Why Harman & Co crumble under pressure

Team India have collapsed in two World Cup finals and have let the trophy slip away, mainly due to the mismanagement of pressure.

The Indian team was on a roll in the 2017 ODI World Cup. It was courtesy of some sensational hitting from Harmanpreet Kaur in the semifinal that India beat Australia all ends up.

They were in a winning position against England in the final as well. Chasing 229, the team was going smoothly at 191/3 but was not able to close out the match.

The same thing happened in the final of the 2020 T20 World Cup as well where the team had beaten Australia in the league stage and was looking extremely strong. However, they did not turn up altogether on the day of the final and it was a completely one-sided affair as Australia lifted the trophy and India suffered the heartbreak of getting knocked out in another World Cup final.

Not many have articulated the problem better than former Indian cricketer Hemlata Kala, who was appointed as a selector in 2015 before becoming the head of the panel in 2016.

“Players have to be ready to play the big games. But they were not despite having a good mix of youth and experience. Maybe they were under pressure. In 2017, there was a massive batting collapse too. We were 191 for three, chasing 229 but we were not able to. There was no reason to panic but we did. We beat Australia in the semifinals with Harmanpreet playing a blinder and we also beat them in the league of World T20 next year.”

“And the issue of handling pressure remains till date though the team is fully capable of going all the way and has shown that by beating top teams like Australia and England regularly. We tend to falter in the final, pressure has played a role in that. Australia are used to handling pressure, we are not. We beat them in 2017 (semis), 2018 (league stage) and now also we beat them in the league stage in the last edition. Like I said, we need to figure out how to handle pressure in finals. I am hopeful the team breaks the jinx in the next World Cup.”

But, the handling of pressure will only come with experience. The more high-pressure games India play, the better for them.

Saksham Mishra

Justifying hours of watching sports by scribbling down a few logical lines that might just about hold your interest. Was not talented enough to make it as a professional cricketer, so the next best logical option was to enroll in a Mass Communication course, and write about sports instead. Because, what else is there to write about in this world, right?
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