Bengaluru, July 11: India did tremendously well in the league stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 but were shocked in the semifinal by New Zealand at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
In a split last-four clash that happened over two days because of inclement weather, India had a rare top-order collapse as they were reduced to five for three while chasing 240 and were bowled out for 221 after a splendid fightback from Ravindra Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni who added 116 runs for the seventh wicket.
India's campaign at the 2019 World Cup was almost identical with that of 2015 when too, they topped the group with all win and then beat Bangladesh to make the semifinals.
They lost to eventual champions Australia in the semifinal by 95 runs. Dhoni, who was the captain in that World Cup, had also been his team's main hope in the chase and got run out towards the end, just like he was on Wednesday.
By losing their second semifinal in a row after remaining almost unbeatable in the tournament's initial phase, are India turning out to be the new South Africa at the World Cup? The Proteas, too, had played similarly in the World Cups in the 1990s when they won a lot of games in the league stages only to lose in the knock-outs.
They lost to England in 1992 in the semifinal; to the West Indies in 1996 in the quarterfinal and to Australia in 1999 in the semifinal again even after the match ended in a tie.
India now have lost four of their seven World Cup semifinals. While Kapil's Devils were no more the devils they were in 1983 by losing the semifinal in 1987, Mohammad Azharuddin's men lost poorly in the semifinal of the 1996 edition before Dhoni and Kohli fell at the penultimate hurdles in the last two World Cups. And on all four occasions, India have lost batting second. The three times that they won were in 1983 (against England), 2003 (against Kenya) and 2011 (against Pakistan).
Are India failing to absorb the pressure of a World Cup semifinal?