The game, initially heading towards a draw, took an unexpected turn on the sixth day when Virat Kohli & Co. lost wickets in quick succession and could only give a target of 139 runs. The black caps chased the total comfortably with eight wickets to spare, clinching the maiden WTC title.
However, it wasn’t the first time India missed the chance to lift the ICC trophy or to be more precise, we have seen many heartbreaks since 2014. Actually, India has not won any ICC tournament since the win in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. Since then, India has played two 50-over World Cups, two T20 World Cups, one Champions Trophy, and one World Test Championship but returned empty-handed on all occasions.
India’s campaign in the Champions Trophy ended in the final with a massive defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan. In 2019, India made it to the semi-final of the World Cup after finishing at the top of the league table but once again lost the knockout game against New Zealand. And once again, on June 23, 2021, India lost to New Zealand by 8 wickets in the final of the World Test Championship.
Going closer to the topic, let us analyze the top three reasons why India have faltered in the ICC tournaments in the recent past.
1. Team India Lacks Ability To Handle Pressure In Knockout Games
Well, this is one of the main reasons why team India has been constantly losing ICC tournaments despite reaching finals and semi-finals. If we look at the 2014 World T20 final, the 2015 ODI World Cup semi-final, the 2016 T20 World Cup semifinal, the 2017 Champions Trophy final, the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal, and 2021 WTC Final, we can see there is something common in all these tournaments. India remained the best team in the tournament by a fair margin, before they succumbed to the pressure in an all-important knockout match.
We have witnessed the same pattern in India’s failure in the aforementioned matches. It is either India’s middle order which has collapsed in pressure situations or the lack of ability to remain cool-minded in pressure situations.
2. Captaincy Pressure On Virat Kohli In Knockouts
Virat Kohli, is indeed the best captain India ever have. According to Hindustan Times, no captain has won India more Tests (36) than Virat Kohli. No one has a better winning record (59.01 %) than him other than Ajinkya Rahane (80 %) who has led intermittently in five matches. With the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Kohli went past MS Dhoni to have led India in most matches.
However, if we look at the final of WTC, one can clearly reckon that India skipper Virat Kohli made some wrong calls which led to the demolition of team India as the Indian skipper failed to prove himself to be spot on with his bowling changes and field placements.
In fact, he has been unsuccessful in leading from the front every time India had made it to the knockouts before in ICC tournaments. Let’s have a look at the 2017 Champions Trophy final. India needed a big knock from him in a massive chase of 339. However, he was back to the pavilion for 5 off 9 balls caught off Mohammad Amir’s bowling.
Something similar was witnessed in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against the Kiwis. He was trapped lbw by Trent Boult for 1. Although Kohli scored 44 in the first innings in Southampton, his overall effort will still count as a failure.
The one reason that might be causing a problem with Kohli’s captaincy is the pressure built on him in big matches. Due to this pressure, he somewhere fails to deliver good results with the bat as well.
3. Weak Middle Order
One thing where all of us can agree on is the middle order problem, better known as the middle muddle conundrum. Ever since the retirement or axing of big match players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, and many more, our middle order has become fragile and weak.
Every time we won any series, it was always due to the dominating performances by the top three batsmen, especially Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Well, this dependence on top order has become a weakness that has been exploited by oppositions – Eliminate the top three early, and it’s all over for India.