It’s time, after 12 years, a chance for the Indian team to attempt to lift the most prestigious trophy in cricket – the World Cup. However, this time the team has been much more ruthless, and strong and are yet to lose a game in the 2023 edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. This kind of dominance is unusual and pleasantly surprising by the Indian team in an ICC event, especially in recent times considering the title drought lasting more than a decade, but a much-deserved one too as not just one player, the whole team has come together to give the results the Men in Blue were aspiring for.
Batters have scored runs, bowlers have defended the targets and when the batters had to chase, they weren’t made to chase anything above 290 even once, which shows the quality of the bowling that the Indian players have been able to showcase in the tournament. India are yet to concede 300 runs in an innings and will hope that the record stays in the final on Sunday, November 19 against Australia at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.
India started the tournament with chasing five matches on the bounce and batted first and won in the remaining five. The way the tournament has gone and with this being a final, the captain winning the toss will opt to bat first. However, even if India lose the toss, they shouldn’t be disheartened by it considering the history and conditions at Ahmedabad.
The pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium is generally a good one but it always behaves two-paced, especially at the start of the game. In the IPL too, chasing teams ruled the roost and in this World Cup too, three out of four matches have been won by the teams batting second.
Chennai Super Kings won the IPL final while chasing at this very ground. Yes, that was a T20 but the way New Zealand tracked down 283 against England in the tournament opener, almost put a marker on how the pitch was going to play and 280-290 targets won’t be huge considering the ball comes on to the bat nicely under lights. With temperatures decreasing by the day and dew being a potential factor, chasing could prove to be a blessing in disguise but obviously if a team bats first and gets to 330-340, that will be a completely different ball game.
Also, history suggests India should bat second. Out of the 12 World Cup finals, five have been won by teams batting second and out of those four were won by teams hosting (or co-hosting) the tournament. Sri Lanka in 1996, India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 (albeit via boundary count) were all hosts in the respective editions and won the tournament while chasing. Should India follow suit? Only time will tell but batting second might not be as bad as some might think, especially at Ahmedabad as it is not Mumbai or Bengaluru where the team batting first could get to 350-370 easily and since both teams have great bowling attacks, it won’t be a bad option either.
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