Before the start of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, many experts had tipped the Indian cricket team as favourites to win the global tournament in home conditions.
As of now, the Rohit Sharma-led side has lived up to the expectations of fans and experts alike. The Men in Blue have won all five games so far against Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and New Zealand.
They need one more win out of the remaining four league matches to secure a spot in the semi-final.
Meanwhile, former skipper Sourav Ganguly has opined that Australia and South Africa will pose the most significant challenges for India as they strive to claim their third World Cup title.
"Australia and South Africa will be the two biggest challengers for India," Ganguly said, as quoted by PTI.
"They have bounced back really well and are playing really good cricket. Today's win (against New Zealand) was really thrilling," he added.
South Africa are leading the points table with five wins from six matches. On the other hand, Australia started their campaign two successive defeats but bounced back brilliantly to register four wins on the trot.
Ganguly expressed his surprise over England’s dismal show in the marquee event. The defending champions have lost four out of five games so far and they are on the brink of early elimination.
"Never thought England would play like that but that's what sports is all about," the former BCCI President said.
India and England are due to square off at Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday (October 29).
"India is a strong side and is doing well. But championship is too far, first they have to get past the knockout stage," Ganguly stated.
Even though India’s performance has been clinical so far, the team is sweating over the fitness of its key player Hardik Pandya.
The all-rounder sustained an ankle injury during India’s match against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19. Subsequently, he missed out on the last fixture against New Zealand in Dharamsala on October 22.
Hardik is all set to miss the game against England as well since he is still recovering from the injury at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.
"He is an important player but India are still a very strong side," Ganguly said.
India will play South Africa at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 5 and the demand for tickets has gone sky-high.
"It's India match obviously there will be craze. Thankfully I'm not (BCCI) president anymore. I don't have any tickets with me."
(With PTI Inputs)