India have been dealt a big blow in the 2019 ICC World Cup in England with opener Shikhar Dhawan set to be sidelined for a lengthy spell following the thumb injury he picked up in the win over Australia.
Dhawan struck a sublime ton to lead India’s charge to a 36-run win over the Aussies but had to bat with some discomfort for the majority of his innings after being struck on his thumb early in the match by a Pat Cummins delivery.
According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the southpaw has a suspected hairline fracture on his left thumb and could now miss India’s upcoming clashes against New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan.
Dhawan has reportedly travelled to Leeds to undergo further scans on his thumb and some concrete news on his injury status is expected to emerge late on Tuesday. Some reports have claimed that the batsman could be out for as many as three weeks and that could see him miss most of India’s matches in the round-robin stage.
The BCCI are yet to name any replacement for Dhawan and a final call will likely be taken after the results of his scans on Tuesday.
The left-hander’s potential absence for the coming games will be a big blow for India given the excellent record he has in ICC multi-team tournaments. He has more than 1,200 runs in 20 matches when it comes to the World Cup and Champions Trophy and has managed to register six tons and four fifties in the process.
Should Dhawan be ruled out for the coming matches, India could promote KL Rahul up the order to open the innings alongside Rohit Sharma. Rahul was initially picked in the World Cup squad as a back-up opener but has gone on to establish himself as the designated No4 batsman in the tournament.
Virat Kohli has the option of bringing in someone like Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar into the middle-order while moving Rahul up to open the innings.
India have currently bagged two wins out of two in the 2019 World Cup with their next clash set to take place against New Zealand on Thursday at Trent Bridge.
It is an all-subcontinent affair at Bristol in the 2019 ICC World Cup as Bangladesh lock horns with Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh started their World Cup campaign with a stunning win over South Africa before being handed defeats in their subsequent outings against New Zealand and hosts England.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were thrashed by New Zealand at the start before they bounced back with a win against Afghanistan. Their most recent clash against Pakistan was abandoned due to rain.
Can Bangladesh continue their impressive showings in the World Cup or will Sri Lanka rein supreme at Bristol? Find out by following the ball-ball-ball commentary from the clash below.
Two games in the ongoing tournament including Pakistan’s most recent clash against Sri Lanka have already been wiped out due to poor weather and the threat for the same exists at Taunton on Wednesday.
There is a 60 per cent chance of rain on matchday according to the weather forecast with the prospect of a stop-start affair a real possibility.
AUSSIES AIM TO BOUNCE BACK FROM INDIA LOSS
Australia came into the World Cup on the back of an eight-game winning run in ODIs and they started the same tournament in similar vein with victories against Afghanistan and West Indies.
However, their 10-match winning streak was brought to a halt recently by India with the Aussies falling to a 36-run defeat while attempting to chase a mammoth 353. Very rarely do they lose in the World Cup with four of the last five editions of the tournament going their way.
A loss against fellow contenders India will not rankle Aaron Finch’s men too much but they will be desperate to ensure that it remains a one-off and does not lead to further defeats.
PAKISTAN AIM TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING FROM ENGLAND WIN
Pakistan were being written off by many already after their disastrous start to the World Cup but things have changed quickly in that regard. After a seven-wicket thrashing to Windies where they were bowled out for just 105, the Men in Green bounced back in style by stunning tournament favourites England.
That win over the hosts will have given Pakistan plenty of confidence and they would have ideally liked to keep that winning momentum going against Sri Lanka. However, rain saw that game abandoned without a ball being bowled and denied Pakistan a chance to shine against a team they had beaten in all previous World Cup meetings.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his men will now be hoping that the washed-out clash does not derail their momentum, for they will need to repeat their exploits against England if they are to give the Aussies a run for their money.
ALL EYES ON PAKISTAN’S MIDDLE-ORDER COMBINATION
While their pace bowling woes seem to have subsided for now with Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz coming good, Pakistan still have problems aplenty when it comes to their middle-order.
They went with Haris Sohail and all-rounder Imad Wasim for their campaign opener against Windies before replacing them with Asif Ali and veteran Shoaib Malik for the England clash. Malik has been out of form in recent months and has an abysmal record in England but his experience could be a handy asset against Australia.
Asif Ali failed to fire in the win over England but the right-hander has the ability to provide the finishing flourish in the death overs for Pakistan. As such, it could be hard for Sohail and Imad Wasim to work their way back into the playing XI for now.
AUSTRALIA HAVE UPPER HAND OVER PAKISTAN IN RECENT TIMES
Pakistan’s most recent showings against the Aussies is not too encouraging with the Men in Green tasting 14 defeats in the last 15 ODI meetings between the two sides. The most recent fixture between the two was a five-match ODI series in the UAE held in March where Australia emphatically beat Pakistan 5-0.
The only saving grace for Pakistan in that series rout was the face that they had rested several senior players including skipper Sarfraz and star batsman Babar Azam.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.