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ICC World Cup 20323: Fortune favours the ‘Blue’


Over the last four weeks time and again, every time India took the field, chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ were quite common with eardrums. These chants were often celebratory, and sometimes stray and stray as the crowd felt that India had fallen behind and were trying to catch up with their opponents.

The IS Men in blue carrying the passionate support, but also the expectations, of more than a billion people. As the highlights draw closer, they may lose sleep over the huge pressure of the World Cup at home. More so, because they are yet to win a World Cup since 2011, as they reached the semi-finals in each of the past two editions and were also blocked in the Twenty20 World Cup.

To win, India need to bring out their great batsmen – be it the supercharged Virat Kohli, or the charismatic Rohit Sharma, playing with the added incentive of a do-or-die battle in his city native, Mumbai — and his bowlers, especially the clever and seasoned pacers Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, to be played to their limits, and maybe some more.

Moreover, pitch conditions have been more than friendly to Indian batsmen so far, and if he wanted to chase totals, the opponents could manage little to avoid the distraction, in case that India’s pinpoint consistency would be with the willow. Under these circumstances, the side is largely banking on chase master Kohli, who is breathing down Tendulkar’s neck with as many as 48 ODI centuries, and is a century away from surpassing that mark.

Furthermore, the 6-0 record is no mean feat, as the Blue Army, more often than not, were able to make the most of their collective talents – batting, bowling, fielding. If anything, India boast a stronger squad to call upon than 2019, thanks to the emergence of Shubman Gill to help Rohit and others pile up big scores in the first 20 overs. Especially with the Indian conditions perfectly suited to the number of dominant batsmen in the team, coach Rahul Dravid has found more onus on the top and middle order to dig in and keep the wickets flowing. at a constant rate.

A deep and diverse Indian squad with the likes of Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya, led by hitman Rohit and a hostile Kohli, India’s top-order team is as formidable as it gets. With their top players fielding in the side, fans could be in for an unrelenting run on a flat batting deck with no signs of slowing down, as the competition takes on a more important phase in the coming weeks before us.

Also Read: ICC World Cup 2023: Shami is not done yet!

But if India are not called champions, who will be?

Australia have won four of the last six World Cups and never surrendered a prize. This was very much reflected in how they pulled off a miraculous comeback in the competition after a number of embarrassing defeats. Skipper Pat Cummins, a man of determination even by Australian standards, is desperate to prove that he has a future as well as a great history as a leader and player. But Australia’s alluring unpredictability on the ground and the edge of previous fears are probably at the point in a cycle of a once-dominant team whose reputation inspires rather than intimidates rivals.

South Africa is the team that is overdue for success on the big stage. The rankings say there are three Proteas in the world’s top 10 in batting (ODIs), with Quinton de Kock and Heinrich Klassen way ahead of India’s batting mainstay Kohli. The team has quality, balance and variety, including an interesting newcomer in Indian-origin spin specialist Keshav Maharaj. Also known for choking on big days, they are expected to overcome their woeful record in ICC tournaments and make it to the final.

Pakistan will – who knows? This is, at once, the joy and the frustration of it. Bangladesh look tired and beaten, in Sri Lanka as ever guts and smarts but probably not enough firepower and England have fallen below Bangladesh in the rankings.

If there is anyone for whom this tournament is as important as India, it is Afghanistan. They are now a better team, as much on paper as they are on the pitch, and have the incentive to go into the knockouts.

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