With back-to-back defeats, India's prospect of entering the final of the Asia Cup 2022 is dimming. Making into the super 4 leniently, the Indian team is stumbling at a crucial stage and is pushed to where the fans are despair over its performances and most of them are recalling how they miss former Indian captain, MS Dhoni, on the battlefield. Their reactions on social media have sparked a trend as they express their disappointments with the current Indian fleet.
The 15th edition of the Asia Cup is underway in the United Arab Emirates and after the league stage, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanisthan entered the super 4 bowl and the top two teams will enter the finals. At the outset, it appeared that arch-rivals India and Pakistan would lock horns in the finals as they displayed their potential in the league and since it is an Asia Cup, the fans await to witness the fight between the two teams. However, the pictures were changed dramatically in the super 4 as India opened with a shocking defeat from Pakistan followed by a nail-biting loss against Sri Lanka.
India and Sri Lanka battled on Tuesday in Dubai and in the stipulated 20 overs, India put 173 runs on board by losing eight wickets, thanks to skipper Rohit Sharma whose splendid batting rescued the men in blue from the fall. With good support from Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma scored 72 runs off 41 balls with five fours and four sixes. While Kohli disappointed the fans with his duck dismissal, the rest of the batsmen were restricted to low scores. The Indian team later realized that the lack of a good opening stand and back-to-back fall of wickets would cost them a crucial match.
The chasers put a great opening and drove their team to the target. Sri Lanka lost its first wicket at 97 and eventually, they chased the target and scored 174 runs by losing four wickets with one ball to spare. In a thrilling match, Sri Lanka defeated India by six wickets and stands first in the super 4 points table with two consecutive victories. On the other hand, the loss has heavily distressed the Indian cricket fans and for them, it has reminisced the absence of MS Dhoni on the pitch.
The moment when they realized the absence could probably be Pant's attempt to hit the stump as a wicket-keeper when both the batsmen were running between the crease. Pant missed it as the ball went straight to the bowler Arshdeep Singh, who missed to hit the stump on the other end. By this time, the Sri Lanka batsmen ran two runs and reached the target and started celebrating the victory while the Indian fleet is stumbling with testing times.
India currently stands in third place in the points table and is in the likely situation of getting eliminated from the tournament. After the shocking defeat, several Indian cricket fans took to social media to express their minds on how they took this loss and they also posted visuals of how much they miss MS Dhoni behind the stumps. One Twitter user posted a video of Dhoni's brilliant stumping and wrote, "Today I missed Mahi more than my ex." Another user wrote, "We miss you dhoni the captain and leader."
Several Tweeple revisited Dhoni's last ball stumping in a match against Bangladesh where India would win by one run. Another user wrote, "Dhoni we really missing your captaincy." Reacting to Rohit's captaincy, one user said, "Yesterday, watching Rohit Sharma getting stressed out shows how important it is to stay calm in a tense game like Ind vs SL. There are many lessons the Indian team can take from MS Dhoni." An ardent fan wrote, "Missing Dhoni the wicketkeeper, Missing Dhoni the captain, those were the days."
Can India enter the finals?
The Indian team has incredibly reduced their chances to enter the finals. However, the team has still left with a window to make it through. It is obvious that India has lost a must-win match against Sri Lanka and it is more obvious that there are three more matches left in the Super 4 bowl and India can only enter the finals if things are in favour of the men in blue. So, how can India enter the finals? Firstly, they must win their next match against Afghanistan with a good Net Run Rate. It may change the game.
As Sri Lanka has won two matches, they are on their way to the finals and if India wishes to repay them in the finals, then Pakistan has to lose all their remaining matches. So far, Pakistan has won its first match by defeating India. If it happens, India can get a chance through the Net Run Rate. India has to increase its run rate with a big victory against Afghanistan and the run rate has to exceed Pakistan's tally.
In the rest matches, the fixtures have to be like this for India to enter the finals-- Afghanistan beat Pakistan, India beat Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka beat Pakistan. If this was the end result of the Super 4 bowl, India will get a chance with high run rate than Pakistan and as Afghanistan has already lost one match, it will leave the tournament if India beats it by a high margin.
India's fate would be measured right from today as Pakistan will be locking horns with Afghanistan. If Pakistan wins, India's chances to enter the finals would diminish further. India will be taking on Afghanistan on Thursday while Pakistan will play against Sri Lanka on Friday. For the Indian fans, all these matches would be nail-biting as their results would have an impact on India's leg into the finals, which be held on Sunday.