Halloween wore a different disguise last night for Indian fans: an eight-wicket defeat to New Zealand has left the Indian team staring down the barrel of the gun. Sunday's loss followed last week's embarrassing episode against Pakistan where the Men in Blue surrendered their coveted 12-game winning streak in the World Cup to Babar Azam's men.
Two defeats in two games and India have gone from being the contenders for the trophy to the outsiders on the brink of an early exit. The real question here is: Can India somehow still qualify?
Well, technically, yes. But even the most optimistic part of the fanbase will be calling this an extremely long shot. This is because India's qualification hopes are no longer in their hands.
If they hope to have any means of going through, they will have to win their remaining three games against Afghanistan, Namibia, and Scotland by resounding margins in order to compensate for the poor Net Run Rate of -1.609 at the moment. Besides, they will also have to hope that New Zealand and Afghanistan lose at least one of their remaining matches.
In this particular context, New Zealand's game against Afghanistan on November 7 could end up deciding India's title aspirations. If the BlackCaps do win that game and then record victories over Namibia and Scotland as well, then they and Pakistan will progress to the next round.
However, this line of thinking takes for granted that India will win all of their remaining three games. Given the incredible form Afghanistan have been in, and the lack of quality from the Indian cricket team this time around, the former would surely be fancying themselves to cause an upset here.