World Cup live score: Skipper Brendan Taylor digs in heels after Zimbabwe 142/ 3 wickets
Zimbabwe 142/ 4 (35over)
New ball and openers | Mohammad Shami will start with the new ball. Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza are the two openers.
Toss | Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first against Zimbabwe in their final league match.
India are unchanged and Dhoni feels that the pitch won’t change much and the short boundaries here will help them chase whatever the opposition put on. Brendan Taylor wanted to chase too. His side is also unchanged.
Defending champion India will emphasize consistency on Saturday as it attempts to continue its unbeaten run through the Cricket World Cup in its last pool match against Zimbabwe.
Captain Mahendra SinghDhoni, who has led India to nine consecutive wins in World Cup matches – encompassing its run to the title in 2011 and its first five pool matches of the 2015 tournament – has indicated India will follow New Zealand’s lead and maintain an unchanged lineup unless injuries force its hand.
Dhoni said India had no incentive to rest players as it headed into the quarterfinals and would likely only do so if a player was in danger of breaking down. Otherwise, he said, India would continue to take the field with what it considered to be its best 11.
“If everyone is fit and available for selection we’ll field the best 11,” he said. “Because there are already long breaks between matches that much rest should be adequate.”
Dhoni was more blunt in delivering that message after India’s most-recent, eight wicket win over Ireland in Hamilton on Tuesday, saying “the bench strength will warm the bench.”
India has bowled out all five of its opponents at the World Cup so far – Pakistan for 224, South Africa for 177, the United Arab Emirates for 101, the West Indies for 182 and Ireland for 259.
Dhoni suggested after the win over Ireland that it was the improvement in the performance of the Indian bowlers that had brought about the “remarkable difference” in India’s overall form since its tour of Australia immediately prior to the World Cup.
He said after the win over Ireland “what the bowlers are doing is something that I have not seen for a long time, particularly with the Indian team set up.”
The captain’s message about bowling a particular line to create pressure is being picked up willingly by the bowlers and it is working, he said, “Now they have seen it and they have tasted it.”
Asked to explain the turnaround in the bowlers’ form, Dhoni said “probably it’s a mixture of everything. Maybe it is about getting hit every day, implementing advices better, a new bowling coach, a combination of a lot of things.
“When you do something new, it’s important that the result goes in your favor. Then you become more inclined to follow,” the new method, he said. “When bowlers honestly tried something and said ‘let’s do it’ and it worked in their favor, that’s something that triggered a spark. Hopefully this learning will remain in their mind always.”
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor, who will play his last game for Zimbabwe on Saturday before joining the English county Nottinghamshire on a three-year deal, agreed the Indian bowlers had become a handful.
“We all know what a powerhouse they are at batting but they certainly hold their own with the ball,” he said. “They’ve had proven performances with their spinners and we see how well they’ve done for India over the years, even in conditions that are not so suited to them.
“Even the new ball bowlers have struck early where they possibly haven’t done that in the past and they’re bowling with some good pace, too. That’s certainly good for Indian cricket and it’ll be very challenging for us tomorrow.”