India on her way to Cricket World Cup Semi-final

By Kersi Meher-Homji

The Cricket World Cup 2019 is half way through and only two countries have remained unbeaten: New Zealand and India.

As on today the 21st June, the top four teams are: Australia 10 points from 6 matches (5 wins, one loss), NZ 9 points from five matches (four wins, no loss), England 8 points from five matches (four wins, one loss) and India 7 points from four matches (3 wins, no loss).  

The crucial match between India and NZ was abandoned due to heavy rains, each team getting one point. Also India has played least number of matches so far. India will be playing the least fancied Afghanistan tomorrow the 22nd June and is certain to win to total 9 points to be near the top of the table.

So far India has defeated two strong teams, South Africa by six wickets and Australia by 36 runs.

India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma has been outstanding so far with batting average of 159.50. In three matches he has given India excellent starts scoring 319 runs at a strike rate of almost 100, belting two aggressive centuries and a fifty.

He hit 122 unbeaten runs against South Africa, 57 against Australia and 140 against Pakistan. Other Indian batsmen to perform well are Shikar Dhawan and skipper Virat Kohli. Dhawan hit a splendid century against Australia but was injured and is reportedly out of this World Cup.

India’s victories over South Africa and Australia have been featured in my previous articles on TIDU’s website.

The match against traditional rival Pakistan aroused tremendous interest. The huge crowd waved their national flags for every wicket, every four. A six almost brought the pavilion down!

Due to injury to Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul (57 runs) opened India’s innings with Man of the Match Rohit Sharma (140 electrifying runs with 14 fours and three sixes). India totalled 5 for 336.

It rained after India’s innings but the match was resumed almost an hour later.

India’s effective fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar had hamstring injury and will be out of the World Cup. His replacement Vijay Shankar took a wicket off his first ball in World Cup cricket.

Pakistan replied with 6 for 212 and lost by Duckworth-Lewis method.

India and Pakistan have played each other seven times and India has won all seven matches.

How will India perform in forthcoming matches without the stroke-making star Dhawan and fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar?

India meets Afghanistan on 22nd June, West Indies on 27th, England on 30th, Bangladesh on 2nd July and Sri Lanka on the 6th.

My money is on India making the Final. I have full confidence in super bats Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, speedster Jasprit Bumrah, all-rounder Hardik Pandya, wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni and spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

I leave it to all-rounder Ravindra  Jadeja to take spectacular catches as 12th man.

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