The Indian batting came good at Cardiff against Bangladesh in their last warm-up game before the World Cup. The two-time champions posted a total of 359/7 in the 50 overs but more importantly, found their number four batsman in the form of KL Rahul.
Rahul’s fluent 108 helped him seal the spot as the other contender – Vijay Shankar, failed with the bat, scoring just 2. Rahul’s innings came off 99 balls and included 12 fours and 4 sixes.
Also scoring a fine hundred (113) was MS Dhoni, a player who still has the knack of building his innings according to the situation of the game. The former India captain scored his runs off 78 deliveries and smashed eight fours and seven sixes along the way.
India captain Virat Kohli also got some useful runs – a 46-ball 47 that included five boundaries.
For the second match running, the Indian openers failed to spend quality time in the middle. While Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed for just 1, Rohit Sharma looked way out-of-touch during his 42-ball 19.
That will be a concern for the Indians as a good start is mandatory in English conditions.
Once again, it is the manner of dismissals of the two openers that will concern the Indian think-tank. Dhawan went far too across with his front foot and was struck plumb in front. Rohit, after going through a rough period, dragged an innocuous short ball around off onto his stumps.
It is back to the nets for the two openers to try and improve on their shortcomings. Thankfully, there is adequate time for them to do that.
India’s No. 3, 4 and 5 should be Virat, Rahul and Dhoni when the team takes on South Africa on June 5 as they are the ones who have runs behind their back.
It is needless to say that the number four spot is a very crucial one in the 50-over format. A batsman is expected to build an innings and accelerate towards the end.
Rotating the strike is an important aspect when batting at that position. And that is something Rahul has to work upon to have any success during the tournament.
Against Bangladesh, the Karnataka lad failed to score a run of 51 deliveries – a huge number that needs to be brought down drastically.
But his big-hitting ability came to the fore and probably hid his incapability to rotate the strike early on in his innings.
Meanwhile, Dhoni once again proved he is indeed the go-to man as far as India’s middle order is concerned.
After the fall of Shankar’s wicket, India were precariously placed at 102 for 4 when Dhoni joined Rahul.
By the time Rahul was dismissed, the two had added 164 for the fifth wicket.
It wasn’t the best bowling attack in front of the Indian batsmen. But, in current situation, what mattered was the runs scored by them and not the quality of the opposition.
Rahul and Dhoni did just that.