Table of Contents
- India is currently leading the ICC World Cup 2023 points table.
- The strength of India’s bowling lies in its specialist bowlers.
- India has secured victory in the ODI World Cup twice before, in 1983 and 2011.
- The current Indian batting and bowling lineup is more formidable than ever.
India is dominating the ICC World Cup 2023 with confidence after doing admirably in the 2023 Asia Cup and the home series against Australia. This time, India is hosting the World Cup, and Team India fans are anticipating their team to win the trophy for the 3rd time. In 2011, India was one of the co-hosts and won the championship under MS Dhoni’s captaincy. Virat Kohli, the sole active player from the World Cup-winning squad in 2011, is ready for the event, which is played amongst ten teams.
This time, Rohit Sharma is in charge of the squad, and the Indian cricket team will seek to do well in the competition under his guidance. The Men in Blue have a fantastic ODI record in their own country; therefore, all eyes will be on them in this World Cup. The two-time World Cup champions have a superb group that includes both seasoned players and emerging prospects with the potential to dominate the event. Before the Knockouts of 2023 World Cup, it is critical to look at Rohit Sharma and his teammates’ strengths in bowling and batting performance.
India’s Batting Lineup: Glaring Weaknesses in the 2019 World Cup
- Middle-Order Instability: India’s batting order was top-heavy with the likes of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as openers, followed by Virat Kohli at the crucial number three position. While these three were consistent run-scorers, the middle order was often found wanting. In matches where the top order didn’t fire, the middle order struggled to provide stability and build partnerships. This instability was a recurring theme throughout the tournament, making the team vulnerable when early wickets fell.
- Lack of a Reliable Finisher: One of the most significant weaknesses was India’s inability to find a reliable lower-order batsman who could act as a finisher. The role of a finisher is crucial in One Day Internationals (ODIs), especially in the later stages of the innings. The absence of a finisher who could accelerate the scoring in the final overs was a notable shortcoming. India relied heavily on MS Dhoni in this role, but as the tournament progressed, Dhoni’s form and power-hitting abilities seemed to be on the wane.
- Struggles Under Pressure: The middle-order batsmen also faced difficulties in handling high-pressure situations. In crunch matches or while chasing challenging targets, they often crumbled under pressure. The lack of composure and ability to navigate critical moments was evident in the semi-final match against New Zealand. India faced early setbacks in that match, and the middle order could not rescue the team from a precarious situation.
Lessons from the Past: How India’s Batting Has Evolved Since 2019
- Strong Opening: While they do not have Mr. ICC tournament Shikhar Dhawan with them this time, they do have the top young player in the world, Shubman Gill. Shubman Gill comes into the tournament having comfortably been the best Bator in the 50-over format for the last 12 to 15 months since the start of 2023. He has already had 2136 runs in this format to his name; it would not be an exaggeration to say that in a test of three, he is comfortably at his best in the tournament.
- Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – Dynamic Duo: Indian captain Rohit Sharma, who hammered 442 runs in 8 innings in this World Cup 2023, is the driving force behind India’s aggressive approach with the bat. He has a 55.25 batting average. Rohit is a slow starter, but there has been a significant development in his gameplay between 2015 and 2019. In ODIs, his strike rate in the first power play (overs 1 to 10) was 75.81. In the last four years (2020–2023), that figure has risen to 106.28.
- Rising to greatness: Virat Kohli has once again demonstrated that he is the best batsman in ODI history. When India was three down in the pursuit of 200 against Australia in Chennai, he guided India to safety with his 85 off 116 balls. He then went on to play an undefeated 55 in Delhi versus Afghanistan. In the world cup, he was receiving starts, but he was unable to turn them into centuries. His century in Pune against Bangladesh was the first he has scored in 20 World Cup innings since he had done it in Adelaide against Pakistan in 2015. With these results, his average while chasing in ODIs has risen to 90.40, the highest in the format’s history. In addition, his 27 centuries put him ten centuries ahead of the next-best player, Sachin Tendulkar (17).
- Batters’ accountability: The India’s exclusive opening partnership of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill sent off fireworks in the first inning at Eden Garden. Rohit’s explosive start, which included six boundaries and 26 runs, set the tone for India. While Shubham Gill joined the run fest and boundaries flooded from both ends till Rabada dismissed Rohit. Keshav Maharaj’s introduction of spin changed the game’s complexion. Despite the difficult surface, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer formed a partnership with Maharaj, whose frugal deliveries stifled the scoring rate. Both Virat and Iyer notched 50, boosting the run rate beyond 6 over per run, and the dominant partner demonstrated his aggressive purpose against Marco Jansen. Kohli maintained his cool, shifting his stroke and racing hard for singles. Because India possesses a lengthy tail, Kohli made certain that there were no weaknesses in the bottom order. He scored his century in 119 balls, which was the joint slowest in ODI history.
