Despite washout against Canada, India wind up T20 WC group stage positively

Players of the two teams greet each other after the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Canada and India was called off due to wet outfield at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Saturday, June 15, 2024.
Players of the two teams greet each other after the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Canada and India was called off due to wet outfield at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Lauderhill (USA) | Inclement weather hindered India’s hopes of reinforcing their preparation for Super Eight through a match against Canada here on Saturday, but they will travel to the Caribbean as a confident unit after a robust T20 World Cup group stage campaign.

India's final Group A league match against Canada was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to a wet outfield.

Both teams shared one point each, as India advanced as Group A toppers with seven points. USA (five points) were the second team to qualify from the Group. Canada finished third with three points.

India's confidence primarily stems from the pacers’ effort in three group matches. Lead quick Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Siraj combined to bag 20 wickets among them.

Of course, they had a spiteful, double-paced drop-in pitch for assistance at the Nassau County stadium in those matches, and they will have traditional surfaces to play on in the West Indies for the rest of the ICC showpiece.

But if their outings in New York can be taken as an indication, then the opposition will have a lot to worry.

Pitch certainly played its part, but the Indian pacers also showed the technical nous and understanding of conditions to exploit what was on offer to them.

None displayed it better than Arshdeep. The left-arm quick made the ball curve back from over the wicket into Shayan Jahangir to trap the USA batter plumb in front.

A few balls later, the ultra-aggressive Andries Gous could not negate a short-pitched ball that skidded on to him at a fair clip. Those two deliveries would have potentially fetched him wickets on any kind of pitch.

The runs from skipper Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav is another positive sign but for different reasons.

Both Rohit and Suryakumar had an underwhelming IPL 2024, and here they showed some sparks that they would like to ignite further in the Super Eight.

In contrast, Pant had some fruitful outings in the IPL while leading Delhi Capitals, but a lot of people would have been keen to know his readiness for the rigours of top-of-the-draw cricket.

Pant aced the test with aplomb. There were those shots patented by the left-hander on view -- stand-and-deliver flicks, tumble-down scoops and those one-handed smashes to various corners of the field.

His effort behind the wicket too was equally commendable, diving, running and leaping around for catches and stops like an acrobat.

Hardik too seemed to have found his assured self in the World Cup after looking reticent in the IPL while leading the Mumbai Indians, a period when he was painted in social media as a silent villain.

While his batting is yet to hit the top gear, Hardik the bowler oozed a lot of purpose, troubling batters with pace and variations.

However, everything is not roseate. The spinners, except Axar Patel to a certain extent, hardly got any game time in the group matches, courtesy the nature of the pitch in the Big Apple.

Axar bowled six overs spread across three matches, taking three wickets but second spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowled just three overs in the group stage against Ireland and Pakistan.

The left-arm spinner was not even employed against the USA.

Other spinners in the squad, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will enter the Super Eight with zero game time under their belt.

They might have got some in the park had the match against Canada held as per the schedule.

It might not be the best scenario either as pitches in the West Indies are expected to progressively help the spinners.

But then this bunch of Indian players have shown a propensity to tame pressure points with ease, and they will have to invoke that tradition once more in the West Indies.

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