‘Jasprit Bumrah has led the attack brilliantly, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja are bowling really nicely and their top three have been fantastic for a long time.’
India, firing on all cylinders, is a different beast at home and firm favourites to win the ICC World Cup, says former New Zealand batter Ross Taylor.
Rohit Sharma’s team has won all the four matches it played so far comfortably.
The hosts take on New Zealand, the only other unbeaten side in the tournament, in a marquee clash in Dharmsala on Sunday.
“India in their home conditions are a different beast and they have started unsurprisingly strongly – I see them as favourites to win the competition at this stage, no matter what happens in Dharmsala (on Sunday),” wrote Taylor in his column for ICC Media Zone.
India’s batting and bowling units have been performing in tandem. While the likes of skipper Rohit and Virat Kohli have been in impeccable form, Jasprit Bumrah and the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja have delivered with the ball.
“Jasprit Bumrah has led the attack brilliantly, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja are bowling really nicely and their top three have been fantastic for a long time.
“You can’t expect your top three to score runs all the time but they also now seem to have found a nice combination at four and five with Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul,” said Taylor.
While India will enjoy the support of the fans, Taylor reckons the packed crowd will bring out the best out of the Black Caps as well.
“New Zealand will need early wickets to put that middle-order under pressure. The crowd will naturally play a part but I think New Zealand will thrive in that atmosphere.
“Every time you come here, you play in front of full crowds and you know you’ll be up against it. The crowds here are very vocal but very fair at the same time.”
India have a record of faltering against New Zealand at ICC events. The ‘Men In Blue’ have been unable to get past the Kiwis for over two decades.
“I’m not quite sure what explains why New Zealand keep beating India at these tournaments but if you talk to a lot of Indian supporters, New Zealand are their second favourite team – maybe that has something to do with it, who knows?!” Taylor said.
New Zealand have been equally clinical in their display despite the absence of skipper Kane Williamson and pacer Tim Southee.
“I have been really impressed with how they have gone about it so far. They have played fantastically well.
“Everyone has stood up at different stages. A lot has been made of the injuries to Tim Southee and Kane Williamson but the people who have come in have stepped up, particularly Will Young and Rachin Ravindra.”
Ravindra has made the most of his opportunity, scoring a century on his World Cup debut while also notching up a fifty.
“If you would have said two or three weeks before the tournament that Rachin would have been in the starting line-up, I don’t think anyone would have picked that.
“He pushed himself in there with his performances in the warm-up games and even then, I don’t think people thought he would have batted as high up the order as he has.
“But he’s taken his chance and he looks set to be a key part of the New Zealand side not only in this tournament but also in the years to come,” added Taylor.
- World Cup 2023
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