India got off to an excellent start and as the tournament proceeds excitement and expectation is mounting. Can India repeat their 2011 performance and take home the Cricket World Cup? In interviews, Virat Kohli has remained cautious, determined, perhaps rightly, not to become over-confident. Nevertheless, India currently looks highly likely to make it through to the semi-finals and the team has a good chance of winning the trophy.
Strongest team in years
The last couple of years have seen Team India enjoy mixed fortunes, but the current line-up is their strongest for a very long time. Kohli leads a powerful batting line-up of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Add to that what is widely considered the best line-up of fast bowlers ever in the shape of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, plus a wealth of other talent, and it’s clear that India certainly has the ability to go all the way.
But as Kohli says, it’s important not to be over-confident, and that dream roster has already been hit by injury and bad luck. Dhawan’s fractured finger during India’s match against Australia will almost certainly force him to sit out the rest of the group stage. Kumar sustained a hamstring injury playing against Pakistan, which means he’ll definitely miss the next two fixtures. Hopefully he’ll be back when India face England at Edgbaston at the end of the month.
Even with these injuries however, India are undoubtedly on excellent form, and remain unbeaten at the time of writing. Their odds on winning outright have been shortened to 5/2, behind reigning champions Australia at 3/1 and hosts England at 15/8. You can find out more about the form of the other teams with this guide to Cricket World Cup.
The Men in Blue began well with a six wicket win over South Africa, in which Yuzvendra Chahal took four wickets and Rohit Sharma scored 122. They defeated Australia by 36 runs at the Oval. Shikhar Dhawan was the top scorer with 117, and the Australians were bowled out for 316. India’s match against New Zealand was abandoned due to bad weather, but a few days later they decisively beat Pakistan by 89 runs at Old Trafford.
Their current rankings see India placed joint second with New Zealand, behind Australia but ahead of England. Unless things go really badly wrong in the rest of the group stage, this should see them comfortably through to the semi-finals. Of course in 2015 India also made it through to the semis, only to be knocked out by eventual winners Australia. But this time we’re arguably on stronger form.
India’s chances of winning the Cricket World Cup are better in 2019 than they have been in years. Despite injuries we have an excellent chance of getting through to the semi-finals, by which time the team should be back up to full strength again. There’s still everything to play for, but India are playing to win!