Asia Cup 2022: What went wrong for India in Super4 - Team selection or Tactics ?

    India's campaign in the Asia Cup and the dream of lifting the title has taken a significant setback after they lost their second successive game in the Super 4 of the tournament

    Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to deliver in Death Overs Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to deliver in Death Overs

    A five-wicket defeat from Pakistan and a 6-wicket loss from Sri Lanka added salt to India's wounds. The Men in Blue have little chance of qualifying depending on the other team's results. The two consecutive defeats have left many thoughts to ponder. There were some key issues felt in India's super four games:  

    Death over for India's bowling

    India missed the services of their key bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, in the Asia Cup 2022. Deepak Chahar, too, was in the standby space, and with Avesh Khan getting ruled out, India only had Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the most experienced bowler for them in UAE. 

    With only Bhuvneshwar Kumar as one of the options for death overs, he failed to deliver in both the crucial games. India had scope to defend 20-plus scores in the last two overs, but he conceded 19 and 14 runs, respectively, leaving Arshdeep Singh with a mere seven runs to defend in the final. 

    Lack of firepower in the middle 

    India has been looking to embrace an aggressive approach in T20s post the failure in T20 World Cup 2021. But in this Asia Cup, when Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli, either two, looked to give an attacking start, the middle order struggled to derive pace and fire. 

    Pakistan, as well as Sri Lankan bowlers, after dismissing the top-three batters, didn't look to struggle to keep the middle-order on the back foot. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant did try to accelerate the scoring but failed to make a big score. Deepak Hooda could not deliver in the end with the bat when the team needed runs. 

    KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav are still not consistent

    KL Rahul making a comeback via Asia Cup after recovering from injury, struggled to score from his bat. His figures 0, 36, 28 and 6 in four matches show his inconsistency. A few glimpses of him regaining the form were visible against Pakistan, but he again got trapped in an LBW by Sri Lanka spinner Maheesh Theekshana. 

    Rishabh Pant had an even more poor outing, scoring 14 and 17 runs in the two matches. In contrast, Suryakumar Yadav, who shone with the bat against Hong Kong, smashing 26-ball 68*, failed to continue the momentum against Pakistan. His scores 18, 68*, 13 and 34 again raise doubts about his consistency as a middle-order batter. 

    Confused team selection

    India's team selection during the Asia Cup has been difficult to accept and understand. From dropping Rishabh Pant for Dinesh Karthik in the first match, who got just a ball to play, to keeping Dinesh Karthik benched in the games to follow for Rishabh Pant, who failed continuously to deliver. 

    The dilemma after Ravindra Jadeja got ruled and the team's decision to go with Deepak Hooda instead of Axar Patel down the order, who now has plenty of international experience, remains unanswered. 

    Getting Deepak Hooda into the playing XI and not using his bowling skills while Hardik Pandya struggled highlights the confusion in management's mind with the role in which they see the player. Not utilising Deepak Chahar with Avesh Khan getting ruled out adds another mystery to the confused team selection method. 

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