India take on Zimbabwe, aim for 6-0
ArrayAuckland: India, who play their sixth and final Pool B match against Zimbabwe, look all set to maintain their unbeaten record at the 2015 cricket World Cup.
Whatever the situation, India have come out with the goods, whether with the bat or ball, to make sure they are one of the favourites going in to the knockouts.
Having already qualified for the quarters following their win over the West Indies, the defending champions could have tested their bench strength against Associate member Ireland at Hamilton on Tuesday.
Though skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to stick with the winning combination, they just might change the playing 11 to give some match practice to others ahead of the knockouts.
India are likely to play Bangladesh at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the last eight on March 19 unless Scotland manage a huge win over Australia at Hobart on Saturday.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe will look to end their campaign on a high in the inconsequential tie. Without a chance of qualifying for the knockouts, Zimbabwe will try to give their skipper a winning farewell as Brendan Taylor has decided to end his international career and concentrate on English county cricket.
Though Zimbabwe have lost four of their five matches yet, they have been competitive in each of them, giving a run for their money to all big teams, having chased in all their matches.
However, despite the talent and potential, they are likely to find India too hot to handle, who are on a nine-match winning streak in World Cups.
In another bad news for Zimbabwe, captain Elton Chigumbura, who also did not play against Ireland, has been ruled out again with a leg muscle injury he suffered against Pakistan.
Eden Park’s small straight boundaries may help the team batting first put up a big total but the wicket and conditions at the start should help seamers, who are likely to get some swing.
In the match between the co-hosts, 19 wickets fell as New Zealand trumped Australia by one wicket at the end. Later, Pakistan comprehensively defended 222 against South Africa.
So it might be a small ground but definitely assists the fast bowlers, who will likely get more bounce. But how the pitch will assist the spinners, who have played a significant role for India in the tournament, remains to be seen.
In all probability, this could well be India’s last match in New Zealand in the World Cup because in the knockouts, they will play their quarters, semis and final, provided they win, in Australia because of the draw they have been placed in.