- Virat Kohli’s Masterclass: Virat Kohli, the modern-day cricket master, marked his 35th birthday by equaling the great Sachin Tendulkar’s global record of 49 ODI hundreds during India’s global cup match versus South Africa at Kolkata’s renowned Eden Gardens. He reached this historic milestone by scoring his 49th ODI century in India’s 49th over. Despite a difficult pitch, he demonstrated his expertise with a gutsy and well-crafted knock, eventually remaining unbeaten on 101 of 126 balls.
India Stumbled: Bowling Weaknesses in the 2019 World Cup
- Lack of a genuine fast-bowling all-rounder: India’s bowling lineup primarily relied on specialist bowlers, and they didn’t have a genuine fast-bowling all-rounder who could provide both wicket-taking options and lower-order batting support. This absence limited their flexibility in team selection and their ability to accelerate in the lower order.
- Limited backup options: India had a strong first-choice pace attack with bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However, injuries to key bowlers could have left them exposed. They didn’t have a lot of experienced backup options in case of injuries, and this lack of depth in the pace department was a potential weakness.
- Spin bowling variations: India’s spin bowling department was not as effective as expected. While they had spinners like Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, they couldn’t consistently provide breakthroughs or control the middle overs, as they often do in subcontinental conditions.
- Death bowling concerns: While Jasprit Bumrah was exceptional at death bowling, there were concerns about the other fast bowlers’ ability to bowl effectively at death overs. This could become a weakness in close matches where accurate death bowling is crucial.
- Handling pressure in high stakes matches: In the semi-final match against New Zealand, the Indian bowlers, like the batsmen, struggled to handle the pressure, especially in the initial overs of New Zealand’s innings. This was a significant weakness in a must-win match.
- Overall, India had a strong and balanced bowling attack, but these weaknesses became evident in specific situations during the World Cup. The team has since worked on improving these aspects, and Indian bowlers, especially in the fast-bowling department, have continued to shine in international cricket.
Lessons from the Past: How India’s bowling has Evolved Since ICC World Cup 2019
- If the batting is strong, the bowling may be much stronger. The return of Jasprit Bumrah has rekindled the pace attack’s flare. There is no greater spinner in white-ball cricket than Kuldeep Yadav, who is joined by Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Ravindra Jadeja’s Heroics: Impactful Performance in World Cup Matches
- Ravindra Jadeja, India’s all-rounder, has been essential to the country’s perfect record in the ICC One-Day International World Cup 2023. His adaptability and outstanding all-around contributions have not gone unnoticed. Jadeja’s abilities were significantly underutilized in the World Cup’s early matches. However, when he demonstrated his abilities with both the bat and the ball, his importance to the squad became clear. Jadeja has used the last four games to show off his all-around abilities. With the bat, he made significant runs, including an unbeaten 39 against New Zealand, 35 against Sri Lanka, and an unbeaten 29 against South Africa.
- These crucial contributions occurred in the No. 7 position and were critical to India’s win. Jadeja’s worth is not limited to his ability with the ball. He collected seven more wickets in the same four games, taking his total to an outstanding 14 wickets in eight games. His bowling prowess was on display during India’s recent triumph at Eden Gardens. He exhibited his entire range of talents. He batted well, striking an unbeaten 29 off just 15 balls, teaming with Virat Kohli to push India’s total to 326 for 5.
- His influence extended to his bowling performance as well. He took his first World Cup five-wicket haul with figures of 5 for 33 in nine overs. His command of the ball was crucial in destroying South Africa’s batting order, culminating in the team’s lowest ODI score. His extraordinary accomplishment also won him a place in history, as he became only the second Indian spinner, after Yuvraj Singh, to collect a five-wicket haul in the ODI World Cup.
Pace Powerhouse: India’s Fast Bowlers in World Cup 2023
- For the last 15 months, if Shubman Gill has been the finest ODI batsman, Mohammed Siraj has been the greatest pacer. In recent years, the possibility has made great progress. India’s seamers took 129 wickets at an average of 22.78 in 2023, the most of any calendar year in ODI history. Leading the pace attack were Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. Siraj has taken 40 wickets in ODIs this year, while Bumrah has taken 18 wickets in 10 ODIs since his comeback from injury in September, at an average of 18.27 and an outstanding economy 4.44.
- Mohammed Shami has been outstanding for Team India in this ICC World Cup in 2023. Mohammed Shami, who was on the bench for the first few games, turned out to be fantastic once he was allowed to play 11. Shami took two five-wicket hauls in three matches and surpassed Zaheer Khan as India’s leading wicket-taker in just 14 innings of the World Cup.
Successful Home Conditions: Utilizing home advantage
The host nation has won the past three World Cups. India has fantastic potential to win the World Cup for the third time by capitalizing on the familiarity of home conditions. Knowledge of the ground and audience support can work to their advantage, and venue selection for individual teams can also boost India’s chances of winning the title. India has only lost eight home matches in the last 12 months, winning 18.