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World Cup 2019: Five Teams India Should Be Watchful Of In The Tournament

Team India’s World Cup 2019 mission has already begun as the preparation are going in full flow for the showpiece event which begins from May 30 and will see 10 of the top ODI teams taking on each other in a round robin format in order to reach the semi-finals and then crown the World Champions.

The no.2 ranked ODI team in ICC rankings, India is widely considered to be favourites to win the tournament and become champions for the third time, along with hosts England and defending champions Australia. The Indian team has a mix of experience in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Mohammad Shami.

With youth in likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya amongst others. Apart from the originally announced 15-man squad, the Indian team has also employed the services of four young Indian fast bowlers to bowl in the nets throughout the tournament.

The World Cup will be played in a different format compared to the earlier editions which is why every team will be an equal threat.

Here are the five teams which India should be cautious of in the 2019 World Cup:

  • Pakistan

Even though they are coming into the tournament after facing two disappointing ODI series defeats, Pakistan is a team that is rising up the ladder day by day. They are currently World number one in the T20Is and sixth in the ODIs. The team has a lot of potential and some young players like Shaheen Afridi will take them the extra mile. With the tensions rising between the two countries, the world will have its eyes set on this game.

India won the last two encounters when the arch-rivals in the Asia Cup last year. But what makes Pakistan dangerous is their unpredictability. Moreover, the fact that they defeated India in the final of Champions Trophy in 2017 which was also played in England will give them a lot of confidence coming into this game. India should be careful of them and make sure that none of their batsmen get going.

  • England

It is often said that, “Time is probably the best medicine” and this quote goes perfect with the nature and performance of the current England limited-overs side. The English team suffered a disappointing loss against Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup, which also in turn brought an end to their campaign in the league stages of the tournament itself.

But since that defeat, the Eoin Morgan-led team has transformed into an all-different group and they have included enough firepower in their batting department, which is the major reason as to why the hosts are being considered as the strong favourites to win their maiden World Cup title at the upcoming showpiece event. India should be wary of the English team as the hosts are surely the team to beat in this tournament.

  • Australia

The World Cup will see Australia defend the prestigious title, which they won by defeating the Kiwis in the finals of 2015 edition in their own backyard. Australia’s chances of becoming a six-time World Champions have gotten a boost by the timely returns of former skipper Steve Smith and explosive opener David Warner. This is one of the best teams in the World Cup. They have exceptional fast bowlers like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff. Both David Warner and Steve Smith have also come back into the Australian team after their ban.

Australia is likely to play one spinner as Adam Zampa and four pacers. Maxwell can also bowl spin and cover up a few overs if needed. Recently, Jhye Richardson got injured and was ruled out only to be replaced by Kane Richardson. Australia will be having a lid over India having beaten them at home recently after being 0-2 down in the five-match series. Virat Kohli’s men should be aware of their shortcomings and look to not repeat those mistakes again.

  • New Zealand

The Black Caps is another strong candidate for the World Cup 2019. The Kane Williamson-led team defeated India by six wickets in the recent warm-up match at the Kennington Oval.  They will know the conditions in England very well, as it is quite similar to New Zealand. They are a well-gelled unit led by Kane Williamson who loves to keep things simple. They are currently playing a warm-up series against Australia and are doing decently well.

India will face the Kiwis on June 13 at Trent Bridge which is quite a small ground. The Indian bowlers should look to restrict New Zealand’s power hitters as the venue has witnessed some of the highest scores before. The likes of Martin Guptill and Williamson are certainly a threat to any team and the Men in Blue shouldn’t take them lightly at any stage.

  • Bangladesh

They have always been a team which is seen as not strong enough to go into the knockouts. They were always given a long-shot, but somehow they surprise everyone and play like the bigger teams. They are ranked at the seventh spot on the ODI rankings.

We have seen Bangladesh reach finals in many tournaments like the Asia Cup, Nidahas Trophy and also have seen them beating some heavy line-ups. Last year, India luckily edged past them to win the Nidahas Trophy in the last-ball thriller. So Bangladesh might come from behind and haunt a couple of teams, especially India. Three key players for Bangladesh will be Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan.