KL Rahul asserted India will “end up most probably on the winning side” against England by maintaining the standards that have seen them maintain an unbeaten run to the World Cup.
India moved up to second in the group standings, ahead of New Zealand on net run-rate, after hammering the West Indies by 125 runs at Old Trafford.
Confidence is flowing in the Indian camp ahead of this weekend’s showdown against the tournament hosts, who they replaced as the world number one ranked side on Thursday.
India will seal their passage to the semi-finals by beating England at Edgbaston but Rahul insists denting Eoin Morgan’s side’s own hopes of progressing to the knockout stages is not a motivating factor.
He said: “I don’t think any team goes in with that kind of mindset. We all want to do and perform the best we can as individuals and as teams.
“If we play the best cricket and if we play the kind of cricket that we’ve been playing in the last four or five games, we’ll end up most probably on the winning side.
“Winning and losing isn’t what we’re focused on right now. Everybody individually and as a team, we’re focused on getting our plans right, executing our skills right.
“It’s a big game against England, so hopefully the confidence and the momentum that we have, we can carry that to Birmingham and it will be great to get more wins.”
As against Afghanistan at Southampton, India occasionally laboured with the bat on a slow pitch that offered a hint of movement off the seam and appreciable turn.
Virat Kohli’s 72 from 82 balls underpinned a total of 268-7, which was swelled by late acceleration from Hardik Pandya (46 from 38 balls) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (56 not out off 61 deliveries).
Rahul fell two runs short of a half-century and the opener insists the pressures of the tournament means a gung-ho approach in the first powerplay is unsuitable.
He said: “In one-day internationals over the years, we’ve seen that kind of approach because it’s bilateral series and it’s a different ball game. This is a World Cup and each game, the pressure is really high.
“As a batsman you can’t really go out there and play that kind of innings with that kind of freedom fully. We don’t mind taking that little extra time when it’s a slow wicket. We need to be flexible in our heads.”
Know more about Sport360 Application
Fast bowler Kemar Roach insists that West Indies have a bright future despite their elimination from ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 following their 125-run defeat by India.
Roach, 30, was the pick of the Windies bowlers at Old Trafford, taking 3/36, including the big wicket of opener Rohit Sharma.
And speaking after his side’s fifth defeat from seven games, Roach said: “We have to look at ourselves deeply and move forward. We’re out now but there’s a future for us.
“We’re still learning and there’s a couple of young guys in the team who have great futures. We have some quality players around like Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas. Once they good guidance they will do well for West Indies.
“I will always be a fan of West Indies cricket. There are some more players back home and hopefully you’ll see them filter into the side in the near future.”
Roach defended the decision to use up his and captain Jason Holder’s quota of overs well before the end of the Indian innings.
India’s total of 268/7 was short of where they seemed to be heading after the second-wicket stand of 69 between KL Rahul and Virat Kohli.
But the Windies never got close and lost their last seven wickets for 63 runs in 14 overs.
Roach said: “I trust Jason as skipper. He’s been a good skipper for us the last couple of years and of course it was early that we had both bowled out.
“But you want to get stuck into the Indian middle order as early as possible. It was a slow pitch. It was all about being consistent with the ball and bowling good areas.
“I was in good rhythm and bowled pretty well. I was proud of my figures and being economical. Jason also bowled well – in fact all the bowlers did well.
“We did a pretty good job of restricting them to 268, which I thought was a below par total. But India are a tough team. They’re smart and they know what they’re doing.
“Playing against them is an eye opener – you have to be very sharp. They have a quality batting line-up with world class players.”
Roach has played only three of West Indies’ seven matches so far in the tournament and had no explanation for his side’s disappointing showing following their victory over Pakistan at Trent Bridge in the second match of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
He said: “It’s tough to say. The guys were very confident after the start against Pakistan but then we had a couple of close games against Australia and New Zealand.
“You want to get over the line and get some confidence.”
South Africa will approach their last two matches at this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup with the joys of youth, according to middle-order batsman JP Duminy.
With just one win from seven matches, South Africa are unshackled from the pressures of needing to qualify for the semi-finals.
And Duminy believes it could bring out the best in them when they take on Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
“(It’s a chance to) go out and play your natural game, your naturally-gifted game – and that’s not a cop-out. That is just an understanding that you have almost the licence to just go out and play with the freedom that you were allowed to play with almost as a young kid and play with a smile on your face and play to enjoy the game,” Duminy said.
For Duminy, that mindset is even more crucial because this tournament is his last. The 35-year old announced his retirement from ODI cricket prior to the World Cup and wants to end his 15-year career on a happy note.
“That’s the kind of mentality that I certainly want to end my international one-day career with: just enjoying, having fun with my friends on the field and understanding what a huge privilege it was to represent my country so many times,” he continued.
“It’s something you should never take for granted.”
Duminy has played 197 ODIs for South Africa and if he plays the remaining two games, will end with 199 caps.
He could have had a few more but was benched after the first three matches of the tournament, having got into double-figures only once, and admitted that has made this experience bittersweet.
“The last thing I would have thought is playing the first three games and being left out, particularly after a retirement call,” he said.
“But that’s the nature of the beast. You’re never guaranteed a selection.”
Instead, Duminy hopes he will leave a legacy in conduct and be remembered as a good team man.
“For me, legacy is not in performance. I think legacy is the person you are. It’s about influencing people in the right way,” Duminy said.
“When people look back or think of you and they’ve had the opportunity to interact with you. I don’t think a hundred is the thing they remember. They remember the impact you had on their life and I think that is the most important thing for me.”
But that does not mean Duminy is not hungry for a few more big shots and he wants to see South Africa play to their potential before they leave the World Cup.
“The important mission for us is to play good cricket, the cricket we know and the brand we know we are capable of playing,” Duminy said.
Then he expects South Africa to return home and rebuild, with the young players that are part of this squad as the base and the older players like him around as a sounding board ahead of the next time they play at a major tournament.
“We have always been resilient, we have always had opportunities to come back and I have no doubt that this team will come back stronger and be even more prepared and driven to put in a really good performance in four years’ time,” Duminy said.