by Sudipta Biswas
India’s winning spree in One-Day-International (ODI) cricket continues as the visitors have defeated New Zealand 4-1 in fifth and final ODI of the five-match series to keep their domination in the 50-overs cricket intact. It is a good sign for the Men in Blue that they have been clicking all right boxes as a team just four months away from the marquee event, ICC World Cup 2019, in England.
India’s overwhelming victory in New Zealand has come in the wake of their maiden bilateral ODI series win in Australia. Earlier, India humiliated South Africa at their own den by handing them 5-1 series defeat in February 2018.
Hence, the world no. 2 has been reckoned as the biggest contender for the World Cup title in England, taking cue of their superb performances in limited overs cricket.
Since Virat Kohli’s team has been in good form, particularly their exploits in overseas conditions in the year 2018 which is followed by their jubilant performances Down Under in 2019 made cricket fans believe that the team from subcontinent has the high potential to lift the coveted title after 1983 and 2011.
Now, the biggest question is would Men in Blue be able to emulate Kapil Dev’s India of 1983 at the Lord’s cricket stadium on July 14?
India created home atmosphere away
One of the biggest talking points of India’s consistent show in ODIs is their ability to establish home feeling in away conditions.
India had often been touted as poor travellers. But, the trend has altered recently as this Indian team has shown that they could tame the oppositions regularly.
India started the year 2018, with their dominating display in South Africa when they clinched their maiden ODI series against the Proteas which was followed by their dominance Down Under in 2019.
Nevertheless, riding on their overseas exploits India will begin their World Cup campaign as a serious title contender.
One of the key factors behind India’s clinical display away from home is captain, Virat Kohli, himself. Kohli is leading the charge from the front. The prolific Indian batsman has been in sensational form and he got off to a beautiful start to 2019.
His ability to adapt the away conditions and sound technique to play bowlers, irrespective of home-away series, has become crucial to India’s success. His captaincy skills and knack of leading the team from the front have motivated his fellows to perform in order to gain a better result. At the same time, his desire to lead India to third World Cup title could well rebrand his image as only the third Indian skipper to lift the yellow metal.
An outstanding bowling attack is a big plus for India
India was never known for their bowling; rather the later had become their main headache in previous decades time and again. Inconsistency was the word that used to go with Indian bowling attack. But, things have changed in recent time as the current team has been enjoying the services of some of the best bowlers of Indian cricket. The likes of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are a sure shot for Indian XI in the World Cup while Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav occupy the slots dedicated to spinners. They completed the five bowlers’ theory for India.
While Bumrah has been given rest from limited-overs series in Australia and New Zealand following his larger than life contributions in India’s maiden Test series in Australia in 71 years that came after 11 attempts, the likes of Shami and Bhuvneshwar have been playing their part successfully.
When it comes to spin bowling Indian think-tank would not like to tinker with anymore options as Chahal and Yadav offer India the best possible experience. Their variation and crafts have appeared as oppositions’ biggest threat.
On the other hand, Hardik Pandya’s all-round abilities will add strength to the Indian bowling and batting attack simultaneously. Pandya has been taking wickets regularly and contributing with the bat when it matters the most.
So, with such a bowling attack India will have the best possible chance to clinch their third World Cup title.
Alongside a consistent bowling attack, India has a batting attack that can destroy any bowling attack on any day. While the top order is comprised of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli presence of MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Pandya in the middle order have made Indian batting attack a formidable one.
Meanwhile, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik’s presence means India has a strong pool of back-up players.
Why India has the best chance to lift the World Cup?
With the conventional powerhouse of the game Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa have been struggling to make a mark in world cricket, India is reckoned as the biggest contender as it is the only team that has been superbly consistent in world cricket.
It would be a tough task for oppositions to stop India from lifting the title. Nevertheless, hosts England and in-form South Africa, who defeated Pakistan in the recently concluded home series, could appear as India’s biggest challenge in their way to third World Cup title clinch in this English summer.
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