Monday, September 28, 2009

A familiar situation

Watching India's incompetent performance on Saturday, and realizing that the Australia game was now a knockout affair, triggered a sneaking feeling: does India always start major tournaments poorly? It seemed to me that the Indian team has a talent for ending up in must-win (or dependent on run-rate) situations very quickly. I wasn't sure, so I went and checked just the World Cups.

The record looks something like this:

  • 2007 World Cup - lost to Bangladesh (eventually knocked out in pool round)
  • 2003 World Cup - beat the Netherlands; lost to Australia in the next, still needed to scramble against Namibia as a result; went on to final
  • 1999 World Cup - lost to South Africa (eventually knocked out by Australia in second stage)
  • 1996 World Cup - Beat Kenya, then beat the West Indies (eventually knocked out in semi-finals)
  • 1992 World Cup - Lost to England, did not qualify for semis
  • 1987 World Cup - Lost to Australia, knocked out in semis
  • 1983 World Cup - beat the West Indies, won the cup
  • 1979 World Cup - lost to West Indies, knocked out in pool round
  • 1975 World Cup - lost to England, knocked out in pool round

Not a pretty sight. In nine world cups, India have only won their opening game three times. Two of those wins have come against minnows, and in one of those occasions, they still painted themselves into a corner by losing the next game. The one time India began their campaign with a win against a major team, they won the cup.

I know this is neither here or there but it was an interesting exercise nevertheless and told me I wasn't completely deranged in thinking the situation India find themselves in today was a familiar one (at least for fans!).

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