World Cup 2019: Is the defeat against England a blessing in disguise for the Indian team?
If we look at India's dream campaign in this World Cup before England's encounter, the men in blue chased a small target on a tricky pitch, scored heavily against the Aussies and the arch rivals Pakistan, held their nerves to defend a low total against Afghanistan and outclassed West Indies with brilliant bowling. What India hadn't faced was chasing a bigger total.
If you could bet on a team scoring heavily in the first innings, it had to be England. Against England, India faced a tough challenge to chase 338, something India hadn't had till now.
Ind-Eng match was one of the most anticipated match of this WC. While the Indian fans will be disappointed with this defeat but if we look beyond it could well and truly be a blessing in disguise. The experience can help the Indian team going into the knockouts. If you remember the 2015 WC, India didn't lose a single game to the semi finals where they cluttered under pressure chasing in excess of 300.
The loss will now force the team to ponder on some issues and game plans. There has been a lot of talk about England's one dimensional batting style leading to their downfall but has India been quite different in their approach.
Kohli and Co. like to take the innings deep with wickets in hand and fancy their chances to have an assault at the end. It's pretty much fine to have wickets in hand towards the end but being far too conservative halt's the progress in the powerplay and middle overs.
Is India too worried about their middle order being exposed or they are too confident that will have a carnage at the end? Probably the former one.
India's middle order woes aren't something new. We have been tired discussing it without reaching a solution. Vijay Shankar hasn't looked convincing. Dhoni has had his share of criticism regarding his intent and for sure Jadhav is not your No. 7. He has looked completely out of sorts in this WC. This all puts a lot of pressure on Rohit and Kohli.
Dhawan at the top would have been ideal but Rahul wasn't a bad substitution. But somehow he is feeling the pressure. We all know Rahul as a free flowing batsman but he hasn't been able to play freely. To be honest, Rohit and Virat can't always win you games.
Rohit had 2 back to back failures but Virat steadied the ship. He has had 5 consecutive 50's and 42'th ton is on the cards. But, touchwood if he has an off day in the knockouts, the team could be on the way back home.
India needs to ponder over the middle order issue and their approach while batting especially in the powerplays. Well you can't be chasing 338 with just 28 runs in the powerplay. India should have shown more intent in the powerplays lack of which too much to do at the end.
Now, India have questions to answer which isn't a bad thing with 2 games still to go for the knockouts. With Shankar ruled out, Pant confirms his place in all the matches, which if Shankar was not used as a bowler should have played anyway. If Bhuvj is fit, he should be considered into the squad. He hasn't been utilised as a bowler and batting him at 7 is not the ideal place for him. If Hardik Pandya is your 5 bowler, it's better to play DK for the rest of the tournament instead of Kedar.
Also read – World cup all time records