Ahmedabad, Nov 18: Eoin Morgan, England’s 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup-winning skipper, believes the influence of India captain Rohit Sharma has played a key part in keeping the side different from other teams, propelling them to play in the title clash against Australia on Sunday.
Hosts India have won all 10 matches in the tournament so far as they aim to clinch their third Men’s ODI World Cup title and second on home soil after the 2011 triumph and break their 10-year drought of not winning a global title.
“India, unbeaten in all 10 matches, has been a revelation in this tournament. With Virat Kohli leading the run charts and Mohammed Shami as the leading wicket-taker, the team's performance has been nothing short of incredible.”
“However, what sets this Indian side apart is the influence of captain Rohit Sharma. Since the T20 World Cup semifinal defeat in Adelaide against England last year, Rohit has spearheaded a shift in the team's batting approach,” wrote Morgan in his column for ICC on Saturday.
Apart from being an astute captain with his bowling changes and fielding placements, Rohit has been in prime form with the bat, making 550 at an average of 55 and a mind-boggling strike rate of 124.15. His aggressive starts in the first 10 overs have meant India has been the best batting side in this phase of the game with a run rate of 6.9.
“No longer content with merely accumulating runs, India now embraces an intimidating, aggressive style of play under his leadership. Rohit's personal transformation is evident in his strike rate, soaring from a career average of 102 to an impressive 124 in this World Cup. The question now is whether India can maintain this mindset and apply the same methodology in the final,” added Morgan.
Australia, who are on an eight-match unbeaten streak after losing their first two matches, are eyeing an unprecedented sixth World Cup crown and are now playing their eighth final. Morgan feels the Pat Cummins-led side are capable of stopping the winning Indian juggernaut and their ability to perform under pressure remains key.
“However, as we have seen time and time again, how you start is not as important as how you finish. Winning eight consecutive matches Pat Cummins and his team have done this and are now on the home straight.”
“Overcoming challenges like the absence of key players -– Glenn Maxwell due to concussion and Mitch Marsh for personal reasons -– showcased their resilience. As the only team capable of halting India's unbeaten streak, Australia's ability to perform under pressure is their hallmark. Their well-drilled team, developed across all three formats, exudes a belief and confidence unique to their cricketing culture.”
Talking about the Sunday showdown, Morgan believes Australia are embracing the underdog label for the title clash, while India will be carrying the weight of 1.3 billion fans on their shoulders in their quest for glory in Ahmedabad.
“Australia's sense of opportunity, fuelled by their proven ability to perform under pressure, makes them formidable opponents. India, having harnessed the support of their fans throughout the tournament, face the challenge of converting that energy into performance without succumbing to the pressure.”
“As the players take the field, the culmination of hard work, dedication and sacrifice will unfold. The final is not just a match, it's an opportunity to create a lasting legacy, a moment that will inspire generations of cricketers and fans worldwide.” (IANS)