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Indian Cricketers Outperform at First Phase; Hopes Soar in Knockout Stages

india men in blueNew Delhi, Tuesday, March 17 – Seeing the poor performance of Indian cricketers late last year and early 2015 against England and Australia, it was hard to believe for Indian fans that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates will put their best foot forward in the cricket carnival, which started a month ago.

The defending champions exhibited a perfect play in their six league matches of Pool B. With an all-win record in opposition to the competitors belonging to different countries, Indian camp gave the clear signal not to challenge hidden capabilities of the bowlers, batsmen and fielders.

In the high voltage match against Pakistan in Adelaide, the Men in Blue logged victory by 76 runs – a margin that was huge against the arch-rivals on such a big platform. Pressure on both the teams is always high in India vs. Pakistan match but perhaps it is the faith of winning the game with patience that imparts terrific role in India’s success all the time.

The story of triumph continued further when they thrashed South Africa in Melbourne on Feb 22 by 130 runs. It was a humiliating defeat for the Proteas in the World Cup especially because the team has destructive hitter like AB de Villiers. It was certainly because of Dhoni’s perfect captaincy skills that made the opposition to collapse under stress. A victory against South Africa was huge as India never won a match opposite to the same squad in the earlier encounters of WC tournament.

Winning the match versus United Arab Emirates in Perth by 9 wickets boosted confidence of Indian cricketers but many predicted that is not going to be enough as bowling attack of UAE wasn’t sharp as compared to strong rivals. A competition against West Indies in Perth caught the eyes. All supporters were keen to notice whether Chris Gayle will brutally hit the ball and make India feel the real pressure for the first time or not. But guess what! Indian bowling attack, which wasn’t considered solid at all when the one-and-a-half month long contest kicked off, got the early breakthroughs and defeated the Caribbean ‘playing XI’ by 4 wickets.

India vs. Ireland match also grabbed eyeballs as the latter won in opposition to West Indies by 4 wickets at Nelson on Feb 16, United Arab Emirates by 2 wickets at Brisbane on Feb 25 and Zimbabwe in Hobart on March 7 by 5 runs. Losing a crucial game against Pakistan in Adelaide a couple of days ago changed the fate for Irish squad. A triumph at that point of time could have sent Pakistan back to home and Ireland in the next round. Indian team beat Ireland, a group that is supposed to present most unpredictable play against strong contenders, by 8 wickets in Hamilton One-Day International.

It was only for once when it seemed India will lose the match when Zimbabwe set a target of 288 runs in the 39th ODI Match of Pool B-match held at Eden Park, Auckland. Some finest selection of shots by Zimbabwe’s top and middle-order batsmen made them put 287 runs on the scoreboard which turned difficult to chase the moment the opening duo Shikhar Dhawan & Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli were back to the pavilion post adding only a few runs. Thanks to the terrific partnership between Suresh Raina and Indian skipper Dhoni that made World Cup winners of 2011 taste another victory in a row.

Hopes are surely up with Indian cricket team as almost each player of the group has left no stone unturned to create a unique place in the heart of viewers through bowling, fielding and batting skills. Despite the fact that scope of improvement lies at every stage, whatever India have achieved so far in the competition deserves huge round of applause. They played like true champions under the guidance of Dhoni, who looked a lot different in his tactics this time. He set the field according to the bowlers whenever required and was seen talking to the team members at different time intervals to discuss the strategy of taking wickets as early as possible.

Here is to mention that both full time and part-time bowlers did not disappoint their captain. This is probably one of the reasons why India hold a unique record of taking all 10 wickets in 6 leagues matches played against Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe, South Africa and UAE. Since they are to face Bangladesh in the second quarter-final on Thursday, March 19, fans wish for nothing less than a memorable victory from India. Eyes are certainly struck on the upcoming outcome in view of the fact that a win here will book a berth for Dhoni’s men in the semi-finals.

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