With the win against Zimbabwe, Indians have increased their unbeaten run in World Cup games to ten while completing a perfect 6 in the group stages. What has stood out in the last 6 matches has been the discipline with which Indian bowlers have bowled. The inexperienced bowling line-up was not tipped to perform in such a dominating manner where they’ve not let the teams to score totals of 300 which has been a trend this World Cup. After a disastrous Test series and unforgettable Tri-series, much to the surprise and dismay of experts, Dhoni had opted to cut off from cricket and with his bowling unit spent time in South Australia. Indians when went to take field against arch rivals Pakistan in Adelaide, there was scepticism about how the bowling will perform after a disastrous run overseas in the past 12 months. What transpired was for everyone to see.
Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav demolished the Pakistani batting, sharing 6 wickets between them and a rejuvenated R.Ashwin willing to give the ball air and not relying entirely on variations while conventionally getting purchase from the tracks. Against South Africa and West Indies the bowling clicked beautifully and restricted the fancied batting line ups under 200. Such has been the transformation that Indian bowling has knocked out every opposition and has taken all 10 wickets in the six matches.
If we look to analyse the improved performances then the most striking feature has been the attitude and confidence among the pacers who are consistently bowling above 140 kmph mark, occasionally breaching the 145 mark. The line and lengths have been near perfect and the pacers have adjusted their lengths depending on the nature of the pitch. For instance against West Indies at Perth they bowled a touch fuller giving the ball a chance to move in the air and when they bowled short it was just short of good length which was different from their previous game where they bowled a high percentage of balls in the short and good length areas and surprising the much fancied batsmen with the awkward length and an extra yard of pace.
The dismissal inflicted by Mohit Sharma (a late minute edition to the squad after the most experienced bowler in side, Ishant Sharma got injured) of Hashim Amla is one to look out for as the Indian bowlers forced Amla to play the pull shot very early in the innings and Amla fell into the trap and hit one to the fielder at fine leg. Also one must credit the Indian captain for backing his bowlers, against Pakistan when India was searching for wickets he turned to Umesh Yadav urging him to bowl a fourth stump line and letting the ball go away from the batsmen and that spell turned the game on its head. When the pacers have failed to get wickets the spinners have stepped up to deliver breakthroughs. Another feature of the success story has been the approach to take wickets and not get defensive which has paid off big time and this was on display against Ireland and Zimbabwe where wickets in the later part of the inning helped to restrict the opposition under-300.
Also, Indian fielding has played a big role in making their bowling look threatening as the catches have been snapped without much fail. Stats also tell the story behind the makeover, Shami, Ashwin and Yadav have accounted for 37 scalps. The sight of an Indian bowler bouncing out batsmen and troubling them with seam and swing has been a regular feature of Indian wins. So if India has to retain the title, Dhoni must continue to back the bowlers, making them bowl the lines they’ve been bowling thus far in the tournament.