World Cup 2019: Indian batsmen must perform better than Afghanistan against WI

Updated: Jun 27, 2019, 07:59 IST | Santosh Suri

India hope batsmen do not repeat average Afghanistan performance when they take on West Indies today

World Cup 2019: Indian batsmen must perform better than Afghanistan against WI
India opener Rohit Sharma during a practice session yesterday. Pic/PTI

Manchester: India have had enough time to recuperate and recover after getting out of jail in their previous match against Afghanistan, and will go into today's World Cup game against the West Indies with renewed vigour at Old Trafford. A win will put the Men in Blue in second position and within striking distance of a semi-final berth.

However, India cannot afford to be complacent despite being unbeaten in five matches so far, as teams like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies are lurking and looking for the opportunity should one of the top teams slip, like it has happened to England, who have lost three games and are in danger of missing out on a semi-final berth.

KL Rahul bats in the nets yesterday. Pic/AFP
KL Rahul bats in the nets yesterday. Pic/AFP

After the Indian batsmen laboured against Afghanistan and posted a below-par score, it remains to be seen if there will be any change to the line-up, especially in the middle-order. The unavailability of opener Shikhar Dhawan has disturbed the balance of the team and it's back to square one as far as the No. 4 spot is concerned. Just when KL Rahul seemed to have adjusted well in that slot, he had to move up and fill in the vacancy created by Dhawan's injury.

It looks like the Indian team management will continue to patronise Vijay Shankar at No. 4 against the West Indies, leaving Rishabh Pant to cool his heels in the pavilion. And of course, a big knock will be expected from the top three, especially skipper Virat Kohli, who is yet to get a century.

There are no major concerns in the bowling department despite the injury to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Mohammed Shami, who had filled in for him, had a memorable match against Afghanistan where he became only the second Indian to bag a hat-trick at the World Cup. The team's think-tank will also be satisfied with the performance of the two wrist spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who have impressed so far and could also hold the key against the Windies, who though flamboyant in approach, are suspect against spin.

For the West Indies, this is a must-win game as a defeat will end even the mathematical possibility of making the semis. Thus, they will come firing on all cylinders, and India must counter them with methodical aggression and not be bogged down like they were against Afghanistan.

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