India face shock group-stage elimination at T20 World Cup as Virat Kohli’s pre-tournament favourites are thrashed by New Zealand by eight wickets to take their fate out of their own hands
- India have suffered their second successive defeat at the T20 World Cup
- New Zealand inflicted an eight-wicket hammering on pre-tournament favourites
- Virat Kohli’s side will be eliminated if they lose vs Afghanistan on Wednesday
India are sensationally facing elimination from the World Cup after losing to New Zealand by eight wickets on another chastening evening in Dubai.
A week after Pakistan pulled off a first World Cup win against their bitter rivals at the 13th attempt, Virat Kohli’s all-stars scraped together just 110 for seven after being put in. At one stage, they went a remarkable 70 balls without a boundary.
The New Zealanders then hurried home with more than five overs to spare, as Daryl Mitchell hit a career-best 49 off 35 balls and Kane Williamson compiled a calm unbeaten 33. If it wasn’t quite on a par with England’s demolition of Australia the night before, it wasn’t far off.
India are facing a shock elimination from the T20 World Cup after their loss to New Zealand
Virat Kohli’s side will be eliminated if they lose against Afghanistan on Wednesday
‘It was quite bizarre,’ said Kohli. ‘I don’t think we were brave enough with bat or ball. We didn’t have much to defend, but we weren’t brave when we walked out to field.’
His attack have now taken two wickets in two games; England, by contrast, have 29 in three. As they had done seven days earlier, Indian fans were heading for the exit long before the finish, and who could blame them: their team trail Namibia in the standings. This was not part of the plan.
For his part, Williamson could celebrate ‘a fantastic all-round performance against a formidable India side’ that leaves New Zealand and Pakistan as favourites to qualify for the semi-finals from Group 2 – although the New Zealanders may still have to beat Afghanistan next Sunday.
For India, the pre-tournament favourites, it completed a grim week in which Kohli had to defend his Muslim fast bowler, Mohammed Shami, after he attracted abuse on social media following a costly display against Pakistan.
Shami was cheered to the wicket yesterday by a mainly Indian crowd of over 14,000, though his arrival was not exactly good news: at 94 for seven in the 19th over, his team had already capsized.
Meanwhile, rumours abounded that the highly politicised BCCI were unimpressed their cricketers had taken a knee before the Pakistan game. By the start of this match, the gesture had been replaced by a hand on heart. South Africa are not the only ones getting in a muddle.
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson takes a knee as Ishan Kishan of India stands at the crease
Earlier this week, Cricket South Africa ordered their players to take the knee following their disjointed support for the Black Lives Matter movement against Australia last week (above)
Whatever the backroom drama, India were made to look pedestrian by an outstanding display from New Zealand’s bowlers. As one batsman after another mixed prods and pokes with ham-fisted attempts to break free, the Kiwis lined up on the fence to hold catches. And it could have been worse had Adam Milne not dropped Rohit Sharma at long leg first ball.
When Kohli slog-swept leg-spinner – and player of the match – Ish Sodhi to long-on to depart for a subdued nine of 17 deliveries, it summed up India’s night. In all, they managed just eight fours and two sixes. It was bewilderingly passive.
India’s fate is now out of their own hands, though they could be out of the tournament as early as Wednesday if they lose to Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi.