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World Cup 2019: India’s possible playing XI for the semi-final

These are the Possible XI for India in the first semis against New Zealand on Tuesday.

Indian team
Indian team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

This was already expected, the juggernauts entering the semifinals is was predicted well in advance. India has finally qualified for the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup becoming the second team after Australia to do so with a hard-fought win over their neighbours Bangladesh.

In the final match, the Proteas beating Kangaroos boosted India to seal the top spot on the points table. There has been a lot of debate about India’s team combination going into the semis and with Virat Kohli making 2 changes in the last game, it just heats up the debate even more. Let’s look at what could the ideal playing 11 for India in the semis would be:

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1. Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Rohit Sharma would be wearing an orange cap right now instead of Blue of this was the IPL. He perhaps has been the best batsman of the tournament scoring 544 runs at an average of over 90 with 4 centuries. He is now second on the list of all-time century scorer in world cups behind only the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and equalled Kumar Sangakkara’s record of most centuries in a single edition of a World Cup.

India would be hoping that he carries this form into the semis and it would be fair to say that he currently is the biggest intimidating factor for any team that faces India in the knockouts.

2. KL Rahul

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Talent’ is the word that was Rohit Sharma’s synonym in the heydays of his career and that tag has now been passed on to his opening partner KL Rahul, who by any stretch of the imagination is one of the most talented batsmen in the world. A thumb injury to Shikhar Dhawan early on in the tournament meant that KL Rahul was promoted to open the batting and the Karnataka lad had met the expectations.

But he hasn’t even converted his promising starts into a match-winning hundred. Come to the knockouts, India would be relying on Rahul to support Rohit in getting India off to a flyer.

3. Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

5 consecutive half-centuries at an average of over 58, for any other batsman those would be outstanding numbers but for Kohli, these are mediocre numbers. 5 half centuries without converting them into a century is very un-Kohli like. But the entire cricketing world knows that Kohli loves the big stage and come to the semis he would be hungry to score that much anticipated hundred under his belt.

Kohli known as a run machine has been a big asset to the team. So far in this World Cup, if the opening stand was broken, the skipper has been successful in setting up the things right.

4. Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Christopher Lee-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Touted as one of the most talented southpaws in world cricket, Rishabh Pant was a centre of attraction when he was left out of the World Cup squad. Coming in as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan and roped in the playing 11 against England due to a toe injury to Vijay Shankar, he was quick to make an impact against Bangladesh scoring a quick fire 48.

India would really hope that they have finally settled down on their No 4 and would expect Rishabh to play those match-winning innings as he did for Delhi Capitals

5. MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Arguably the greatest finisher the world has ever seen, MS Dhoni is by all odds playing his last tournament for India and would to go out on a high. His form with the bat has been a bit tricky going into the semis and could be a bit of a worry for India. He played 1 good inning against Australia but since then he has struggled especially against spin scoring at a strike rate of under 50.

India relies heavily on him to give them those big finishes and bail them out of trouble if need be and for India to do well, MSD has to come to the party may be for the one last time.

6. Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya and Ranveer Singh
Hardik Pandya and Ranveer Singh. (Photo Source: Twitter)

If he doesn’t do it with the bat, he does it with the ball and he proved that against Bangladesh when he wasn’t able to score any runs but picked up 3 crucial wickets including the prized wicket of Shakib. Hardik Pandya is perhaps the most improved cricketer in this side in the last 6 months. He reinvented his batting style in the IPL and currently is one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball.

He is the one who provides that much-needed balance to this India side and Virat Kohli is now looking at him as a full 10 overs bowler rather than just a part-time seamer.

7. Kedar Jadhav

Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

The one player who hasn’t performed to his potential in this world cup for India has to be Kedar Jadhav. Maybe he has been underutilised by Virat but surely his batting form is a big concern. Kedar’s Strike Rate is the second worst in the World Cup in the last 10 overs and that could be a major concern if it is a 330-350 kind of a game.

Kedar’s inclusion in the side is a must because it gives India a much needed 6th bowling option, in case one of the frontline bowlers has an off day or a niggle, Kedar could chip in with a few overs and is known as a ‘Golder arm’ for breaking crucial partnerships.

8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Even though this selection might raise a few eyebrows, the inclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a must for India in the semis. Given that India would most probably play their semi-finals at Edgbaston which the shortest boundary in this year’s world cup, it would be very risky to play 2 wrist spinners especially after how the English batsman went after them last Sunday.

Also playing 2 wrist spinners means India can have a very long tail but with Bhuvi’s inclusion that just lengthens the batting and can also give Bumrah a reliable death bowling partner.

9. Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

With an option to play just 1 wrist spinner, Virat Kohli will undoubtedly opt for Yuzvendra Chahal over Kuldeep. Chahal’s form and temperament to bowl under pressure and on flat pitches like the one he bowls on at the Chinnaswamy stadium while playing for RCB gives him an edge over Kuldeep. Post the Champions trophy 2017, Chahal is the second leading wicket-taker in ODI Cricket and also has a six-wicket haul against England in T20 Cricket, the opposition India is most likely to face in the semis.

Chahal will have the responsibility to keep the scoring rate down while also giving India those crucial wickets in the middle overs.

10. Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Mohammed Shami is having a sensational World Cup so far picking up 14 wickets in only 4 games so far including a match-winning hat-trick against Afghanistan bowling the last over. He is perhaps Kohli’s biggest weapon with the new ball given his ability to hit the seam on a consistent basis with a speed In excess of 140 kmph regularly.

The only small weakness for Shami right now is his death bowling but with Bhuvi and Jasprit Bumrah available, expect Shami to bowl out his 10 overs before the 40th over.

11. Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Now, what can one say about him that already hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly Kohli’s most bankable player and a yorker bowling machine in the death. Even though Jasprit Bumrah isn’t leading the wicket charts, he has provided India with crucial wickets under pressure situations which turned the match on its head.

He will be the most discussed player in the opposition dressing room before they take the field against India and given his ability to rise under pressure situation, consider his 10 overs as gold-dust.

~Written by Parth Parekh

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