BIRMINGHAM: West Indies great Clive Lloyd says India are the best-balanced side at the World Cup and look like the team to beat.
Virat Kohli’s men are unbeaten after their first six matches of the round-robin competition and need just one win from their remaining three games to guarantee a place in the semi-finals.
Holders Australia were the first to book a final-four spot and will be battling for the top position with India and New Zealand as the league phase draws to a close.
“I have been impressed by India — I think the winner of the whole thing is going to be one of them or Australia,” Lloyd said in a column for the International Cricket Council. “Any team that wants to lift the trophy will have to beat India — they are unbeaten so far and look a very well-balanced side.”
India crushed West Indies on Thursday to end the Caribbean side’s hopes of qualifying from the 10-team group stage.
Lloyd, who led West Indies to two World Cup triumphs, in 1975 and 1979, said he had been disappointed by the way his former side’s campaign had fizzled out after they started the tournament with a convincing win over Pakistan.
The former skipper said India’s bowling attack had impressed him most of all.
“Jasprit Bumrah is a fantastic discovery but behind him guys like Mohammed Shami and the wrist spinners have been really impressive,” he said. “What I like about their attack, as opposed to many in this tournament, is that they bowl to take wickets.”
But the 74-year-old feels two-time champions India are not unbeatable if you can get through to their middle order.
“Make early inroads into their batting line-up — where they only have five specialist batsmen 1 and you have a chance,” he said. “Of course, a lot of that depends on getting rid of Virat Kohli, the best batsman in the tournament.”
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2019