India were the clear favourites to win the tournament when Asia Cup 2022 started. They had a strong batting line-up, some very good allrounders, a decent bowling unit and they were high on confidence after being on a winning run under Rohit Sharma's captaincy.
But, after losing two last-over thrillers against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage of the tournament, India were staring at an early exit. And after Afghanistan lost to Pakistan on Wednesday (September 7), India got knocked out of the Asia Cup.
Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by one wicket in another Super 4 thriller in Sharjah. Winless in two matches, both India and Afghanistan are out of the tournament. India will play Afghanistan on Thursday but the result of the match will have no consequence.
With four points each, Pakistan and Sri Lanka sealed their places for the Asia Cup final to be played on Sunday.
We take a look at how India crashed out of the tournament:
The loss against Pakistan: After winning the first game of the tournament, India lost to their arch-rivals in the Super 4 game. Pakistan made a stunning comeback with a 5-wicket win in Dubai on Sunday (September 4). Chasing a target of 182, Pakistan achieved their target with one ball to spare after a crucial 73-run stand between Mohammed Rizwan (71) and Mohammad Nawaz (42).
Indian bowling, especially the pace attack looked ineffective and all the five bowlers picked just one wicket each. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away 19 runs in the 19th over with only seven runs needed of the last over. Earlier, after losing the toss and asked to bat first, skipper Rohit Sharma (28) and KL Rahul (28) gave India a flying start, and a solid 60-run knock by Virat Kohli took India to a strong total of 181/7.
Upset against Sri Lanka: Even though India had lost the first Super 4 game to Pakistan, no one was expecting India to get eliminated as they had to face Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in the next two games. Sri Lanka is not the team it once used to be and India were the clear favourites. But a lacklustre performance overall by the team led to Sri Lanka staging an upset by beating India by 6 wickets on Tuesday (September 6).
Rohit Sharma's brilliant 41-ball 72 went in vain, as Sri Lanka chased down the 174-run target with a ball to spare. Needing 21 runs in 12 balls, Sri Lanka scored 14 runs off the 19th over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. And Arshdeep Singh was left with only 7 runs to defend in the last over.
This loss was what really killed India's chances and they knew they would be out of the tournament if Pakistan beat Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Poor bowling performance: India's loss in the last two Super 4 games must be put on Indian bowlers to an extent as they, especially the pace bowlers, looked completely ineffective. The bowling in the death overs looked very substandard in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
India's lead bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away 19 runs in the 19th over during the game against Pakistan and then again when the match was very close against Sri Lanka, he gave away 14 runs in the penultimate over of the match. Hardik Pandya was also very inconsistent with his bowling and his strategy of bowling short-pitched deliveries didn't work out on most occasions.