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Women's T20 World Cup 2023

Ranked: Every India knockout defeat in a global tournament since 2014, from least heartbreaking to most

Sarah Waris by Sarah Waris
@swaris16 7 minute read

The “knockout jinx” continues in Indian cricket after the women’s team was eliminated from the semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup last week.

It was the 12th time since 2014 that either the men’s or the women’s team have exited after making the semi-final of a world event. Sarah Waris ranks the heartbreaking defeats from least painful to most.

12. 2021 World Test Championship final v New Zealand

Summary: India were undone by the swing at Southampton, as they were bowled out for 217 & 170. New Zealand hardly broke a sweat, winning by eight wickets to win the maiden WTC final.

The feeling of a historic win in Australia would still have been lingering, as India upheld their status as the “team to beat”, negating a last-minute change in the points system to make it to the final. At the final frontier, though, they were outplayed and it ended up being one of the most heartbreaking losses of the past decade. brought up.


11. 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final v England

Summary: India finished on 168-6 batting first in the semi-final at Adelaide, recovering from 75-3 in 11.2 overs courtesy of a splendid 33-ball 63 by Hardik Pandya. The target was chased down in 16 overs by the England openers.

Buoyed by a Virat Kohli masterclass against Pakistan, India made their way to the semis. Along the way, they encountered rain during the Bangladesh game and a possible fake fielding incident which could have changed the result of the game. The unconvincing league-stage performance was highlighted by the inability of the openers to get going, some forgettable death bowling and questionable tactics. It all came crashing in the semi-final, as England ran away with the game with little contest.

10. 2018 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final v England

Summary: India made waves ahead of the clash, dropping star player Mithali Raj after reports of a rift between her and Harmanpreet Kaur emerged. The off-field drama was reflected on the field as India were bowled out for 112 in the semi-final. England chased it down in 17.1 overs with eight wickets to spare.

Unbeaten in the league stages, including a win over Australia, India had all their games in Guyana on a wicket that had plenty of help for the spinners. However, a shift in the venue proved to be challenging, considering their lack of fast bowling depth. The semi-final, in Antigua, called for bowlers who had pace and could swing the ball. All overs by the Indians were sent down by the spinners. Even then, the game was over much earlier, with India collapsing from 89-2 to 112 all out in the first innings.

9. 2017 Champions Trophy final v Pakistan

Summary: A no-ball by Jasprit Bumrah gave Fakhar Zaman a life when he was on three. There was no looking back for the opener, who went on to score 114 in Pakistan’s 338-4. In reply, only Hardik Pandya (76 in 43) could cross 25 runs as India were bowled out for 158, handing Pakistan a 180-run win.

Ahead of the final on Father’s Day, the India broadcasters ran advertisements predicting a win for Kohli & Co, terming them the “baap” (father) of Pakistan in ICC events. Prior to the game, India had won 13 of 15 games against their neighbours. In the final though, the track record mattered little. India fans switched off after they succumbed to 72-6 and it is a game best erased from their memories.

8. 2015 World Cup semi-final v Australia

Summary: Australia batted first in Sydney, with a 182-run stand between Aaron Finch and Steve Smith taking the game away from India. The hosts posted 328-7 on the board in the first off-day for the bowlers in the edition. Defending champions India were no match, all out for 233.

India had already exceeded expectations after winning all six games in the league stages, with the bowlers coming good. Prior to the event, India’s bowlers, led by Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma along with Mohammed Shami, had been expensive in the tri-series that featured Australia and England, but they were the standouts in the World Cup, picking up all 60 wickets in the first six games. The semis ouster, was thus, not as disappointing as India had already punched above their weight.

7. 2014 T20 World Cup final v Sri Lanka

Summary: The final will be best remembered for Yuvraj Singh’s 21-ball 11, which the left-hander has described as the “worst day” of his career. Yuvraj came out to bat at 64-4 in 63 deliveries with a well-set Kohli at the other end. However, the Indian innings lacked the final flourish as they managed 130-4, which was not enough.

Making a comeback in the event, Yuvraj’s recovery from cancer to play for India again was an inspiring story, but the sight of him struggling to get going was truly heartbreaking to see for India fans. He did not play another T20I game for two years.

