Team India's second warm-up match today against Bangladesh is another opportunity to set the house in order and get in groove before Virat Kohli & Co get down to business
India captain Virat Kohli (centre) leads the team after suffering a six-wicket loss during the World Cup warm-up match against New Zealand at The Oval on Saturday. Pic/AFP
The Indian team will be hoping for a bright, sunny day, or at least a long enough dry spell to have a full match when they take on Bangladesh in their second warm-up match at Sophia Gardens here today.
After a below-par performance against New Zealand at The Oval a couple of days ago, this is India's only chance to get their house in order before they take on South Africa in their opening game of the World Cup on July 5.
But if the elements play spoilsport, there will be huge uncertainty about the form for the top batsmen and the combination of the team. The weather has been rather fickle over the last few days, so much so that two warm-up games were abandoned on Sunday. So, not only the players but also the fans who will come in hoards, will have their fingers crossed.
As for their opponents, Bangladesh lost their first chance at tuning up for the event when their match against Pakistan was abandoned without a ball being bowled. But Bangladesh are still fresh from their win in the Ireland tri-nation series, which took place in somewhat similar conditions. They have both — recent experience and form on their side, which would make them tough opponents for Virat Kohli's men to overcome.
Generally, whenever India have played at this Welsh city, they have done well. On a flat track and small boundaries, it is the ideal venue for the Indian batsmen to get decent scores under their belt. It is crucial for India to have their Top Three in form, especially after they had an awful time against the swinging deliveries at The Oval in overcast conditions.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and skipper Kohli are undoubtedly big match players, but even they need to get into the groove. And faster they do, the better for the team. With the availability of Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar still uncertain, the team management will have to work out the No 4 spot. If the duo remain available, then the choice will fall on KL Rahul or Dinesh Karthik. For that, they need to make the most of the opportunity here. On this small ground, the Indian spinners will be severely tested.
As Kuldeep Yadav is still struggling with his form, it will be a very crucial game for him. Yuzvendra Chahal looked impressive against New Zealand and Ravindra Jadeja had his moments in the first warm-up game as the two look set to make the final XI in the opening game. As for the pace bowlers, it will be an opportunity to get into rhythm and hit the right length. The seamers will be the workhorses right through the tournament and they need to be in top condition.
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