India’s emphatic win over South Africa on Sunday was the most comprehensive of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 yet. India outplayed pre-tournament favourites South Africa in all three departments. India had the better of exchanges for more than 90 overs and this shows the extent of India’s domination in the game. The manner in which India outplayed South Africa was even more remarkable than the margin of the defeat.
Here are 5 reasons why India are the new World Cup 2015 favourites:
1) Shikhar Dhawan’s return to form
Shikhar Dhawan’s form was one of India’s biggest concerns before the start of the World Cup. Dhawan struggled throughout the long tour of Australia and there were serious doubts regarding his place in the side. But, Dhawan answered his critics in the best possible manner. He scored a useful century against Pakistan and smashed a blistering hundred against South Africa. Dhawan’s form is a big boost for India as he is a genuine match-winner on his day.
2) The top order is in great form
India’s top order has been in great form. The likes of Kohli, Dhawan, Rahane and Raina are batting together as a unit and this is precisely the reason why India have been able to put 300 (+) in both the matches. There have been crucial partnerships in the middle and all the top-order batsmen have complemented each other in the best possible manner. In the first match against Pakistan, it was Raina’s quick-fire innings that allowed Virat Kohli to anchor the innings. And in the second match against South Africa, Rahane’s terrific counter-attacking innings allowed Shikhar Dhawan to take his time. It was Rahane’s innings that allowed India cross the 300 mark.
3) Sharp pace bowling and economical spin bowling
Pace bowling was India’s weakest link before the start of the World Cup 2015. But, surprisingly, India’s fast bowlers have bowled brilliantly in both the matches. The likes of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma were sharp and incisive. India’s spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have backed the efforts put in by the new ball bowlers with their economical bowling. Ashwin and Jadeja bowled consistent lines against South Africa and compelled mistakes.
4) MS Dhoni’s immaculate captaincy
MS Dhoni’s captaincy was immaculate in both the matches. He outwitted both Misbah-ul-Haq and AB de Villiers in field placing as well as overall approach to the game. Dhoni rotated his bowlers brilliantly and didn’t allow the game to drift away from his grip. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has said MS Dhoni’s captaincy is India’s biggest strength in this World Cup.
5) India can virtually plot who they would like to play in the quarter finals
With two back to back wins, India are now assured of a place in the quarter finals. India will most likely reach the quarter-finals as the top ranked team of their pool and this will not allow Dhoni the luxury to try new player and test the bench strength against weaker teams, but India can virtually plot who they would like to play in the quarter-final.