Journey through the time of India’s performances in T20 World Cups

“Remember the name Carlos Brathwaite” shouted Ian Bishop on air with unbridled joy after that final in Kolkata in 2016. On that day West Indies became the first team to lift the T20 world cup twice.

To date, it is the only team to do so. As far as India’s journey is concerned, the closest they came to lifting the trophy again after 2007 was in 2014 when they lost in the final to Sri Lanka.

2021: A nightmare

The team entered the tournament with a lot of off-field baggage with Virat Kohli’s captaincy controversy, the fatigue of COVID bubbles and a lot of cricket under the legs. Despite having good warm-up games the team lost to both Pakistan and New Zealand, which effectively derailed their campaign.

Top run scorer for India- KL Rahul 194 runs with 152 strike rate

Top wicket-taker for India- Bumrah 7 wickets in 5 matches

2016: Neither here nor there

Since the world cup was at home India entered the world cup as a hot favourite. However, in their opening game against New Zealand in Nagpur the hosts were humbled by the Kiwis. The hosts were shot out for 79, chasing a mediocre score of 127. Later on, they had memorable wins over Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia before reaching the semi-finals.

Eventually, they lost in the semi-finals to the would-be champions West Indies in Mumbai.

Top run scorer for India- Virat Kohli 273 runs with 146 strike rate

Top wicket-taker for India- Ashish Nehra 5 wickets in 5 games

2014: The rise of the king

After the inaugural world cup in 2007, this is the closest the team got to touching the trophy again. The team were unbeaten till the finals. This tournament was the proper announcement of Virat Kohli on the world stage. His innings against South Africa of 72 not out of just 44 balls in the semi-finals is one of his iconic innings. However, it is arguable that his innings against Australia in 2016 in Mohali may be his greatest innings.

Sri Lanka beat India in the final at Dhaka. Chasing a mediocre total of 131 the Sri Lankans never looked in trouble.

Top run scorer for India- Virat Kohli 319 runs with a strike rate of 129.14

Top wicket-tacker for India- Ravichandran Ashwin 11 wickets in 6 games

2012: End of an era

This world cup was held in Sri Lanka. It was the first world cup in the subcontinent at the time. Going into this tournament India was not considered favourites. Prior to this showpiece event, the Indian team was going through a lot of turmoil. There was a lot of scrutiny on Mahendra Singh Dhoni the captain after abysmal performances in tours to Australia and England in the 2011-2012 season.

The team itself had players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh who clearly seemed past their best; by this time it was a team in decline. The performances showed.

The team managed to qualify for the super eight but was thumped by Australia in the opening game in the super eight round. The Net Run Rate reached rock bottom which couldn’t be recovered later.

Top run scorer for India- Virat Kohli 185 runs with a strike rate of 125

Top wicket-taker for India- Lakshmipathy Balaji 9 wickets in 4 games

2010: Three in three in West Indies

India after winning their group games against Afghanistan and South Africa didn’t win the next three games in their super eight round. They qualified for the super eight stages where they were beaten by Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka comprehensively.

The only positive to come out of this world cup was Suresh Raina who became the first Indian to score a 100 against South Africa in St Lucia.

Top run scorer for India- Suresh Raina 219 runs with a strike rate of 146

Top wicket-taker for India- Ashish Nehra 5 wickets in 10 games

2009: Hot favourites

After the success in 2007 and with little sample size India was the hot favourite for this one in England.

A very similar tale to 2010 as the team thumped their opponents Bangladesh and Ireland in the group stage but as soon as the super eights began the team struggled. They didn’t win a single game, beaten by West Indies, England and South Africa.

Top run scorer for India- Yuvraj Singh 153 runs at a strike rate of 154.55

Top wicket-taker for India- Pragyan Ojha 7 wickets in 3 matches

2007: The Champions

This was the inaugural world cup. A lot of people didn’t know what to expect. After a disappointing exit in the ODI world cup, nobody gave India a chance to do well. On top of that, all the experienced players were rested and youngsters were blooded in.

India’s opening game against Pakistan ended up in a tie which then went to bowl-out which India won. The tournament just took off from there. Young in his captaincy career lot didn’t know what to expect from MSD either.

In one of the super eight games against England Broad was taken apart by Yuvraj. The left-hander hit six 6s and registered the fastest T20 World Cup 50 in just 12 balls. This to date remains one of the iconic moments for India in T20 World cups.

The final against Pakistan was another nail-biting game like the opener. With 13 required off the last over Dhoni gave the ball to Joginder Sharma. After bowling wide off the first ball and conceding a six off the fourth ball it looked like it was going to be Pakistan’s game.

However the only remaining recognized batter Misbah-ul-Haq scoped one into the air to the fine leg to S Sreeshant; as they say rest is history. The moment gave Ravi Shastri another famous commentary line ending up in India lifting an ICC trophy. Wondering what was the other?

2022 what to expect?

India won 26 of the last 35 T20Is. They haven’t lost a single bilateral T20I series from 2021. If not for the drawn series against South Africa in June their record would have been 100 per cent.

The team’s batting has been firing on all cylinders. The batting line-up has taken well to the new Rohit-Dravid aggressive approach. Hardik’s ability to bowl again unlike in the 2021 World Cup adds balance to the side.

But, as we all know there is nothing perfect, same is the case with the Indian team. The time has a Bumrah-sized void to fill which is highly difficult. In the absence of India’s ace bowler, the team struggled in the bowling department in Asia Cup and in the bilateral series that followed. Death bowling has been ragged. Can India find an answer to their bowling issues?

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