It has been the ideal start to the 2019 World Cup for the Indian national team. Not only did Virat Kohli’s men manage to overcome Australia in a close battle, but they also steamrolled their bitter rivals Pakistan by 89 runs. It was a victory that not only underlined India’s superiority over Pakistan in recent years but also cemented their aspirations to rival England as the leading one-day international side on the planet. A 100% record thus far in the group stage means that it’s highly unlikely India will miss out on a semifinal berth.
A mesmerising knock of 140 from Rohit Sharma provided the perfect platform for India against the Pakistanis, while Virat Kohli also provided highly useful support with another 77 runs to his name. India has never lost a World Cup match against their South Asian rivals, and this record was always intact. A rain delay helped India’s cause more than Pakistan, who struggled to keep up with the run rate on a damp track. India’s batsmen have truly made light work of England’s pitches so far in this tournament, and if they can continue this form, they will be almost unstoppable.
Demand for tickets from the Indian contingent across the UK will go through the roof. World Cup 2019 organisers received more than 700,000 ticket requests for India’s clash with Pakistan, underlining the popularity of this Indian national side, which features MS Dhoni for the last time.
The short form of cricket is gaining global appeal with every year that passes, largely due to the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other Twenty20 formats, but the 50-over format is still very much alive and kicking. More and more sportsbooks from North America are starting to show interest, particularly with the USA cricket team rapidly developing.
The U.S. Twenty20 national team is now considered to be the 31st best on the planet by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Therefore, there could be some North American sportsbooks offering markets by the time the next World Cup rolls around, particularly with FOX Bet due to launch later this fall.
Will England continue where they left off from last summer’s test series?
India are due to play England in Game 38 of 48 in the group stage on 30th June. By then, it could be a decider between which nation finishes first and second in the group. Obviously, England dominated the Indian test side last summer, winning a five-match test series 4-1, but there is still plenty of magic left in this Indian side.
In Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, India have the most consistent opening partnership in the competition. Sharma is a notoriously slow starter, while Dhawan likes to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Between them, they have scored more than 4,000 runs in 90 innings together, at an average of more than 45 runs.
It’s also important to talk about India’s quartet of bowlers. It’s been many years since India has boasted such a quick bowling unit. In fact, only England could lay claim to having a quicker bowling attack than the Indians. Jasprit Bumrah has become a key strike bowler, with deliveries approaching the 153 kilometres per hour mark. Combine that with the speed and aggression of Mohammad Shami, as well as Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and it’s arguably one of the best Indian bowling line-ups in a generation.
Caption: The 2019 World Cup will be MS Dhoni’s last for his beloved India
MS Dhoni will be desperate to go out with a bang
It would be wrong not to mention the influence of MS Dhoni on the side, too. Dhoni remains one of the smartest batsmen in world cricket, even in the twilight of his career. This tournament will be his last before bowing out from the sport, so he will be desperate to go out with a bang. Having Dhoni’s experience and know-how in the middle order also adds real stability in and around some of the younger members of the squad.
We’ve not even mentioned India’s spin twins, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, who are more than capable of turning a game on its head in an instant. One thing’s for sure, India are excited to watch in the one-day format once again, and we hope that they’ll run deep and give England a good run for their money.