Decoding the reason behind India’s exit from the T20 World Cup 2022 in knockouts, Shane Watson has pointed out that Yuzvendra Chahal’s exclusion affected India’s performance. He further blamed timid batting from openers and scoring a below par target as the key factors which led to the defeat.
After having a good campaign in the Super 12 , India were knocked out in the semi final against England with a 10-wicket loss. After setting a target of 169 in Adelaide, the bowling unit displayed a poor performance as England’s opening pair of Jos Buttler and Alex Hales dominated the proceedings. Rohit Sharma blamed the bowlers after the loss for a poor outing.
The Indian team excluded Yuzvendra Chahal from playing XI throughout the tournament despite being their key wicket-taking spinner before the start. The move raised many eyebrows and Shane Watson also thinks on the similar lines saying that it was an opportunity missed by Men in Blue by not playing the leg-spinner.
"Not playing Yuzi Chahal was another mistake. He has played T20 cricket around the world. Even Liam Livingstone, who is a part-time leg spinner was fairly successful, on the Adelaide wicket. Not playing Chahal was an opportunity missed,” Watson said in an interaction with booking.com.
India’s batting in the powerplay was another concern for them. Their highest score after the first six overs was against Zimbabwe when they posted 46/1 by the end of the powerplay. Also in the semi final, the team managed to score only 38/1 against a batting-heavy side like England. Watson opined that Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul both were defensive on a good batting surface and that played a part in India’s eventual defeat.
"The Indian openers were timid. In the end, it boils down to fear of failure. Which is never the right mindset when you are facing the best opposition, especially in T20 cricket where you have to take the game on. It was a really good batting surface. But both Rohit and Rahul went into a hole. England has been dominating the short formats in recent years because it is playing totally fearless cricket." he explained.
Earlier in the match, India’s run rate was becoming a concern as they had scored 100/3 at the end of 15 overs. However, an onslaught from Hardik Panyda at the back end helped them post a total of 168/6. Hardik scored 63 runs from 33 balls laced with four boundaries and five sixes. However, Watson is of the opinion that the total wasn’t good enough on the surface which was helpful for batters.
"In Australia, 170 is generally a good score on most wickets. But Adelaide is a high scoring ground and the pitch report had said that it was an incredibly good wicket. 168 was never going to be enough. 180-190 was okay, considering England's batting firepower. And India got to that total only because of Pandya's knock in the last five overs," he said
India will now play against New Zealand in a bilateral series under the leadership of Hardik Pandya and the team might make some changes going ahead into the T20 format.