T20 World Cup 2021: Team India calls off optional practice session after semifinal hopes crushed

India failed to make it into the knockout stage of ICC event for the first time since 2012 | Getty

The Indian cricket team had high hopes from the New Zealand v Afghanistan group 2 Super 12s match as a win for the Asian side could have meant that the Men in Blue’s chances for T20 World Cup 2021 semis were still alive.

Unfortunately, Kane Williamson and his men were up to the task as they restricted Afghanistan to 124 runs who had opted to bat first after Mohammad Nabi won the toss. Then Williamson and Devon Conway made sure no upset happened as Blackcaps romped home with 8 wickets in hand in the 19th over.

This win meant New Zealand joined Pakistan, Australia, and England in the semi-finals of the tournament, and India was knocked out of the semis race.

The Indian team had themselves to blame as below-par performances in the first two crucial Super 12s games led to a 10-wicket defeat at the hands of Pakistan and then New Zealand routed them by 8 wickets as well. This left their fate in hands of other teams and though India beat Afghanistan and Scotland in dominating fashion, it proved to be too little, too late.

India still has a game in hand, when they play Namibia on November 8 in Dubai.

The dejection was obvious in the Indian camp as PTI reported that BCCI’s official media WhatsApp group had a message for the journalists “The optional training session in the evening has been cancelled.”

It was understandable dejection as for the first time since the 2012 edition of this event, India had failed to make the knockout stage of an ICC event.

Outgoing head coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli, who will lead the country for one last time in the shortest format, would aim to finish India’s underwhelming T20 World Cup campaign on a positive note.