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Thursday, March 12, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup: Team India, Updates And More…



The biggest surprise of the ICC Cricket World Cup-2015, I think, has been the superlative performance of Team India, not only for the Indian fans but also for the whole cricketing world as everybody saw how the team performed in England and Australia just before the mega world event began. I have personally expressed my anguish in these pages on many occasions and even in my last post (circumstances forced me to take a long break, but was following everything keenly) I called Team India ‘a disillusioned listless disgruntled side’. Well, how depressing it was to watch the team losing to England—a side lot weaker and now obliterated from World Cup-2015. However, all along the underlying impression or belief was that India were not playing to its true potential and both internal and external factors like lack of confidence or application, apparent discontentment within the team, BCCI upheavals, disorder in the batting order and Mahendra Singh Dhoni suddenly running away from Test captaincy. It was of paramount importance for the team to regroup quickly for the world event.

And, how dramatically they have put behind the negativity and regrouped with determination, courage and intense motivation. They have excelled in all the departments—batting, bowling and fielding. The world cricket fraternity watched in wonderment, and the Indian fans were ecstatic relishing, cheering every moment of it. Team India has started with archrivals Pakistan beating them in a largely one sided affair and for millions of fans it was like winning the World Cup. They kept on winning against South Africa, West Indies, Ireland and UAE in fully convincing way except for a little hiccup against the West Indies. Completing the 5th consecutive win India have topped the Pool-B with just one match against Zimbabwe coming up. They have also made a record of winning 9 consecutive WC matches and Dhoni has become the best winning captain. All batsmen, particularly Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, delivered for the team and Rohit Sharma coming good too with the captain playing a crucial leadership innings for the win over West Indies. Pacers, chiefly Shami, and spinners are both doing extremely well not allowing any side to score 300 runs in a tournament where totals of 400+ are being witnessed with Australia making the highest ever 417 runs against Afghanistan. And, team India has become one of the best fielding sides of the world too.


In Pool-B the situation is still fluid with South Africa qualifying for the quarterfinals crushing UAE in today’s match, but for the other two spots there are three teams—Pakistan with 6 points have to beat Ireland in their last league match and West Indies will have to beat UAE a with big margin to pip Ireland who caused a major upset of the World Cup defeating West Indies earlier. At the moment Ireland has 6 points and West Indies only 4 points with one match to go for both teams.

In Pool-A New Zealand topped the group with some astounding cricket being the only the second unbeaten team apart from India. In this group Bangladesh have created history by qualifying for the quarterfinals for the first time ever by eliminating England, they entered the Super Eight in 2007 which was played on round-robin basis that time. They eliminated India in that World Cup and now are likely to meet India in the quarterfinals because in the unlikely event of Bangladesh beating super New Zealand in their last encounter they are set to occupy the 4th spot in Pool-A. Bangladesh at the moment is super charged for the blockbuster and is already preparing to meet and hopefully toppling India. Team India will be very aware of what Bangladesh had done to them in 2007, and realistically speaking with the kind of cricket they are playing it should not be a huge problem to overcome Bangladesh in the knockout state. However, you never know with cricket and no team can be overestimated or underestimated on a particular day. New Zealand is likely to meet Pakistan or Ireland or West Indies in the quarters. The overall picture for the other quarterfinals will be clear in a day or two.

It is really exciting and tantalizing to speculate who will win the World Cup-2015 from here on. Key players of most teams like AB deVilliers and Amla for South Africa, Glenn Maxwell, Clarke and Steven Smith for Australia, Brendon McCullum and Guptil for New Zealand, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni for India, Kumar Sangakkara who has already created history by becoming the first cricketer to hit 4 consecutive centuries in ODIs or World Cups and Dilshan for Sri Lanka are all in super form and set to play pivotal roles in the knockout stage. Not to speak of the key bowlers and fielders.

India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and even Pakistan are all capable of winning the Cup. Therefore, it is better not to speculate too much and instead relax, watch and enjoy the great cricket show. And of course, cheering on Team India!
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