There were plenty of question marks hanging over Team India heading into their final warm-up game on Tuesday but they answered most of them with conviction.
Batting first, Virat Kohli and his men recovered from a poor start to ultimately post a daunting 359-7 before their bowlers bundled out Bangladesh for 264.
RAHUL LOCKS NO4 POSITION
It took some time coming but India solved their No4 woes in the nick of time with KL Rahul registering a superb century. The right-hander had failed to grasp his chance against New Zealand in the first warm-up but was in control on Tuesday with a counter-attacking innings full of class.
With India in some trouble at 102-4, Rahul brought out his A-game in an innings filled with delightful boundaries. He stitched together a 164-run stand with the equally brilliant MS Dhoni to put India in the driving start and rounded off his stellar innings with a well-deserved century.
Twelve boundaries and four sixes came from Rahul’s bat in his 108-run knock and that should see the 27-year-old beat Vijay Shankar for the race to No4.
VINTAGE DHONI BOLSTERS MIDDLE-ORDER
There were bonuses in abundance for India on Tuesday with veteran MS Dhoni also putting in a vintage display with the bat. The 37-year-old was at his best in an innings where he took the attack to Bangladesh’s bowlers right from the start.
The wicketkeeper-batsman enthralled the Cardiff crowd along with Rahul with some brutal hitting that saw him slam as many as seven sixes. Dhoni brought the hitting form he showed in the recent IPL for Chennai Super Kings in an innings which culminated in a fine century.
His 78-ball 113 will give him plenty of confidence ahead of what is certainly his final World Cup campaign. With Dhoni in ominous form, India’s middle-order is suddenly starting to look a formidable one and that is a good sign considering how highly the team has been dependent on the top-order to fire.
KULDEEP, SPINNERS FIND FORM AS WELL
Along with the No4 puzzle, the biggest issue burning a hole in India’s World Cup ambitions was the poor form of Kuldeep Yadav. The young wrist-spinner had been low on confidence ever since his miserable IPL campaign for Kolkata Knight Riders and it showed in his wicket-less display against the Kiwis a few days ago.
He did not make the most assured of starts on Tuesday either but grew in confidence as he got further into his spell. However, once he castled Mahmudullah with a ripping leg-spinner, the smile and rhythm both returned for Kuldeep who claimed two more wickets on the day.
The southpaw dismissed the well-set Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Saifuddin off consecutive deliveries with the latter being beaten all ends up by a googly.
His wrist spin-twin Yuzvendra Chahal too found form with three wickets while Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with one as well to cap off an excellent day for India’s spinners.
With Kuldeep and the spinners back in their elements, India will not need rely entirely on Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliance in the World Cup.
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