The shocking victory of Sri Lanka over hosts and pre-tournament favourites England has ramifications which go beyond just the two sides involved. It means that all the calculations regarding the English team done prior to the event have to be put aside. They are no longer a side that is peerless in chasing and seem to be crumbling rather than shining under the pressure of expectations.
So, what does this mean for the future of this tournament? Well, it seems that there is now just one side in the tournament which is playing perfectly and has got every piece of the puzzle in the right place – India.
Just think about it! England have lost two matches – both to relatively weaker teams in the form of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They also lost both these matches while chasing. This puts paid to the idea that they revel in the challenge of pursuing a target regardless of how high it is. Their bowling is looking good but some of the key bowlers like Adil Rashid are not firing. Batting line-up is still strong but also has its own peculiar problems, like being unable to adapt to more challenging conditions.
What about the other favourites, Australia? They are getting better but are also far from being at their best. Warner is only beginning to get into the sort of form expected of him but their performance against India displayed signs of wilting under pressure.
New Zealand have been progressing nicely but needed an almighty effort from their captain to cross the line in the match against South Africa. The Proteas, on the other hand, look out of sorts. The less said about the Pakistan team, the better.
So, as things stand today, India are the overwhelming favourites. They are the only team which has got every base covered and every department performing up to their potential. The batsmen are firing, pacers delivering and spinners succeeding. They are the only side that has four strike bowlers and two all-rounders capable of picking wickets. This, when taken along with the presence of the best ODI batsman in the world – Virat Kohli – and another heavyweight – Rohit Sharma – as well as dangerous lower order batters like Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni puts the Men in Blue head and shoulders above the competition.
They easily defeated Australia and brushed aside all other teams without breaking into sweat. The only team that was considered strong enough to challenge the Indian supremacy, England, are looking a shadow of themselves. In this scenario, there seems to be no side capable of stopping the Indian juggernaut. It would require a massive turnaround for things to go wrong from here. It looks like Virat Kohli's fingerprints are destined to be on the World Cup trophy.