|Can he hold it again? (Image courtesy: NDTV)|
With batting its strong point, Indian skipper M S Dhoni, whenever calls it right and often lucky with the coin, opts to bat first to gain the psychological merit. When you bat first, the team is resting while the opponents are on the field and you set the target and know how much to defend, hence plan accordingly. There is more scope for trial and error, test and research when you have runs on the board, but the margin for error is thin when you have less than 200 to guard. Though the Kapil Dev-led camp made it in 1983 (in a 60-over decider), can one really fancy a sub-200 risk in today's batsman-dominated game? Mind you, cricket, today, is breathing in a T-20 age.
Though Indian bowling is not at its peak, Dhoni does have options with seven regular time bowlers, but lacks one genuine legendary bowler like an Anil Kumble or a Dale Steyn. The media hype with plenty of advertisements are okay but it usually works against the ultimate goal of retaining the World Cup. Cricketers are deemed immortal when the team performs well but the support evaporates when they hit a slump till they restore form and perform again.
With the magic spell of great victory against South Africa, the bowling seems matured to become more trustworthy. If the exhibition in the fist two matches is any indicator of Team India’s subsequent delivery, the Indian fans can be in for a treat, and can be expected to qualify for the semis and why not clash in the finals as well. An optimism assumes why the winning title shouldn’t be defended? An India vs. Australia final is what many of the cricketing world will be hoping for and the 2003 results can be avenged.
Lucky with the toss aside, Indian team has it that they have been playing matches in Australia for quite a while before the World cup and are accustomed to the weather and pitch conditions. As India sails through the remaining matches, it will be delightful when the quarter-finals starts and move to heated semi-finals and the ultimate finale. Can we hope for a party for the third time?