World Cup 2019: Analysis of India's campaign
India fell at the semi-final hurdle of a second successive World Cup following their loss to New Zealand. Virat Kohli's side looked like they would push on to the finals after restricting the Kiwis to 239 runs in the first innings. After the top 3 Indian batsmen failed to score more than 1 run each, the Indians were always going to face an uphill struggle.
This was similar to how India went out in the 2015 World Cup despite finishing at the top of Group B and dispatching Bangladesh in the quarterfinal. India came up against Australia in the semi-final. Australia posted a strong score, but with India at full strength anything was possible. India then found themselves three wickets down relatively early with Virat Kohli scoring only 1 run.
2019 World Cup squad
India retained a sizeable chunk from the 2015 squad that also made it to the semi-finals 4 years ago. The 2019 squad had Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammed Shami who all had played the quadrennial event in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
However, this year's squad also included Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul, and Vijay Shankar. Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal came in as replacements for Dhawan and Shankar respectively.
2019 World Cup performance
India finished the group stages at the top of the table, similarly to 2015, but was unable to defeat a fortunate New Zealand in the semi-final despite restricting them to a sub-250 total. Once again, considering the batting talent India had at their disposal it's a wonder how they made such a mess of chasing it down despite a spirited fightback from Dhoni and Jadeja.
Several question marks also remain about India's conduct in the middle of the tournament which saw them almost getting defeated by Afghanistan and included a loss to England. They also displayed an over-reliance on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to score runs and struggled when either failed.
Standouts and discoveries
Rohit Sharma was, without a doubt, India's player of the tournament. The destructive opener scored 648 runs at an average of 81 which included five 100+ scores and one 50+ score in 9 games. This included a run of 3 straight games where he amassed a century each. For the bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah would be the pick of India's bowlers. The paceman picked up 18 wickets at an economy rate of 4.41.
It's now been 8 years since India last lifted the World Cup trophy, despite being in such a strong position during the tournament and being one of the favorites to lift the trophy. It is disappointing to see them once again fail at such a crucial stage. Certainly, questions will be asked about how Virat Kohli handles the pressure of the semi-final after failing to post a meaningful total once again.
Another disappointment has been the very public fights between former Indian international cricketer turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar and Ravindra Jadeja. The public spat seemed to be a distraction and drew others into it, despite the fact that many supported Jadeja in the matter.
Also read - World cup all-time records