The Indian cricket team were the first team to qualify for the semi finals of the 2013 ICC Champions' Trophy.
They did it with a game to spare, and after having won the first two matches of the group stages, against South Africa and West Indies - teams with a good fast bowling attack against whom the Indian batsmen were expected to struggle against.
In both of the matches, the openers gave more than 100 runs starts and the pressure was off the batsmen to follow. In fact the openers have started stylishly and effectively against quality opening ball bowlers in each of the three matches India has played so far.
While the absence of Dale Steyn and the injury to Morne Morkel midway through the innings in the first match made the task of the openers easier, but it doesn't take away from the freedom and range of shots exhibited by the openers, or the frequency with which this range was displayed by them in sometimes overcast conditions.
The pitches have been said to be dry, and the new Kookaburra balls not favouring the seam and swing of the fast men, but the Indian openers have exploited these factors more than any of the other teams.
What Shikhar Dhawan with his back to back hundreds at the top and Ronit Sharma, with back to back fifties have proved is that Indian batstmen's erstwhile failures in England, even as recently as the summer of 2011 was an issue of negative mindset translating into muddled footwork and poor selection of shots.
India's bowlers have long been the poorer cousins of their batting counterparts - the batsmen have been the stars, idolised and adored by the fans. The bowlers, in the ongoing tournament, have been adequate in their control of opposing batsmen - while Ravindra Jadeja has been the outstanding performer with the ball, the pacers have given wicket taking starts at the top. But come the knockout stages, the bowlers need to perform better in the end overs, otherwise a shock exit may well transpire and extinguish all memories of a superb performance in the group stages.
The one aspect of the Indian team's performance, which has surprised the most, is the fielding. They have been by far the best fiedling side in the short tournament - with the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, and Rohit Sharma manning the infield runs have been saved and run outs scored, which has given a mostly mediocre bowling attack the lift and bite to keep opposing batting units in check.
What has been a very good run so far can in fact go on for two more matches, what the team needs to watch out for is complacency and the conditions. If they go on to win the next two matches it will be a well deserved and well won trophy bringing some relief to the disgruntled fans back home.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://bit.ly/12evFlH
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms