India willing to test themselves defending ahead of semis

- October 28, 2023
| By : Khurram Habib |

While India have won all their five matches chasing, the team management feels that getting opportunities to defend ahead of semi-finals will be helpful

Middle-order batsman KL Rahul, who is also doubling up as a wicket-keeper in the ongoing World Cup on Saturday said that India are ready to test new waters by defending a total, something they haven’t done in the five matches they have played so far.

India, who won all their matches chasing targets, have also been helped by Rohit Sharma winning the toss in the last four matches which has allowed them to opt for bowling.

Sharma lost only one toss at this World Cup, and that was in the first game against Australia. However, Australia opted to bat allowing India chase in that. That successful chase, from three wickets down for two runs, sort of set the trend for India.

“Toss is not something that the captain or the team can control. So whatever opportunities we’ve gotten, we’ve done well. But again it will be a great opportunity if we get to bat first before the next stage,” said Rahul to the media at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow here on Saturday.

“In the next four games, if we can get to bat first, it will be a good challenge for us to just see how to pace the innings and it has been some time since we batted first. So, I think, it will be useful for the team.”

Sharma has had mixed result in his career as captain when it comes to tosses.

In the 39 One-day Internationals he has captained, including the last five matches at the ongoing World Cup, Sharma has won the toss 19 times which is roughly 49% success rate. Prior to the World Cup, his success rate with the toss was 44%.

However, in the World Cup so far, his success with the toss has been remarkable with 80% success rate.

India may not want to experiment yet by batting first in case they win the toss again. They would want to take another two points and assure themselves virtually of a place in the semi-finals before venturing into a new territory unless forced to by England after winning the toss.

In the Asia Cup, India defended their total successfully twice but that was against lesser competition.

Rahul said that the team’s success is more due to the preparations.

“I think it is just [about] how we have been really aggressive. And also, our preparations have been really, really good, and very particular, very spot on from the time at least I’ve come back into the team since the Asia Cup.”