Team India, the best team in the World Cup so far, will take on the Netherlands at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Diwali also falls on Sunday, and India will be keen on making all their supporters happy with a stellar showing. It will be their ninth win if they win this game on Sunday. It would mean that they remain unbeaten throughout the league stage of the tournament. India, quite astonishingly in the eyes of a few critics, have been unbeatable in this tournament. The only challenge they faced was against England, where they were restricted to a modest total, but their bowlers ensured they did not have to suffer that night.
Against the Dutch, however, India will undoubtedly start as the favourites. They will feel they can show their best performance and try to win it as comfortably as possible. Head coach Rahul Dravid may think a few changes might be necessary, but he will only want to tinker with the winning combination. As it is, Hardik Pandya’s injury has ruled him out of the tournament, and Prasidh Krishna has been drafted in. India will want to get this match over with as quickly as possible and prepare for the semifinal challenge.
For their part, the Netherlands will want to bow out of this tournament with as much dignity as possible. They came into it on the back of theirs, ending up as the runners-up of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers held in Zimbabwe earlier this year. However, their showing in the World Cup main event could have been more impressive. There have been falling prey to some of the most atrocious bits of cricket possible. Sure, they beat South Africa, which will go down as one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history and also got the better of Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens, but overall, their performance has not been up to the mark. They will want to change the narrative against India in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
The Netherlands: Vikramjit Singh, Max O’Dowd, Wesley Barresi, Colin Ackermann, Bas de Leede, Teja Nidamanaru, Scott Edwards (c and wk), Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt.
Virat Kohli: One of the greatest cricketers of all time, Virat Kohli, will be too hot to handle for the Dutch. Having just finished his 71st century in international cricket against South Africa at the Eden Gardens last Sunday, Kohli will be hungry for more. And where better to do this than in Bengaluru, his adopted home city in the IPL since 2008.
Bas de Leede: All-rounder Bas de Leede can be the player who torments India and asks tough questions about them. With the ball in hand, he is known to hit the deck hard and get it to move after pitching. However, he is known to play sensibly and aggressively with the bat. He can put India under some pressure if he decides to come good on Sunday.
India appear to be the overwhelming favourites to win this game. They have been the best team by far, and one can expect them to win this game. If they manage to do it, they will have won all the matches they played in the World Cup. This win will give India some momentum going into the semifinals and, eventually, challenging for the title.