'Teams are worried about facing India and how they will cope with them'

MANCHESTER: Former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth says Virat Kohli side's are having a demoralising effect on their World Cup opponents. India beat Pakistan by 89 runs via DLS method in Manchester on Sunday to extend their blistering start to the World Cup.
Two-time champions India, among the favourites to lift the World Cup along with England and Australia, have three wins and a no result from their four matches and look set for a semi-final place.

Srikkanth has been impressed by India's form and claims their powerful displays are torturing opponents in the same way the great West Indies' team of the 1970s used to have teams beaten mentally before the match even started.

"It is a little like England, at the moment everything seems to be going right (for India) and the fans should be very happy," Srikkanth said. "This is starting to feel a little like the West Indian teams of the 1970s, where the opposition would start the game with a psychological disadvantage.

"Teams are worried about facing India and how they will cope with them, which immediately puts them on the back foot." The West Indies, led by Clive Lloyd, was a dominant force when they won the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979.

Kapil Dev's India shocked the West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final to be crowned champions at Lord's-a moment that revolutionised Indian cricket. India underlined their current class against Pakistan on Sunday, with opener Rohit Sharma leading the charge with 140 in their total of 336-5.

Pakistan could only manage 212-6 while chasing a revised target of 302 in 40 overs to go down without a fight. "It felt like there was more pressure on Pakistan, who had built this up to be a huge game, whereas India and Rohit, in particular, were able to treat it like any other match," Srikkanth said.

"That is vital in an ICC Men's Cricket World Cup. You cannot put too much pressure on yourself because of who the opposition is." Sharma's 136-run opening stand with KL Rahul, who scored a measured 57 after being slotted in as opener in place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, stood out in the big win.

Srikkanth said the half-century from Rahul, who helped see off a threatening opening spell from paceman Mohammad Amir, should not be underestimated.

"Everyone knows how good a batsman Rohit Sharma is but for me the more important innings against Pakistan was from KL Rahul," Srikkanth said. "Going into the game, the biggest question mark about this India team was how they would cope without Shikhar Dhawan (who remains with the squad under medical observation).

"The fact the top three all got runs, that Sharma and Rahul put on more than a hundred for the first wicket and that Virat Kohli got more runs, is huge for India going forward in the tournament."

Kohli made 77 off 65 deliveries, his innings laced with seven boundaries before being caught behind off Amir. India icon Sachin Tendulkar congratulated the team for the convincing show against Pakistan and underlined the importance of Rahul's knock.

"It was a brilliant all-round display by #TeamIndia! @ImRo45 was just amazing once again & @klrahul11 after being asked to open, played with a lot of responsibility," Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
"@imVkohli like always was classy & the way @imkuldeep18 bowled along with @hardikpandya7 was great to see," the former captain added. India next take on minnows Afghanistan in Southampton on June 22. - AFP