It is India vs Zimbabwe at the Eden Park in Auckland tomorrow.
Where India has expertly outplayed every opponent in this edition of their World Cup, it cannot be said that Zimbabwe was terrible; they just could not get the job done.
Zimbabwe has won just one match out of five and that too against UAE. They could have won two other matches – against Pakistan and Ireland – but destiny had other plans. India, on the other hand, has maintained an unbeaten record with five wins out of five matches.
No one expected India to perform as well as they have done in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Though they suffered a few glitches in the last two matches against West Indies and Ireland, they did have easy victories over Pakistan, South Africa and United Arab Emirates. India’s bowling, especially, has clicked well resulting in massive victories over their opponents.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has achieved just one victory and lost their matches against South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland. Though Zimbabwe’s batting has been commendable, their ability to chase down the set target has been a major letdown.
India and Zimbabwe have faced each other in the World Cups a total of four times with the former having 3-1 edge. India’s only World Cup defeat against their African opponent came during the 1999 edition where they lost by 3 runs. The last time the two teams met was in the 2003 edition of the World Cup where India won by 83 runs.
With India having already qualified for the quarter-finals and expected to win this bout against Zimbabwe, MS Dhoni would want to try his team’s bench strength. The bowlers have done a good job and need to get a well-deserved rest. This is where players like Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Stuart Binny can let their worth known. Zimbabwe would be playing for pride, being knocked out of the tournament already. Though Elton Chigumbura’s fitness status is not fully known at the moment, in case he is 100% for tomorrow’s match, Regis Chakabva might make way for him.
New Zealand is known for having small stadiums, but Eden Park has the largest stadium that the country has to offer. Though India has not consistently won matches in New Zealand, they would be positive of a win tomorrow considering the form they have been in.