Playing Ashwin might not have guaranteed India victory but it could have given them a better chance of doing well.

The T20 World Cup 2021 concluded on Sunday with Australia getting the better of New Zealand by eight wickets in the final in Dubai. After India got knocked out in the Super 12, most experts picked England and Pakistan as the finalists. However, New Zealand and Australia knocked out the two teams in the semis. The Kiwis were hoping to end their barren run against the Aussies in the World Cup knockouts. However, it wasn’t to be as Australia hammered New Zealand rather comfortably. With the T20 World Cup coming to an end, we look back at five grave mistakes committed by teams during the event

India not playing Ashwin in the first two games

India picked Ravichandran Ashwin in the T20 World Cup squad out of the blue for his experience. However, after making the big decision, they did not play the off-spinner in the first two games. One could understand Varun Chakravarthy playing the first match against Pakistan. But once he proved ineffective, India should have given an opportunity to Ashwin in the do-or-die clash against New Zealand. They did not and Chakravarthy went wicketless again. In fact, Jasprit Bumrah was the only India bowler to have picked had wickets to his name after the first two games. Playing Ashwin might not have guaranteed India victory but it could have given them a better chance of doing well.

Rohit Sharma not opening the innings against the Kiwis

India made another big blunder in the same match against New Zealand. After Rohit Sharma had perished early to Shaheen Afridi against Pakistan, India decided to shield him against left-arm seamer Trent Boult in the match versus the Kiwis. For the same purpose, they sent Ishan Kishan to open ahead of Rohit, thus separating the prolific Rohit-KL Rahul pair. The move backfired as Kishan fell cheaply and the rest of the innings just petered away. Rohit coming at three meant skipper Virat Kohli had moved down to four. The batting line-up was completely messed up and so was India’s performance. Their bowling was listless, in a sense backing their poor batting.

Moeen Ali not bowling against New Zealand

England all-rounder Moeen Ali was impressive with his off-spin during the T20 World Cup. He even bowled in the powerplays and made a significant impact. However, England made the strange decision of not bowling Moeen at all in the semi-finals against New Zealand. The move backfired very badly as the rest of the bowlers, barring Liam Livingstone, did not make an impact on Kiwi bowlers. Chris Jordan was whacked for 31 in three, Mark Wood went for 34 in four while Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid conceded 36 and 39 in their four overs respectively. Things could have been different had Moeen bowled.

Hasan Ali’s selection for the semi-final against Australia

Even if one does not want to be too harsh on Hasan Ali, the question is bound to be raised if Pakistan’s fortunes could have been different had he not played the semis. Ali was poor throughout the tournament. He kept conceding easy runs, bowling no-balls and misfielded a few as well. However, Babar Azam backed the bowler right through, very well knowing the dangers. The decision came back to bite Pakistan, on the big day in the semis. Ali first conceded plenty of runs to keep Australia in the game and then dropped the catch of Matthew Wade that pretty much sealed Pakistan’s fate in the tournament.

New Zealand’s slow crawl in final

Having been sent in to bat in the final, New Zealand needed to post a big total of the board. However, they got off to an extremely cautious start, which hurt their cause in a big way. The Kiwis scored at less than a run-a-ball in the first 10 overs. They were 57 for 1 at the halfway stage. Immediately after, Martin Guptill fell for a painstaking 28 from 35 balls completely throwing the innings off gear. The genius of Kane Williamson lifted the Kiwis to 172 for 4. But the way Australia batted, New Zealand were at least 20-25 runs short.

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