The fifth and final set of World Cup warm-up fixtures saw India take on Bangladesh in Cardiff and West Indies square off against New Zealand in Bristol. For both Bangladesh and West Indies, this was their first warm-up after their earlier clashes had been rained off. Here are our talking points from both fixtures.
Could KL Rahul be India’s No 4 at the World Cup.
Lokesh Rahul, who had failed against New Zealand, silenced his critics by scoring a masterful century here comprising of 12 fours and 4 sixes. Rahul comes into this tournament as the best Indian batsman in the IPL- the second highest run scorer after David Warner.
Tamil Nadu all rounder Vijay Shankar, the current holder of the No.4 spot, missed the first game due to injury and fell cheaply here, making just 2.
If Kedar Jadhav is fit for India’s opener against South Africa, the selectors may choose to play Rahul at 4 to strengthen their batting.
Liton Das makes his case for a World Cup spot
There’s never been any doubt over Liton Das’ talent, but like with many Bangladeshi young batsmen, consistency has been an issue. He’s essentially in this squad as a back-up wicketkeeper and opener, but his recent form has been decent, and it may force the Bangladesh selectors to re-think their original strategy.
India’s spinners fire together
They’ve been a fine combo over the last couple of seasons, but there were some doubts over the effectiveness of India’s spinners- Kuldeep Yadav in particular, leading in to the World Cup. The KKR star picked up three here, as did partner Yuzvendra Chahal, and they accounted for both of Bangladesh’s half centurions- Liton and Mushfiqur Rahim. As captain, Virat Kohli could probably not have asked for more.
West Indies could be dark horses for the World Cup
If the World Cup features good batting tracks, the Windies could be dark horses. They have some talented players at the top of the order in Chris Gayle and Shai Hope, and they also have power hitters like Andre Russell at the back end of the innings. The Windies made 421 against a Kiwi attack that had, just days before, reduced India to a sub 200 score.
Australia only team to win both their warm-up fixtures
Rain may have affected some of the fixtures, but at the end of it all, Australia were the only team to have won both of their WC warm-up clashes. A sign that the five time champions shoudn’t be written off, and could potentially even manage to defend their crown?