But in reality, there are no academic-naturalized games in the World Cup, where teams constantly try to improve in their quest for ultimate glory.
India are no different as they look to keep the momentum ticking over with a couple of team goals against the Netherlands, so a large-scale change to the playing eleven of the hosts is unlikely at this point .
Since cricket is often a game of results and numbers, an approaching historic personal milestone also gives this game a sense of excitement, which is also important from a team perspective.
Kohli equaled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49th ODI hundred against South Africa in Kolkata, and is now waiting for his 50th ton.
Kohli may want to insulate himself from the outside noise and focus on the job at hand – continuing to churn out events but expectations have risen that he achieves the first milestone in his IPL house. So far, he has amassed 543 runs, which topped the Indian batting chart and this is also the first time for Kohli to cross the 500-run mark in a 50-over World Cup. He had made 282 runs in 2011, 305 in 2015 and 443 in 2019, and Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma played the leading roles with the bat in those editions.
So, Kohli will not want any slip-up in the final series match in India, using it as a preparation ground to get back to his sharp self ahead of the semi-finals after a gap of a week after the match against the Proteas.
From the team point of view, the management might like to see some runs against Suryakumar Yadav’s name. He has scored 85 runs from four matches at an average of 21.25.
He is the single missing piece in this Indian line-up where other front-line batsmen have made at least a fifty and the total runs in tandem with his moderate run in ODIs as well.
Suryakumar got into the playing eleven following the absence of Hardik Pandya due to injury, but the Mumbaikar is yet to really take the opportunity. The Netherlands gives him a good chance to correct that anomaly.
Similarly, the Indians’ batting up front has been in a bit of a slump, something that has not been given much attention during the eight consecutive victories in the competition.
Openers Rohit and Shubman Gill have stitched together three fifty-plus stands in the tournament, but in the next five matches they were quickly separated.
But in those three games, they got out of the blocks quickly, putting the opposition through the wringer.
They have scored 88 runs in 12.4 overs against Bangladesh, 71 in 11.1 overs against New Zealand and 62 in 5.5 overs against South Africa.
But other times, their alliance was in the 5, 32, 23, 26 and 4. The think tank would like them to expand the footprint of those three games, and the Netherlands, no disrespect here, will give them a perfect platform to do that. .
On the other hand, India’s bowling remained largely trouble free with all three pacers and two spinners delivering frequently.
Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj have made a risky choice for opposition batsmen, but the management could welcome a little more consistency in line and length from Siraj.
But overall, this ultra-efficient five-man unit will be looking for one final practice before the final four games, possibly against New Zealand in Mumbai.
Turning to the Dutch camp, they will be happy to at least give this red-hot Indian side a few rough minutes.
They have some talented bowlers in Logan Van Beek, Bas de Leede and Paul van Meekeren but on an often flat pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium they will be hard pressed to stop a strong Indian batting line-up.
Their top-order batsmen like Teja Nidamanuru, Max O’Dowd and Wesley Barresi have struggled for runs in this tournament and they may find it too limited to take on the well-oiled Indian bowlers.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.
The Netherlands: Scott Edwards (c), Max O’Dowd, Bas de Leede, Vikram Singh, Teja Nidamanuru, Paul van Meekeren, Colin Ackermann, Roelof van der Merwe, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt, Ryan Klein, Wesley Barresi, Saqib Zulfiqar, Shariz Ahmad, Sybrand Engelbrecht.
The game starts at 2pm.
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