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India: The Obvious Alternative to England at the Cricket World Cup

India: The Obvious Alternative to England at the Cricket World Cup

Sam Green | @indiablooms | 23 Jan 2019, 05:57 pm

"Cricket Wickets" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by schmich

Since their heavy 180-run defeat in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final to bitter rivals and neighbours Pakistan, India's One Day International cricket side have lost just one 50-overs series.

While that came last year away to 2019 Cricket World Cup hosts England, the Indian ODI side are close to overhauling them at the top of the rankings.
They also know what it takes to beat Trevor Bayliss' boys, having struck first in the three-game series in July with an eight-wicket victory at Trent Bridge.

That win was built on the left-arm spin of Kuldeep Yadav, who recorded career-best figures of 6-25 in Nottingham, and opener Rohit Sharma smashing an unbeaten 137 off just 114 balls.

Yadav, not to be confused with pace bowler namesake Umesh, was particularly effective in the series, taking nine wickets overall.

India were also pretty consistent with the bat during their ODI series in England, posting scores of 269, 236 and 256.

While these aren't huge scores in 50-overs-per-side matches, they have since proven themselves the team to beat on the Subcontinent in this form of cricket after readily justifying strong favouritism in the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

As India went unbeaten through that tournament, avenging their Champions Trophy loss by twice beating Pakistan and also Bangladesh en route to overall victory, they are the clear dangers to England at the Cricket World Cup.

The latest cricket betting on the World Cup has India as outright top-price 3/1 second favourites with bet365.

It may be obvious, but their top order is packed full of batsmen who, on their day, can easily record big scores.

"Virat Kohli" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by himanisdas

Joining Sharma are Virat Kohli and veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni, who have both scored over 10,000 One Day runs and counting. They are just the best batsmen, and India's strength in depth beyond them is also impressive.

This is thus a hugely experienced Indian side that are not afraid of aggression at the crease. Since the Asia Cup, they have comfortably brushed aside the West Indies and also played Australia, who are behind them in the Cricket World Cup betting at a general 9/4.

England with home advantage are clearly the team to beat. Their own strong performances as well as hosting the tournament highlight that.

India have lifted the Cricket World Cup in the country where the game was invented before, however, back in 1983 when ODIs were played as 60 overs a side. All-rounder Roger Binny proved deadly with the ball then, taking a tournament-high 18 wickets.

Another Indian all-rounder, Roger Binny, led the way with the bat as one of five players to get 300 runs or more, but they were not fancied to triumph. The West Indies were hot favourites back then thanks to Caribbean greats Viv Richards and Michael Holding.

Some 36 years on, things are very different. The Windies are now big outsiders, and India are prominent in the betting on the Cricket World Cup. It's easy to see why.