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Falling one step short: India’s tryst with losses in ICC Trophy finals

So, another ICC trophy has slipped out of India’s grasp. In the summit clash of the World Test Championship (WTC), India once again failed to raise their game when it mattered the most and went down to New Zealand, as the Kiwis won the match comfortably with 8 wickets to spare.

And, this trend of qualifying to the knockout stages and faltering when it matters continues to haunt the Indian team. After winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, the Indian side has been a part of 6 ICC events but has not managed to win any of those. In the 2014 T20 World Cup, India reached the summit clash but lost to Sri Lanka. They exited in the semi-final stage in the 2015 fifty-over World Cup, and the same was the case with the 2016 T20 World Cup as well.

Falling one step short

In the 2017 Champions Trophy, India reached the final but were walloped by their arch-rivals Pakistan by 180 runs. Then, came that heart-breaking loss in the 2019 fifty-over World Cup, where India bowed out of the ICC event at the semi-final stage, losing to New Zealand. And finally, they were once again denied glory in the World Test Championship Final.

And, an analysis of India’s losses in these crucial matches reveals that it is the Indian batting department that is to be blamed. In the 2014 T20 World Cup Final against Sri Lanka, India batted first and scored just 130/4 in their 20 overs. And surely, this is not a match-winning total in a crunch game.

Fast forward to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. In reply to Pakistan’s total of 338, the Indian willow wielders produced a shambolic performance as India were bowled out for just 158. Except for Hardik Pandya, who scored a valiant 76, there was not a single Indian batsman who even crossed the 30-run mark.

The same story unfolded itself in the 2019 fifty-over World Cup semi-final as well. India needed to score 240 for victory against New Zealand, but in no time, India was reduced to 24/4. And, the repair work done by Ravindra Jadeja in the later stages of the Indian innings proved to be futile, as India lost the match by 18 runs.

Loss in the WTC final

And finally, the same was the case in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) as well. In both innings put together, not even a single Indian batsman could even score a half-century. While India somehow managed to go past 200 (217) in their first innings, they produced an abysmal performance in the second innings. The Virat Kohli-led outfit was bowled out for just 170 in the second innings, and the Kiwis chased down the target of 139 set by India with ease.

So, it is the batting department that has let India down WHEN IT MATTERS. India have got extremely talented batsmen. They have got some of the best willow wielders of the modern era. But then, these batsmen have failed to step up when the situation has demanded them to.

So, if India needs to experience the glory and get their hands on an ICC trophy in the future, the batsmen will have to put their hands up and perform better. The 2021 T20 World Cup this year will provide another opportunity for India to get their hands on an ICC trophy. It remains to be seen if the Indian side can grab it.

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