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Team India's win against a mediocre Pakistani side shouldn't be over-hyped
India registered a win against a mediocre Pakistani team in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 on 16 June. The match was unnecessarily hyped as the mother of all matches.

No doubt India has a history of remaining unbeaten against Pakistan in all the World Cup matches, but in the last two-three years, India has become a very strong team compared to Pakistan. The 2017 Champion's Trophy final was a rare occasion where despite being favourites India lost. That happens in cricket. That doesn't mean that Pakistan can defeat India in every match. In the last Asia Cup, Pakistan lost to India twice, in which Virat Kohli and Jaspreet Bumrah did not even play. That speaks about the gap between the two teams.

Post-Pulwama, there was a demand that India shouldn't play against Pakistan. Most of the news channels almost raised flags demanding the boycott Pakistan and also if required, to cede two points to them. By the time the World Cup started, the hype was created by all those TV channels as if something great is going to happen. Times Now even hosted joint telecast with Pakistan's Ham TV featuring experts from Pakistan and India. It really amazed me that just a couple of months back the same TV channel was vociferously demanding boycotting the match against Pakistan.

Pakistan lost the match by a big margin. But point is whether India played well? Although Rohit Sharma played marvellously he was given a life when Fakhar Zaman threw the ball at the wrong end. After Rahul's departure all the other batsmen really struggled including Rohit and Kohli. Although Pandya made a quick cameo, it wasn't satisfactory at all. While Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav didn't get much opportunity, it was observed that they failed to hit big. At one point of time India was looking at 360 plus but ended up at just 336 runs. Just imagine what would have been the situation if Rohit had got run out!

From the bowling perspective, it was seen that for the second time Jaspreet Bumrah, India's pace bowler was leaking runs frequently. Bhubaneswar, who was very impressive in the last two matches and also very impressive in this match had to retire due to a hamstring injury. It is told that he might miss a couple of matches. That created a lot of problems for the Indian team. Mohammad Shami is no doubt a wicket taking bowler. But his record at the death is not so good. In present day cricket, the first ten overs yield less runs whereas the last ten overs yield maximum scores. If India has to field first, how can the runs be checked in the last ten overs in the absence of Bhuvi?

Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav need match practice. Thus, at one point of time, especially against Afghanistan, he could be promoted to number four or five so that he will get some confidence. Else, if in any match, the top three fail, then the middle order may come under huge pressure and India may lose the match.

Instead of the hype over their win against Pakistan (a weak team), India need to focus on their team building as two important players are out because of injuries. Thus, the replacements must be given confidence and match practice before facing formidable England on 30 June. Even the match against the West Indies can be a challenge one if Bumrah fails. You can't just depend on two wrist spinners and average bowlers like Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya.

India must be match ready before the semi-finals start. The possible semi-finalists are Australia, England, India and New Zealand. Any team can win on its day if the other team or a couple of their players have an off day.

India deserves to win the World Cup 2019 provided it plays religiously without the hype. I wish all the best to Team India.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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