Indians thriving on team effort

STRONGER TOGETHER Every player has played his role in ensuring a comfortable outing so far for the Indian team at the World Cup. AFP

The phrase “winning single-handedly” is an oxymoron in a team sport.

It perhaps makes some sense in a T20 game where a blinder of a knock or a fine piece of bowling can win you a match but it’s a bit absurd when it comes to a 50-over game where the length of the game ensures no one player has a sole say in the outcome. The degree of impact may differ from one player to another but at the end of the day, it all adds up. The whole is always greater than sum of its parts. India’s campaign in the World Cup so far truly reflects this team spirit.

Between Rohit Sharma and the injured Shikhar Dhawan, there have been three centuries and a half-century and Virat Kohli has notched up two 75-plus scores but India wouldn’t have been in the position that they are now without the vital contributions from each of their players in the three wins so far.

All brilliant

Bowlers – pacers and spinners alike -- were brilliant against South Africa in the first game in admittedly tough conditions for batsmen. While Jasprit Bumrah was a standout performer, others didn’t let that pressure slip from their grasp.

Against a fired-up Proteas’ attack, Rohit crafted an uncharacteristic century to script an Indian win with able support from K L Rahul and M S Dhoni in a low-scoring game.

They were even more clinical in the second game against Australia at the Oval where after Dhawan’s classic century, Kohli, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni chipped in with their might to ensure a 350-plus total on the board. The sheer score board pressure and the disciplined bowling, when Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed three wickets apiece, ensured their comfortable win even in idea batting conditions.

Great foundation

It was no different against Pakistan with Rahul picking up his first half-century in the crucial first-wicket partnership and Vijay Shankar, Dhawan’s replacement, picking up two wickets. India remained calm despite losing Bhuvneshwar Kumar after just 2.4 overs from the paceman, confident in the awareness that they had enough resources to off-set the setback.

“You could say that to get to 330, you need a team effort,” said Kohli after the win over Pakistan on Sunday. “KL (Rahul) set a great foundation with Rohit and Rohit after getting to 70-75 is unstoppable and he showed again why he’s such a good ODI player.

“It allowed me to play a certain kind of role and it allowed Hardik to come and explode in the end. It has worked till now, gives us a lot of solidity in the middle and it is a role that I am happy playing for the team. It is going really nicely at the moment,” he offered.

You may say Kedar Jadhav is yet to join the party, and it’s true to an extent but who can forget his perfect throw from the deep to get Aaron Finch run out? And to think, that’s not quite his strength…

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