Fans of the Indian team have plenty to be proud about at the Cricket World Cup 2019, with the team having produced excellent form throughout the tournament, only stumbling against host nation England.
Nevertheless, their charge towards the semi-finals of the tournament remains unhindered, suggesting that for the first time since 2011 on home soil in Mumbai, the chances of India reigning supreme are better than ever.
Quality and Decisive Cricket
Although there have been some very tight encounters, such as the opening match against South Africa, results overall have been very convincing for India. The best evidence of this was the superb outcome against Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester, beating the eternal rival by 89 runs. The India team was also cheered on by a host of Bollywood stars at the match, adding some glamour and glitz beneath the grey skies of Manchester.
The biggest victory at this World Cup also came at the same venue, with India comfortably beating the West Indies by an impressive 125 runs at Old Trafford on Thursday 27th June. In what proved to be a very professional display, Indian players felt they could have scored more, but let their bowling do the talking to finish the job, quickly taking out the key batters and making it impossible for West Indies to get going.
Given the quality of the opposition, arguably the greatest match win thus far at the Cricket World Cup was the triumphant Indian display against Australia, at The Oval in London on Sunday 9th June. India scored 352/5 from 50 overs and set a target the Aussies were simply unable to match, scoring 316 from their 50 overs.
Edging Towards the Semi-Finals
Insofar as the chances of India winning the World Cup are concerned, interestingly, they remain amongst the favourites for many cricket experts, whilst others are backing Australia for success, as both teams battling for the top two positions in the standings. The way the league standings are shaping up, the Aussies look set to clinch top spot, with India just behind them.
The final standings will also dictate the order of matches in the semi-finals, with 1st facing 4th and 2nd facing 3rd. Amidst the likelihood that Australia and India will remain in the top two, they will inevitably be keeping an eye on their potential rivals, with New Zealand and England best positioned to qualify. For India, avoiding an encounter with England in the semi-finals would certainly be viewed as a boon for their chances of winning the World Cup, having already lost to the hosts.
That defeat came at Edgbaston, with England scoring 337/7, whilst India could only manage 306/5 before the end of play on Sunday 30th June, from their 50 overs. Although that result could be regarded as an off day for India, given their spectacular form in other matches, avoiding England in the semi-finals would certainly be a boon.
Indian Star Players
Team performance is the most important factor towards winning the Cricket World Cup, although individual statistics are also a great contributor for success. Rohit Sharma has had commentators running out of superlatives, given his excellent form from the crease. The 32-year-old Indian batsman and vice-captain side tops the charts for the most runs at the tournament so far, with 544 runs from 8 matches and 8 innings.
Batting has been the biggest strength, although bowling figures are also very respectable. Mohammed Shami has taken 13 wickets, while Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal have taken 10 apiece. Shami also ranks inside the top ten bowlers for performances during individual matches, with his best achievement taking out 4 batsmen for just 16 runs against the West Indies.
Throughout the Indian side, however, there have been solid performances from every player in the team, which breeds confidence that in 2019, India can go all the way and emerge triumphant at the Cricket World Cup.