India’s last six ODI totals read 308/8 vs Aus, 338/9 vs Aus, 302/5 vs Aus, 317/5 vs Eng, 336/6 vs Eng and 329/10 vs Eng. Clearly, there is a pattern emerging.
Gone are the days when 240-250 were competitive totals or 300 was considered a guarantee to win. For a team batting first in ODIs now, even scores of 350 are not safe anymore.
Being one of the top most teams in world cricket, naturally India too have had to adapt to modern day ODI cricket which has shown in their scores of late.
Over the last 4-5 years, India have had a clear strategy. Their middle order, particularly with MS Dhoni’s returns dipping, wasn’t as strong as it had always been. This is why India’s top 3 in Rohit Sharma, ShikharDhawan and ViratKohli took on the responsibility.
They tried to ensure that at least one of these batsmen scored a century and batted deep into the innings, allowing the rest of the batsmen to play around him.
India brought in the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh for a short while after the 2015 World Cup but the move did not work out. There were a couple of good knocks from KedarJadhav but he too was not able to be consistent in the middle order. Same was the case with the likes of Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar.
It was this shaky middle order which cost India the semi final of the ODI World Cup against New Zealand. Post the 2019 World Cup, the likes of ShreyasIyer and Rishabh Pant began to emerge and put in good performances.
With Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul also beginning to perform consistently, India now have a solid middle order which cannot only hold their own but also score quickly. As other teams in world cricket have now started targeting the score of 350 on a regular basis, India’s top 3 have also begun to go at a quicker rate, with the security that their middle order has their back when the likes of Dhawan, Sharma and Kohli do not fire.
Hence, India have started going a lot harder in ODI cricket and the results are for everyone to see. The team is now breaching the score of 300 on a consistent basis and trying to push the envelope further at all times.