6. 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup v Australia

Summary: Chasing 185, the Indians were no match for Australia in the final, getting all out for 99 after a dreadful day on the field. Deepti Sharma top-scored with 33, as the jam-packed stadium witnessed a one-sided affair.

India got off to a flier, defeating Australia in the opener before proceeding to win all their other league games. Building onto their earlier successes, Harmanpreet’s team excelled in difficult conditions, with the edition also marking the arrival of Shafali Verma. Their semis against England was washed out, and they advanced to the final courtesy of finishing higher in the points table. There was unprecedented hype for the summit clash, against Australia, with record TV viewership numbers and attendance at the MCG. Sadly, India failed to really turn up.

5. 2016 T20 World Cup semi-final v West Indies

Summary: Though India posted 192 on the board, they were always going to be under the pump at the Wankhede Stadium, a high-chasing venue. Up against the golden T20 generation of West Indies players, India floundered with the ball, as five of their six bowlers went for more than 10 runs an over.

Favourites at home, India were dealt an early blow at the event after losing the opener by 47 runs on a turner in Nagpur. They won by a run against Bangladesh and had shown signs of dismembering before a Kohli special against Australia. Kohli top-scored with 89* in the semi-final again, and was the lone warrior for India throughout the edition. In the semis, though, the team had no answers against Lendl Simmons, and the sight of a dejected Kohli, hands on his knees, still seems all to fresh.

4. 2022 Commonwealth Games final v Australia

Summary: Another heartbreak at the hands of Australia. Chasing 161 to win Gold, India needed 44 runs in 34 deliveries with eight wickets in hand. They were eventually shot out for 152 with Harmanpreet top-scoring with 65. The skipper could not afford a smile even as the Silver was handed over to the team, coming so close to a historic win.

The Women’s team, still searching for their first senior title, came nine runs close, but couldn’t hold on to their nerves. Having constantly pushed Australia in the past, this was an occasion where a life-changing win was within reach. It was not to be.

3. 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final v Australia

Summary: Two copy-past defeats by India against Australia in the span of six months. This time, it was the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final in South Africa. Having seen Australia post 172, India kept the run rate within check despite losing their first three wickets for 28. They needed 40 in the last 33 balls with six wickets in hand before the run-out of Harmanpreet. They could never recover thereafter and went down by five runs.

It seemed like India never arrived in the World Cup, with Smriti Mandhana being the only consistent performer in the league stages. Despite a narrow win against Ireland and a defeat against England, they qualified for the semis. With England – a team they have not yet defeated in the T20 World Cup in the past – getting eliminated from the semi-final, a win against Australia would have presented them with a golden chance of winning a trophy. Five runs made all the difference. A sobbing Harmanpreet, who was unwell before the clash and played with fever, was painful to see for India fans.

2. 2019 World Cup semi-final v New Zealand

Summary: India avoided hosts England in the semi-final clash, but ran into a resurgent New Zealand instead. Over a semi-final that lasted two days, India had the early edge as they reduced the Kiwis to 69-2 in 18.2 overs but fighting knocks from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor pushed them to 239-8. Under swinging conditions, India were reduced to 5-3 before Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni gave hopes of a turnaround. From 92-6, India fought back to 208-6, but quick wickets brought the end.

India had lost only one game in the league stage, against England, and topped the group. They seemed to be firm favourites to win against New Zealand, which made the loss even tougher to digest. It turned out to be Dhoni’s swansong, and there were visible tears as he walked back to the pavilion after his runout. Rohit Sharma made five hundreds, and the rest of the team chipped in with individual bits, but they couldn’t go all the way.

1. 2017 Women’s World Cup final England

Summary: Needing 229 runs to win at Lord’s, it looked well within sight for India at 191-3 in 42.5 overs. They eventually lost by nine runs.

The tournament properly caught attention when Harmanpreet Kaur smashed a blistering 171* against Australia in the semi-final. The innings probably changed the complexion of women’s cricket in the country, with fans tuning out in huge numbers to witness the final. From living under the shadows to emerging as a serious contender, India forced the world to watch in awe as they came within distance of what would have been a historic win.

The collapse still sends waves of sadness with the image of a distraught Jhulan Goswami looking on truly heartbreaking. A win could have changed so much.

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