World Cup 2023: Four Factors that could decide India's fortunes
India are going through a winning run in the ongoing edition of the World Cup 2023. They have rolled over the teams with ultimate ease and turned out to be too hot to handle for the opponents at times. After their victory over New Zealand, the Men in Blue have sealed their spot in the semifinal.
As the tournament reaches its business end, there will be several dimensions added to the tournament. India will also have to adapt quickly to avoid hiccups in the crunch games. In this piece, we look at the four factors that could dictate India’s fortunes in the tournament.
Rohit Sharma’s intent
Rohit Sharma has been an absolute beast in the powerplay throughout the year. And the Indian skipper has continued that gung-ho approach in the World Cup, providing a terrific start to the team consistently. Rohit’s high attacking intent has negated the new-ball threat completely despite India chasing under the lights in all five matches.
India have the best strike rate (104.67) in the powerplay this World Cup, and Rohit has contributed heavily to the cause. But Rohit will need to keep up the attacking approach in the crucial assignments against teams like England and South Africa. The decks in the remaining World Cup matches will be pleasant for batting, increasing the value of a brisk start to provide impetus to the innings early on.
Hardik Pandya’s injury
Hardik Pandya’s value can be determined by the fact that India had to change two players to balance the XI against New Zealand. But India can not afford to lose Hardik now. He has improved significantly in both aspects and if Hardik plays, India can afford to play Mohammed Shami as well.
While Hardik’s expertise as a batter was always known, his recent improvement as a bowler has helped India significantly. He bowls as the third pacer in the team ahead of Shardul Thakur. He bowls at a good pace and in the right areas to sync himself nicely in the role of an enforcer.
India’s chances will hang a lot on how Hardik Pandya goes fitness-wise. A fit Pandya does everything for the team in all the departments. He completes the team, ideally.
Mohammed Shami or Shardul Thakur?
Mohammed Shami proved his worth immediately by taking a five-fer against New Zealand in Dharamsala. He should have always played ahead of Shardul Thakur, but an injury to Hardik Pandya opened the gates for him. This spell should clear all doubts, and Shami should hold his position.
If India gets back to Thakur, once Pandya returns, the bowling will weaken significantly again. Shami can easily help India restrict opponents to a below-par total, as he did against New Zealand. Jadeja also showed good indications with the bat against the Kiwis, which should enable India to stick with Mohammed Shami in the upcoming games as well.
Performance of spinners
The Indian team have the best spin duo in this World Cup. However, New Zealand batters showed they can be put under pressure if attacked early on. The upcoming games of the Indian team will be on batting-friendly decks, and the spinners will have to be at their best to avoid carnage.
If the slow bowlers don’t get wickets, the batters in the top-tier teams can be hard to check. A lot will depend on how quickly the spinners adapt to the flat tracks at venues like Mumbai and Kolkata. They should learn from the New Zealand game and not try too many things with the ball.