Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Before the much-awaited semifinal match against New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday, high-flying India will lock horns with Netherlands in Bengaluru on Sunday. 

Though the result is perhaps of mere academic interest, the Men in Blue are likely to approach it with just as much energy and enthusiasm as they have done all their games so far. It has held the hosts in good stead all the way through in the mega event.

To go into the crucial knock-out stage with a low-key contest against Netherlands may not be construed as ideal preparation. However, India would like to continue their winning momentum as it will keep them in good stead for the semifinal game.

India and Netherlands have faced each other twice in ODIs, and both have come in ODI World Cups (2003 and 2011). In terms of head-to-head, India have won both the matches.

India may tinker with their winning combination a little bit for their final league match in the mega event. Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin could be given a chance as this might be his last World Cup, and in-form Kuldeep Yadav could be rested. If Ashwin plays, he could batter higher up the order, at no. 8.

On the other hand, Netherlands are fighting for qualification in the upcoming Champions Trophy. A win against this tournament’s unbeaten side will send them to eighth place. The top-eight teams in the league stage will qualify for the Champions Trophy. Netherlands are currently languishing at the bottom of the table with four points in eight matches including two wins and six defeats.

India’s predicted XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.