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ODI World Cup: Why Team India’s batsmen have looked like an all-conquering force during the league phase | Cricket-world-cup News

While India has once again dominated the league stage of an ICC event the question remains if the same level of domination will be replicated in the semi-finals and finals of the tournament.

On a sultry evening at Chennai, not more than 20 minutes into the chase Rohit Sharma’s men were three down for nothing against Australia in the side’s opening game and it felt like Deja Vu. It was a narrative that the Indian fans had seen before on a gloomy Manchester morning in 2019 and a bright afternoon from the Oval in 2017.

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“We have to prepare when the team is 10 for 3. That’s how I want to move forward and get the message across to the boys,” Rohit Sharma would say early on in his tenure as captain. The team walked the skipper’s talk in Chennai just when it felt like history was repeating itself and not much had changed in the last few years. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul stitched a 164-run partnership that ensured India a famous victory by six wickets.

KL Rahul’s calming influence

The Indian wicket-keeper has been calm as a cucumber in the middle order this tournament. While he was fabulous against Australia he also partnered up with Virat Kohli in the chase against Bangladesh, which was relatively a comfortable outing for the batter. However, against England in Lucknow once again he showed his maturity and did what was required. At 40 for 3 England was all over the hosts and there was a stunned silence in the crowd. Rahul came in and went about his job calmly taking ones and twos and supporting skipper Rohit, who was batting sublimely. It was not an innings from Rahul that won the game but an innings where India’s resurrection began.

Festive offer

Batting at No.5 whenever there has been a collapse of the top order Rahul has shown resilience to not give away his wicket and most importantly removed the pressure, similar to MS Dhoni and tried to take the game deep.

ODI World Cup: KL Rahul in action against Sri Lanka Mumbai: India’s KL Rahul plays a shot during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and Sri Lanka, at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)

Rahul’s presence in the middle order assures that even if there is a collapse he can still get the side home. He also opened for India in red-ball cricket and did well in conditions where the ball tends to swing and seam. Hence he has the skill level and technical expertise to deal with the moving ball if he has to come early and face the music against quality fast bowlers.

According to Rahul in fact has been averaging 93 against the right-arm pacers since his return from injury in the Asia Cup and World Cup. He has been dismissed only twice by them. But, against left-arm seamers those numbers might not be as staggering as his average drops down to 28 and he has been dismissed thrice by them.

Middle-order vs leg-spin

Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and Rahul who are the backbone of this middle order haven’t been dismissed at least once by a leg-spinner in the Asia Cup and World Cup. Considering the surfaces in India and Sri Lanka assist tweakers and most of the sides are using leg-spinners as enforcers in the middle-overs, it is quite remarkable how well India has been able to manage these middle-overs.


Kohli especially, who has had his fair share of trouble against Adam Zampa in the past, played him with ease in the tricky run chase early in the tournament on a wicket which was gripping. The Indian No.3 has middled 95.70% of his shots against wrist spinners in both tournaments. He has been able to pick up all the variations thrown by them and has been able to maneuver the ball for ones and twos with ease and hit boundaries at will as well. While KL Rahul doesn’t have the same control as Kohli he too has been not dismissed by a leg-spinner in this World Cup.

Unlike Rahul and Kohli, who have taken a risk-free approach of rotating strike and waiting for the bad ball, Iyer has looked to be hyper-aggressive against them.
How often do we see as soon as a leg-spinner is brought into the attack, Iyer charges down the ground to hit him for a maximum? Iyer is striking at 111.1 against the leggies. He has looked to put them under pressure as soon as they come to bowl.

Lower order not undercooked

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One of the other common themes with the Indian side has been the lower order not getting enough of a hit in the middle with the top three or four batters doing the bulk of the scoring in these ICC events until the knockout stages. However, it has not been the case this time. Ravindra Jadeja who bats at seven has got his opportunities. Coming into bat in a tricky situation against New Zealand in Dharamasala with 83 runs needed in the 34th over, Jadeja scored a handy 39 against one of the better-quality attacks in the tournament and remained unbeaten.

If Jadeja showed maturity against the Kiwis, he has shown his finishing prowess against Sri Lanka and South Africa scoring a quickfire 35 and 29 respectively at the end. While Iyer was smacking the ball Jadeja waited for his time and as soon as Iyer departed and there was not much batting left Jadeja changed the gears and played some delightful shots

Suryakumar Yadav too has had a few outings in the middle. He got himself run out in an unfortunate manner against New Zealand. But did play a valuable 49-run cameo against England right at the end, while wickets were falling from the other end on a tricky Lucknow surface.

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