Bengaluru, July 4: Before the first ball of the ICC World Cup 2019 was bowled, it was believed that batters will have it their way in the tournament lasting a month and half. Toss was not considered that big a factor as teams with explosive batting line-ups were confident of achieving any target, thanks to the fact that we live in the T20 era.
But soon, a massive realisation set in about the challenges that chasing teams face and now, captains are not wasting a nano second in choosing to bat first if the coin flips in their favour.
Ever since England's slump against Australia, teams are mostly choosing to bat after winning toss
In the last 10 matches that have been played in the tournament, seven have been won by teams that have batted first. And England were in a way pioneer of the change of strategy of batting first after they slumped against Australia after opting to bowl first at Lord's on June 25.
The star England batting line-up crumbled in the face of a strong Australian bowling and Eoin Morgan's side survived the scare of getting knocked out by winning the next two tosses and with that, the matches against India and New Zealand.
On both occasions, England batsmen were left to their freedom of scoring fast and then the bowlers came hard at the opponents under pressure - just how the conventional wisdom had played out in cricket.
Even top batting sides like Australia and India have faced challenge in batting second
Even the two top teams in the tournament so far - Australia and India - will abide by Morgan's words at the toss that teams liked to chase earlier but not any more. Six out of Australia's seven wins so far have come batting first and the only won they won batting second was against Afghanistan.
India, on the other hand, won batting first in five games while against South Africa, they won batting second. Those games were towards the first half of the tournament and as the sun has started blazing and the wickets have become drier, it has become a paradise for teams with strong batting line-ups to make the most of it early on and then leave a slowing-down track for the opponents.
Australia and India have lost their only games in the tournament batting second which says even the strongest of batting line-ups are finding it challenging to cope with the slowish surfaces as the game progresses.
May be after a decade that the final of the World Cup will be won by teams batting first.