World Cup: India should bat first if they win the toss against New Zealand

Did you know? India have lost the 2015 and 2019 World Cup semifinals chasing

By Anis Sajan

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Indian captain Rohit Sharma. — AFP
Indian captain Rohit Sharma. — AFP

Published: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 9:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 9:38 PM

Team India for the first time in World Cup history have won nine matches in a row and are just two games away from winning the trophy at home.

For the first five games, India won chasing, and everyone felt the best chance for team India in this World cup was to chase as they looked comfortable in it.

But when England put India in in their sixth game, they struggled but thanks to Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav, they put on a total which their bowlers defended easily.

And in their last three matches too India batted first and won their games easily.

So now the big question for captain Rohit Sharma is: what should he do in the semifinals if he wins the toss at Wankhede Stadium?

I was there for the India Sri Lanka game at Wankhede where India was asked to bat first.

Both the Sri Lankan fast bowlers Dilshan Madushanka and Dushmantha Chameera troubled the Indian top batters. There was enough in the wicket for Sri Lankan seamers. But the Indians overcame that phase and then the wicket became easier to bat as the home team put a huge total on the board.

Later in the evening, Indian seamers Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah bowled the Lankans out for just 55.

There was so much swing and seam that the batsman found it difficult and were all at sea.

And in the game between Afghanistan and Australia few days later on the same ground, it was again movement for Afghan fast bowlers and at one stage Australia were 91/7.

It was through the brilliance of Glenn Maxwell that Australia won that game.

But history says Wankhede is a good chasing ground after the initial movement for the first fifteen overs. It was on this ground that India chased down 274 against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final.

So what will Rohit do if he wins the toss?

It's a tough call for the captain either to bat first or chase. I would not be surprised if New Zealand, if they win the toss, will bat first as they have the fast bowlers in Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson to trouble the Indian batsmen under lights.

Moreover, it's a knockout game and India have lost the 2015 and 2019 World Cup semifinals chasing.

I feel Rohit will be comfortable batting first if he wins the toss as his fast bowlers have delivered under lights.

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