It is Diwali time across the country and fans will hope for some fireworks from India’s batters and bowlers when they take on The Netherlands in Bengaluru on Sunday.
India are the only unbeaten team in World Cup 2023 with eight straight wins, while the Dutch are all set to finish bottom with just two wins from eight games.
India have played the Dutch twice in the 50 overs format, both in the World Cups, finishing on the winning side in their two games in 2003 and 2011.
India once again start as favourites and will expected to easily get the better of The Netherlands.
More than the victory, it will be interesting to see whether the hosts continue with their same combination or give rest to key players ahead of the all-important semi-finals.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj could do with a break after a non-stop schedule in the past few weeks, which will also allow India to try out Shardul Thakur or Prasidh Krishna.
Bumrah, who made a comeback from injury in August, could do with some rest having played eight 50-over matches in the course of the last four weeks, while Mohammed Siraj has also played a lot over the past 12 months or so.
India could also bring in Ravichandran Ashwin and get him in the groove with an eye on the semi-final in case they have to play three spinners against New Zealand if the pitch is conducive for spin in Mumbai.
On the other hand, there would also be the temptation not to tinker with the winning combination and continue the momentum, especially with the knockout round coming up.
India are expected to continue with their same batting line-up which has been in top form throughout World Cup 2023.
Senior pros Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli have been leading from the front with K L Rahul providing the stability in the middle order, while Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill have found much-needed form going into the semis.
All eyes will once again be on Kohli as he targets a world record 50th century in One-Day Internationals on Sunday in front of his beloved fans at the M Chinnaswamy stadium — the home venue of his IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Suryakumar Yadav has also justified his inclusion in place of the injured Hardik Pandya with a few impactful knocks lower down the order.
The two left-arm spinners — Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja — have proved to be quite a handful in the middle overs picking a combined 26 wickets amongst themselves.
But the real success story of India’s World Cup has been the rampaging form of their pace trio.
Mohammed Shami, ignored for the first few games, made a sensational comeback into the team with 16 wickets from four games, while Jasprit Bumrah has led the bowling attack admirably well with 15 wickets from eight games. Mohammed Siraj has looked menacing with the new ball with a tally of 10 wickets.
What has been particularly impressive about India’s splendid bowling performances in the World Cup has been that all their frontline five bowlers have all conceded under six per over.
The Bengaluru pitch is likely to be a batting beauty and it will be interesting to see if the Dutch have enough firepower in their bowling attack to stop the marauding Indian batting line-up.
The likes of Bas de Leede (14 wickets), Logan van Beek (12), Paul van Meekeren (11) and Aryan Dutt (10) have come up with some impressive performances, including their famous victory against South Africa, while they also got the better of Bangladesh.
But batting has been a disappointment for the Dutch with Sybrand Engelbrecht (255 runs) and Scott Edwards (242 runs) the only two batters to score above 200 runs, with two fifties each.
Even if they rest a couple of their key players, India will be expected to easily get past The Netherlands and continue their winning run.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan/K L Rahul (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah/Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
Who do you think should be part of India’s playing XI for the World Cup match against The Netherlands?
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- World Cup 2023
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