spots.
Yes, the Kiwis have always been a dangerous outfit, specially in ICC tournaments, but they were not billed as highly as the Indians. In fact, Pakistan – thanks to their rather pathetic preparation and also the confusion surrounding their participation in the tournament – were already wrote off.
But as things stand now, after two matches, Pakistan found themselves leading the group ahead of the Kiwis, on net run rate.
India and Bangladesh are in the bottom with awful looking net run rates.
What now for India?
India play Pakistan on Saturday in a must win game in Kolkata. Another defeat will put the team in grave danger of not making the semis. India's invincible record against Pakistan in world cups' it will be a huge ask for the hosts against their arc-rivals.
After the Pakistan tie, India will play Bangladesh in a potential banana skin fixture in Bangalore. India should, however, win the match comfortably on March 23. But it's not guaranteed.
Then, India play Australia on March 27, and it could well decide the second semi-finalists, of both, from the group of death. India have whitewashed the Aussies before the Asia Cup, but what it takes in a knock-out or a high-stake tournament is a win, or a defeat, according to the perspective.
This India outfit, under MS Dhoni, is supremely confident and capable of playing best cricket when it's required. India will once again need a series of good wins to keep their hopes alive.
Here, desperation may not be the answer to this rather precarious looking situation, but doning the roles of desperados may well help the team achieve big things, like winning a World Cup.