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World Cup 2023: India, A solid Team But Middle-Order Confusion Persists

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An emphatic performance in the Asia Cup followed by a dominant show with the willow against Australia placed the Indian team in good headspace going into the World Cup but problems remain when it comes to zeroing in on the ideal playing XI. India begin their campaign against Australia on October 8 in Chennai.

Here’s the SWOT analysis.

STRENGTH:

Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this batting line-up is the best India have had since the historic batch of 2011.

A line-up comprising Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya is as formidable as it gets. And there will be Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav in the dug-out in case there is requirement to replace anyone.

India haven’t had such a galaxy of stars in one line-up for the longest time. And with most batters hitting the straps at the right time, the fans could be in for a run-feast on flat batting decks, which are expected to be on offer.

Gill’s ODI form, with more than 1200 plus runs in past one year, has been the biggest plus and he didn’t let the team feel the absence of a player of Shikhar Dhawan’s calibre.

Even more heartening is KL Rahul’s full fitness, and the hundred against Pakistan in Asia Cup, which has been the biggest gain ahead of World Cup.

WEAKNESSES:

The spin bowling department might be looking good on paper but there is no way to judge how the two veterans Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will perform on the tracks that will be heavily loaded in favour of batters.

Axar Patel’s injury might have given India a chance to get a right-arm finger spinner in but dropping Yuzvendra Chahal, after carrying him in 50-over cricket for a better part of last one year, and selecting three left-arm spinners does speak a lot about the lack of options.

Going by form, Kuldeep Yadav is expected to feature in every playing XI unless he suddenly loses his touch or there is an injury.

Ashwin’s presence on Indian tracks might cheer many but truth remains that on good decks, he has had a tendency of struggling. Yet, for some teams like Australia, Ashwin plays with the minds of batters and that’s his advantage.

In case of Jadeja, he is still a good bowler on helpful tracks but on flat decks, he could go for plenty. Also, both Jadeja and Ashwin are competent Test batters, but the former lost a bit of mojo when it comes to batting in ODIs, if one looks at his current strike-rate. Ashwin also isn’t a consistent power-hitter.

OPPORTUNITIES:

Home advantage is a reality even if it’s an ICC event where the global body’s curators are always doing a recce of various venues and conditions.

In these conditions, Rohit Sharma will have the perfect setting and best chance of winning the World Cup.

There will be heavy dew in some of the venues and if it comes down to chasing totals, there is no country like India which would make every other team have sleepless nights.

At the end of the day, the Indian team has chase master Virat Kohli in its ranks who is breathing down Sachin Tendulkar’s neck with 47 ODI hundreds, and needs three more to get past India’s greatest ever batter.

THREAT:

At times, too many options aren’t a good thing to have and that could be a problem for the team going into the tournament.

While the bowling attack would certainly be tweaked a bit looking at surfaces, Shreyas Iyer getting the likely nod above Ishan Kishan isn’t the most easiest of decisions.

Kishan has performed whatever role has been assigned to him by the team management but now it seems that he might have to sit out as KL Rahul is set to keep wickets and bat at No.5.

Dropping Kishan also means that the only viable left-handed option in the top five is done away with and there would be no variation in the top-order in terms of making opposition bowlers think about changing the line of attack for every second delivery.

Hopefully, India can get the top-order combination right unlike last time when, despite a semi-final appearance, the No.4 batting slot was a complete mess.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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T20 World Cup: Bangladesh Skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto Points Admits Reason For Loss vs Afghanistan

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Following his side’s eight-run defeat against Afghanistan in the Super Eights match of the T20 World Cup 2024, Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto said that they made poor decisions while batting in the middle overs. Najmul Hossain Shanto displayed a poor performance in the second innings of the match. He scored 5 runs from 5 balls at a strike rate of 100.00. The Bangladesh skipper just slammed 1-four during his time on the crease. Speaking after the match, Shanto said that their plan was to go hard in the first six overs of the second innings. He also accepted that the middle order of Bangladesh’s batting lineup failed to execute.

He further added that the Bangladesh bowling attack performed well throughout the tournament.

“I think we bowled really well, we did lots of good things but as a batting unit, we made poor decisions, especially in the middle overs and that’s what cost us today. The plan was to go hard in the first six overs, if we lost early wickets, the plan was to bat normally, but that didn’t happen and the middle-order couldn’t execute. The whole tournament we have bowled really well, both the pacers and the spinners. Especially Rishad was great, the fast bowlers also did really well. Also, as a fielding group, we did well,” Shanto said.

Recapping the match, after winning the toss Rashid Khan-led Afghanistan decided to bat against Bangladesh.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (43 runs from 55 balls, 3 fours and 1 six) played a stupendous knock for the Afghan side and powered them to 115-5. Ibrahim Zadran (18 runs from 29 balls, 1 four) and Rashid Khan (19* runs from 10 balls, 3 sixes) tried their best in the final stage of the first inning and added some crucial runs on the scoreboard.

Rishad Hossain led the Bangladesh bowling attack after he picked up three wickets and gave 26 runs in his four-over spell.

The second inning of the match was reduced to 19 overs, and the target was 114 runs after rain played a spoilsport in the second inning.

During the run chase, Litton Das (54* runs from 49 balls, 5 fours, and 1 six) was the only standout batter for the Tigers as he scored the highest among his teammates.

Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid Khan picked up four wickets each in their respective spells. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Gulbadin Naib also bagged one wicket each in their respective spells and helped the Afghan side win the match by eight runs.

After the defeat, Mitchell Marsh-led Australia are also out of the tournament. The Aussies ended up in third place in the Group 1 table of the Super Eights with just two points.

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Rashid Khan Breaks Silence As ‘Cheating’ Accusation Sours Afghanistan’s T20 World Cup Semi-Final Entry

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On Tuesday, Afghanistan experienced their most important day in their cricket history so far. The team led by Rashid Khan defeated Bangladesh to knock out Australia and qualify for the first time ever in a T20 World Cup semi-final. However, there was one incident that seemed to mar the whole occasion for Afghanistan. It happened when Gulbadin Naib dramatically fell on his back, clutching his thigh after Trott signalled his players to slow things down.

But minutes later, not only was the all-rounder back on the field but he also went on to take Tanzim Hasan’s wicket, causing several former players and commentators to question the genuineness of his discomfort.

But Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan sought to play down the incident. 

“Well, he had some cramp, I don’t know what happened to him and I don’t know what’s going on in social media but that doesn’t matter – it’s just the end field injury which comes and then we haven’t lost any overs, the rain came and we just went off, it’s not something like brought a massive difference in the game,” Rashid khan.

“We came back on field after five minutes and there was no massive difference. For me, it’s just like a small injury comes in, then you have to take some time.”

Skipper Rashid Khan believes that Afghanistan’s maiden T20 World Cup semifinal qualification, following spectacular wins over New Zealand and Australia along the way, is a momentous feat that will inspire the youth of the strife-torn nation.

Afghanistan, who became a full ICC member only in 2017, scripted history by qualifying for their maiden T20 World Cup semifinal with a win over Bangladesh here.

“I think the semi-final is going to be a massive, massive like inspiration for the youngsters back home in Afghanistan. That Afghanistan team get into the semis for the first time,” Rashid said at the post match press conference.

“And we have done it under 19 level, but this level we haven’t done that. Even Super Eight was first time for us and then in semis,” he added.

Moments after the win, visuals of jubilant fans back home celebrating Afghanistan’s historic achievement started doing the rounds on social media.

With the feat, Afghanistan have showed how much they have progressed in the white ball formats. At last year’s ODI World Cup, they upset defending champions England and former winners Sri Lanka and Pakistan. They are continuing their giant slaying run at the T20 World Cup having beaten heavyweights New Zealand and Australia.

“The cricket we have played in the whole tournament so far – I think we deserve to be in the semis. The way everyone took the responsibility of getting into the game and performing best for the team,” said Rashid.

“So, I don’t know how I can describe my feeling but it’s a massive achievement for us as a team and as a nation to be in the semis and now looking forward to the semis.” The Afghanistan cricket team is a group of individuals who have honed their skills by plying their trade in T20 leagues around the world. But when they come together to play for their country, it’s hard to find a more passionate bunch.

With PTI inputs

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Axar Patel Receives ‘Fielder Of The Match’ Medal From Team India’s ‘Unsung Hero’ – Watch

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India bowling all-rounder Axar Patel won the ‘Fielder of the Match’ medal after India’s 24-run win over Australia in the Super Eights match of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024 on Monday. In the ninth over of the second inning, Axar took Mitchell Marsh’s catch with his non-dominant right hand and helped India take control of the match. Kuldeep Yadav placed a length ball onto the pads, Marsh pulled it behind the square where Axar made no mistake in taking the catch. Speaking while honouring the medal, India fielding coach T Dilip showered praise on the Men in Blue for their commitment to every catch. The medal was presented by by Nuwan Seneviratne, a throwdown specialist for the Indian team – someone that T Dilip described as an ‘unsung hero’ for the Indian cricket team.

“Phenomenal effort, boys. Everyone, well done. When it comes to fielding in the Caribbean, we will always test our metal… from boundary to infield we covered every gap, but the masterpiece was the commitment for every catch that we have done. With this kind of determination, whether it’s adjusting to the wind or speed in the outfield, we were top-notch. Lastly, we clearly show that we are here to dominate,” T Dilip said.


Recapping the match, Australia won the toss and decided to bowl against India.

Rohit Sharma (92 runs from 41 balls, 7 fours and 8 sixes) played a stupendous knock at a strike rate of 224.39. Rohit’s captain’s knock helped India to put 205/5 on the scoreboard in the first inning. Suryakumar Yadav (31 runs from 16 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes) and Hardik Pandya (27* runs from 17 balls, 1 four and 2 sixes) played a supporting role and gave a solid target.

Mitchell Starc and Marcus Stoinis led the Aussie bowling attack after both of them picked up two wickets each in their respective spells.

During the run chase, Travis Head (76 runs from 43 balls, 9 fours and 4 sixes) played a dangerous knock but Jasprit Bumrah removed the Aussie opener in the 17th. Mitchell Marsh (37 runs from 28 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes) also tried his best to chase the 206-run target but fell short in front of the Indian bowling attack.

Arshdeep Singh led the Indian bowling attack after he picked up three wickets in his four-over spell and helped India to win the match by 24 runs. India skipper Rohit Sharma was named the Player of the Match after his stupendous knock in the first inning.

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