AFTER a winless campaign in Australia in the lead-up to the World Cup, India was written off as a major threat, largely on the back of what was believed to be an under-strength pace attack.
But after four consecutive wins that has seen the team jump to the top of Pool B, former captain Sourav Ganguly says he has been pleasantly surprised by India's bowling.
"Honestly, it has come as a surprise to me. I didn't expect this bowling line-up to deliver the way they have done so far," he told reporters ahead of today's clash with surprise packets Ireland in Hamilton.
"The Indian bowlers have surpassed everyone's expectations. Mohammed Shami has been consistent and Umesh Yadav has worked up great pace. Mohit (Sharma), too, has surprised me, he has improved with each match and is making the team look all the more powerful."
Ireland, one of the four associate nations in the tournament, has played some tremendous cricket, beating the West Indies, UAE and Zimbabwe to put it well in the frame for a fairytale quarter-final berth.
The team's batsmen have been the stars. If India wants to put itself up as a genuine title chance, it will want to win big today.
Meanwhile, England has exited the World Cup in stunning fashion, losing a thriller to Bangladesh by 15 runs in Adelaide, bowled out for 260 in reply to the Tigers' 7-275.
Rubel Hossain bowled both Stuart Broad and James Anderson in the 49th over to secure a fairytale quarter-final appearance, after Mohammad Mahmudullah (103 off 138 balls) scored his country's first World Cup century.
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