'A lesson in humility': Fans dismayed, pundits surprised as NZ trounce India at World Cup

It will be "nothing but a miracle" if India qualifies for the semi-finals at this stage, says Shahid Afridi.
Published October 31, 2021

Social media had a lot to say after New Zealand thrashed Twenty20 World Cup favourites India by eight wickets on Sunday to leave Virat Kohli's men facing a desperate struggle to reach the semi-finals.

Put in to bat, India's rejigged top order wilted in no time and the 2007 champions crawled to 110-7 in 20 overs in the Super 12 match.

Trent Boult took 3-20 and Ish Sodhi returned 2-17 in New Zealand's disciplined bowling display even though they spilled a couple of catches.

Daryl Mitchell made a fluent 49 and skipper Kane Williamson remained not out on 33 as New Zealand triumphed with 33 balls to spare to bounce back from the defeat by Pakistan in their tournament opener.

Fans who had been hoping to see the Indian team revive their World Cup campaign today, after their crushing 10-wicket loss to Pakistan last Sunday, used social media to express their disappointment and pan the Men in Blue's second successive below-par performance.

Indian author and editor Minhaz Merchant noted: "NZ actually looked a little embarrassed at winning so easily. They didn’t celebrate much. This is a broken Indian team, in morale & spirit."

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar termed India's show "disappointing", saying he "really expected a better & strong performance!"

The writing was on the wall well before the match ended. "Fear of failure writ large within the Indian camp. You can’t be this bad," tweeted Indian cricket journalist Vikrant Gupta.

Senior batsman Azhar Ali said during the match: "It’s not looking good for India ... but we all want India to stay in the tournament. This early exit of India won’t be good for the event."

Pakistani journalist Mohammad Malick pulled no punches in his criticism, saying "I think the insufferable arrogance of India cricket team along with the overwhelming majority of Indian fans have forced karma to teach [them] a lesson in humility … through humiliation. Let’s see if they learn even now."

Former English cricketer Michael Vaughan had a word of advice for the Indian cricket authorities.

"India should take a leaf out of all other countries … Allow their players to play in other leagues around the world to gain experience," he said.

Cricket presenter Zainab Abbas said "the alarming aspect for India has been the fact that the bowlers also have been unable to pick wickets in both the games. Lost the first by 10 wickets and this one by 8 wickets."

While optimistic, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said it would be "nothing but a miracle" if India qualified for the semi-finals at this stage.

Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle remarked that India "haven't competed" in the game. "And while it was always going to be a three-way battle in the group, I don't think anyone saw this coming," he said.

Responding to him, a user took a roundabout — but brutal — dig at the Indian team's performance in Group 2 so far.

"I don’t understand how are people comparing India with Namibia. Have you all lost your mind? Stop this non-sense and show some respect to Namibia. They have actually won one game this World Cup," they wrote.

Per usual, there was an endless supply of memes:

And Pakistanis had their schadenfreude moment once again.

Header image: Indian players celebrate after the dismissal of New Zealand's Martin Guptill (not pictured) during the Twenty20 World Cup match between India and New Zealand at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 31. — AFP