The familiar feeling of heartbreak

Despondency gripped the Wankhede Stadium for the second time in 29 years when India was shut out of a World Cup. It was the World Cup in 1987 when teary-eyed spectators left the stadium after the home team was ‘swept’ out of the competition by Graham Gooch.

If there was one photo that encapsulated India's heartbreaking loss to West Indies in the World T20 semifinal, it has to be this. Virat Kohli couldn't have done more for his team but his mammoth efforts were in vain against a determined Windies side.   -  Getty Images

The 1987 capitulation to England, for which Gooch made a 136-ball 115 after the visitor was put in because the Indians trusted their skills at chasing a target, came from poor shot selection.   -  Hindu archives (N. Sridharan)

Despondency gripped the Wankhede Stadium for the second time in 29 years when India was shut out of a World Cup. It was the World Cup in 1987 when teary-eyed spectators left the stadium after the home team was ‘swept’ out of the competition by Graham Gooch.

The other night, the audience departed shell-shocked. They had seen the T20 World Cup being snatched from their grasp by a hard-hitting assault by a motivated West Indian team where Chris Gayle flopped, but a new hero emerged in Lendl Simmons.

The experience was shattering for the passionate Eden Gardens spectators in 1996 when an artist named Aravinda de Silva produced a gem to put Sri Lanka in the final of the World Cup.

Burden of tag?

Interestingly, on all three occasions India was the favourite to emerge the champion. Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin and M. S. Dhoni were the skippers who suffered the mortification of making an untimely and unpleasant exit from the tournament.

The 1987 capitulation to England, for which Gooch made a 136-ball 115 after the visitor was put in because the Indians trusted their skills at chasing a target, came from poor shot selection. Maninder Singh was the best spinner on view, but ironically it was off-spinner Eddie Hemmings who lured India to its doom. The preceding day Pakistan had been shut out by Australia in Lahore and the Indians may have celebrated the exit of their neighbour a trifle early.

The 1996 match was a traumatic time for Indian cricket. India erred in electing to bowl and paid the penalty on a rapidly deteriorating pitch. A sobbing Vinod Kambli presented a poignant image of the climax as Match Referee Clive Lloyd awarded the match to Sri Lanka following crowd trouble at the Eden. Once again, the Indians had had no clue against the slow bowlers.

India could not hide behind excuses on Friday. The home team was flattened by a torrent of power-packed shots, some landing in the second tier of the stadium. The toss may have favoured the West Indies, but it was definitely the better team. The stunned audience held back its tears and slowly came to terms with the fact that West Indies was better-prepared and equipped to deal with the home team and its supporters.