How India’s top five have played a key role in dominant march to final
The participation of the top five in batting has been crucial in this ICC World Cup and India’s dominant performance in the tournament so far is a testament to that. Lack of runs from this division has also led to the elimination of several teams including South Africa, who were the last team to be dismissed ahead of Sunday’s big final between India and Australia.
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India were the winning team in this tournament, finishing top of the table with nine wins in as many tours and an outstanding Net Run Rate (NRR) of +2.570. Not only would they become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals, but they would also become the first team to enter the final by scoring 70 runs in the semi-final in Mumbai.
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There are several factors behind his remarkable run in one of the dominant runs in the history of the quadrennial exhibition tournament. The Indian team has never been this clinical with bat and ball. Their pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj was impressive, especially with the new ball, and complemented the adventures of left-arm spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja perfectly.
It is also one of those rare occasions where almost every member of the top five batting has been in roaring form in the ongoing tournament, which has meant that the two-time champions have not had to rely on contributions from one or two individuals for a. healthy change.
For one, Virat Kohli tops the list of current run-scorers with 711 runs at an average of 101.57, amassing three centuries and five fifties in 10 outings – the kind of form he was in early 2012 and the summer of year 2016.
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He surpassed batting great and his childhood mentor Sachin Tendulkar along the way on a couple of fronts – becoming the first batsman to reach the 50-year ODI milestone as well as scoring the most runs in a single edition of the Trophy Earth.
Then there is skipper Rohit Sharma with 550 runs at an average of 55. Although he finds himself four places below Kohli in the batting charts for this tournament, his role in the powerplay could very well be the biggest vital. After all, the opening power play has been a draw or a draw in some matches and Rohit’s ability to get away from the word go helped India absorb pressure early and make the task easier for the rest of the matches. batting order.
It was a case in point in the match against South Africa in Kolkata played on a tricky pitch at Eden, where India still managed to amass 91 runs in the powerplay – eight more than the Proteas managed.
There is a third member of the team in the top 10 batsmen in Shreyas Iyer, who started the tournament on a slightly lackluster note but has gone on in style with four more consecutive fifties including a century in each one of the last two trips. There were some murmurs of the possibility of playing Suryakumar Yadav two-down ahead of Iyer but the Kolkata Knight Riders Captain has ended the debate with 526 runs at 75.14.
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And let’s not forget KL Rahul’s underrated contributions to the team’s cause. Not only was he superb behind the stumps – with his glovework as well as decision-making in taking revisions – he was extremely handy at the No. 5 for different roles.
Whether it is to absorb pressure and steer the team out of trouble as when India were reduced to 2/3 chasing 200 against Australia in their tournament opener, or blasting a first-ball 62 against the Netherlands – the fastest by an Indian in World Cup history. Rahul might not have had as many runs as his teammates, sitting well outside the top 10 with 386 at 77.20, but his offense was as little as anyone else’s.
Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget how Shubman Gill improved by leaps and bounds in his maiden World Cup outing. Certainly among the players to stand out from the World Cup alongside South Africa’s Gerald Coetzee, Gill was sidelined for the first few games due to a bout of dengue, with Ishan Kishan opening alongside Rohit against Australia and Afghanistan . He would then register scores of 16, 26 and 9 in three of his first four matches before catching up with the rest of the star-studded batting line-up with three more fifties in his next four matches.
Gill was not as explosive as Rohit in the powerplay or as Iyer and Rahul in the death game but he was valuable when it came to building solid partnerships in the middle with a Kohli-like approach. Let’s not forget the perfect foil he plays for Rohit’s slam-bang approach in the next 10 overs.
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High order batters usually dominate the current charts and this edition was no different. Five of the top 10 batsmen are those who open full-time or have done so for the majority of the tournament. And not one of them bats beyond the No 4 spot, except for Mitchell Marsh, who was to move down the order after Travis Head’s return to the top of the Aussie batting lineup.
More than individual contributions, how the best five clicks go a long way in deciding the outcome of a match, especially a knock out. It was quite clear in the two semi-finals; India had gone as far as 200 with the loss of just two wickets, giving Iyer and Rahul the license to launch a full-blooded attack and take their score to 397. New Zealand would lose two wickets at the same time as 39 and despite the heroic fight from Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson with their 181-run third wicket stand were always playing catch up and would eventually fall short by 70 runs.
It was even more evident in the second semi-final, where South Africa were reduced to 24/4 after opting to bat before a brilliant 101 from David Miller rescued them to a respectable total of 212. Australia, in stark contrast, would , race. to 60 without loss in six games and the battle was half won by then. Despite excitement in the middle thanks to a spirited back from the Proteas spin department, Australia needed only a calm mind to qualify for the final.
India have everything to lift the coveted trophy for the third time in four attempts on Sunday. However, with reports hovering over the possibility of a slow surface being used for Sunday’s summit clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the way Rohit, Kohli and the rest of the back five operate may the best ones are the difference.
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