Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor on Saturday declared India as favourite to win the World cup, “no matter what happens in Dharamshala tomorrow.” The Two unbeaten teams in the ongoing World cup, India and New Zealand face other in their fifth match of the tournament On Sunday. Both the teams have eight points each but the Kiwis are topping the points table due to their better net run rate.
“India in their home conditions are a different beast and they have started unsurprisingly strongly – I see them as favourites to win the competition at this stage, no matter what happens in Dharamshala.”he opined.
According to Taylor “Jasprit Bumrah has led the attack brilliantly, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Jadeja are bowling really nicely and their top three have been fantastic for a long time.” but cautioned “You can’t expect your top three to score runs all the time but they also now seem to have found a nice combination at four and five with Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul. New Zealand will need early wickets to put that middle order under pressure.”
“The crowd will naturally play a part but I think New Zealand will thrive in that atmosphere. Every time you come here, you play in front of full crowds and you know you’ll be up against it. But at the same time, that’s what you like about playing at World Cups, you want to play in front of full stadiums and test yourself against the best. The crowds here are very vocal but very fair at the same time.
Ross was of the view that New Zealand have a strong recent record against India, having not lost this fixture at an ICC event for 20 years.I’m not sure quite what explains why New Zealand keep beating India at these tournaments but if you talk to a lot of Indian supporters, New Zealand are their second favourite team – maybe that has something to do with it, who knows?
“Four years ago, we played them in the semi-final in Manchester and it was an iconic occasion. There was the Martin Guptill run out of Dhoni, the game going over two days because of the rain and ultimately, New Zealand coming out on top “. He recalled and wished that “Hopefully there will be a similar result tomorrow – top of the table at the halfway stage would be a great place to be.
“it is fantastic to be here in time for what is set to be a great match between the two remaining unbeaten teams” Ross told ICC media adding “Of course, the fact New Zealand are one of them is particularly pleasing and I have been really impressed with how they have gone about it so far. They have played fantastically well.
Talking about the Kiwis campaign so far ,Taylor said “the first game would have come as a bit of a surprise to some – not necessarily beating England, but the manner in which they did so. They (New Zealand) were put under pressure for 5-10 overs against Afghanistan but other than that, they have played some very consistent and dominant cricket.
The former captain lavished praise on Kiwi players saying “Everyone has stood up at different stages. A lot has been made of the injuries to Tim Southee and Kane Williamson but the people who have come in have stepped up, particularly Will Young and Rachin Ravindra.
“If you would have said two or three weeks before the tournament that Rachin would have been in the starting line-up, I don’t think anyone would have picked that.” He admitted “Rachin pushed himself in there with his performances in the warm-up games and even then, I don’t think people thought he would have batted as high up the order as he has.
“But he’s taken his chance and he looks set to be a key part of the New Zealand side not only in this tournament, but also in the years to come.Tom Latham has stepped up too and shown fantastic leadership. Kane is obviously a big part of the team but they have played well without him for a while through this year and they know they can win without him, which is important.
Getting off to a good start in the competition has been particularly crucial because New Zealand have a tough streak of games coming up, beginning with India on Sunday. ,he added