India vs Afghanistan : India on the way to the semi-final.
India vs Afghanistan : India, as expected, posted comprehensive win over Pakistan by 89 runs and Virat Kohli who was the custodian of 6-0 record added his name in the record book. But can team Blue continue its great run with a victory lap at Lords at the end of the tournament?
Team India came into the tournament with lots of questions mark over the team. A lack of X-factor, Number four spot, third seamer, the form of key players.
Analysing the Team
Slowly, but the three big matches have answered it. Rohit Sharma has rediscovered his golden touch, is fantastic against the short ball with an average of 59 since CWC 2015, the kind of opener you need in English conditions.
With KL Rahul and then comes Virat Kohli, the fastest to get 11k runs which would bat through the innings. The no.4 spot is flexible with Hardik Pandya to be promoted up the order after a blazing start to put up finishing touch with lusty blows.
MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav would follow the suite. While Vijay Shankar bats at no.4 in normal circumstances and rolls his arms over for few over as he became the first bowler in the history of CWC to take the wicket of the very first ball.
With Bhuvaneshwar Kumar the batting extends up to no.8 while with Jasprit Bumrah in the team fast bowling lineup is complete. Both the bowlers are good against left-right handed batsmen with equal average. Bumrah averages 22.68 against lefties while against right-handed batsman it is 21.54. Just like his counterpart, Bhuvi averages 35.12 against right-handers and 34.77 against left-handers.
In “”Kul-Cha”” it completes the recipe of the Indian cricket team.
The fielding of team India has been top notch unlike the series against Australia.
‘India’s future encounters
With Afghanistan, West Indies, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka to come, India need two victories at the most to seal the spot in the semi-final. And going by the form, it should not be an issue. India will finish in top-2 if it plays to its potential.
Will India match up to Australia, England in the semi-final?
Though all three teams have injury issues with England suffering from the absence of Jason Roy for the next two matches and even Eoin Morgan, while Australia is sweating over the fitness of Marcus Stoinis, India had two injuries with Shikhar Dhawan ruled out of hairline fracture for the next two weeks at least with Bhuvi likely to miss upcoming two matches. But on paper, the three teams are equally matched.
England playing at home and its form of 11 undefeated series give the team the edge over other teams. With top-3 of Three Lions continuing its stupendous form into the World Cup, with X-factor of Jofra Archer and Jos Butler. Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid in the bowling department England seem to be a complete unit.
While for Australia, they have two prolific batsmen of this World Cup in David Warner, Aaron Finch with Steven Smith getting better each game and Glenn Maxwell going in top gears. In bowling, Mitch Starc is yet to hit his high-speed guns but still is leading wicket-taker of the tournament while Pat Cummins is ever reliable bowler for Finch who can be entrusted with any responsibilities at a different stage of the games. Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon is waiting in the wings and should come right at later stages of the tournament. They are more dangerous as they are yet to hit the peak of their performance.
Now, have a look at India. The no.1,2 ranked ODI batsman hitting top gears while No.1 ranked Bumrah is continuing his excellent form of last two years. Kuldeep seems like has found his foot in this World Cup after showing sparks of brilliance against Pakistan who couldn’t read him off the hand, and it looks he has increased his pace and still has the same loop that made Kuldeep dangerous.
Yuzi Chahal is outstanding at reading batsman mind, and his wicket of David Warner when Chahal made batsman hit against the wind was a perfect setup. It’s “Kul-Cha” that gave India the edge in the middle over, and both coming good is terrible news for the opposition batsman. Pakistan struggled, Australia fumbled. It will be interesting to see how England go against the spin-duo. English batsman combated the pair very well in 2018 when India toured England. But with the addition of Bumrah in full flow. It will be interesting to see how the home side plays against Indian bowlers.
While India did very well on the pitch which had something for the bowler’s at Southampton against South Africa. But if at all an area, you had to pinpoint could be the death knell for the Indian team would be, “Can this team do well on green top against bowling lineup of Kiwis? India found itself in all sorts of troubles against Trent Boult in the warm-up match hence match happening in a way robbed India of practice against quality bowling lineup irrespective of the result.
All in all, the Indian team looks like a well-oiled machine with the right mix of junior and experienced players going great guns. Every player has come good at a particular stage of the match. Even bench strength in Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami can be trusted to be delivered at point whenever opportunity knocks the door. It will be a disappointing result for India if at all it doesn’t reach finals of the tournament. In finals, talent, form apart nerves matter a lot. The Indian team has displayed great fight in crunch moments, pulling out wins in ODI cricket as they showed on an overseas tour of Australia, New Zealand.
Title: India vs Afghanistan : India on the way to the semi-final.