India have almost booked their places in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. If they can beat Zimbabwe in their final game at the MCG in Melbourne on Sunday, not only will they qualify, but they will have topped their Super 12 group.
That will guarantee them a semi-final against the runners-up from the other group, England.
Not all plain sailing
It has not been all plain sailing for India so far. They snatched a dramatic last-ball victory over Pakistan in their first group, before comfortably beating the Netherlands. However, defeat to South Africa was a setback, and, although they bounced back by defeating Bangladesh, there was more than an element of controversy as to how that was achieved.
However, if they do manage to get past Zimbabwe, India will know that they have a real chance of winning the trophy for only the second time in their history.
Here are the players largely responsible for getting them this far in the tournament already.
Virat Kohli had been scratching for form for several years, but, freed of the burdens of captaincy, he appears to have rediscovered his old zest. He is the leading run scorer in the competition so far, having scored 220 runs in four innings.
Kohli himself described his 82 not out against Pakistan as one of the finest innings of his career. He followed that up by making 62 not out against the Dutch and by finishing undefeated on 64 against Bangladesh.
However, his performance in that match has come under some scrutiny with allegations that he cheated by indulging in the practice known as “fake fielding.”
Suryakumar Yadav was one of those players that had never played in Australia before this tournament, and there were questions about how he might cope with the faster, bouncier wickets.
So far, though he seems to have adapted well, although he may have been assisted by the fact that the amount of rain the country has experienced recently has meant that the pitches have been slower than expected.
His best innings yet has been the 68 that he made in a losing cause against the South Africans, but he also made an undefeated half century in the victory over the Netherlands. His combination with Kohli may yet prove to be a major contributing factor if India are to win the trophy.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya has had a solid tournament so far with both bat and ball. Although overshadowed by his partner in the match against Pakistan, it was his partnership with Virat Kohli that even gave India a chance of winning that match.
He also took three wickets in that match and followed that up with another one against the South Africans and two more against Bangladesh. Whilst the Indian middle order has generally disappointed, he has been an exception to that rule.
When Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the World Cup through injury, there were concerns about who would lead India’s fast bowling attack.
So far the answer has been left-armed medium fast bowler Arshdeep Singh, despite the 23-year-old’s relative lack of experience at this level. He is India’s leading wicket taker in the tournament, having claimed nine scalps so far, and is the only one of their bowlers to have taken at least one wicket in every match.
So far, at least, he has made a greater contribution than more established names like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.
Rohit Sharma would be the first to admit that, to date, he has failed to produce the amount of runs that he should have scored for his team, although he did make a fluent half century against the Dutch.
However, being Indian skipper is never easy because of the degree of scrutiny and expectation, and he does deserve some praise for the way that he has captained the side and helped them keep their nerve, especially when the finish against the Bangladesh became much closer than they might have expected
And he also knows that he has a big innings in him, and there would be no better time to produce than at the sharp end of the tournament.
VISIT OUR BLG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES