India has made a strong opening impression at the ICC Champions Trophy. While they weren't considered the favorites heading into this competition, their performances to date should make us all reconsider that assumption.
All the scores can be found here, and let me just say, India's performances have been impressive.
India played two warm-up matches and won both. They beat Sri Lanka by five wickets, and then beat Australia by 243 runs. The performance against Australia had to be a nice confidence boost for India as they entered the start of group play.
In the first group contest, India took down South Africa by 26 runs.
This was a big win for India as there is little margin for error in Group B. That group includes, along with India and South Africa, Pakistan and the West Indies.
Mighty Pakistan has already picked up a loss, so this win gives India a nice cushion to start group play.
However, it wasn't just the result that was promising for India, but how they earned it.
Shikhar Dhawan played brilliantly, which is exactly what this young team from India needed. He made 114 of 94 balls as the left-hander sparkled.
With big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh not taking part, it was important for this young team to get off to a strong start.
As Alternative Cricket points out, this team is missing some serious experience:
STATGASM: This is India's first ICC ODI tournament without Sachin Tendulkar since 1987! #CT13— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) June 6, 2013
Not only is this team battling youth, but also the distraction of an alleged spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League.
Still, all of this has appeared to give this group a new fortitude.
Consider that heading into this competition, India had played 22 matches outside the subcontinent and posted just a 30-percent winning percentage, and it was clear that India needed something to turn the tide.
Said tide appears to be changing.
India features a strong middle of the order and solid lower order. While they will have to contend with inconsistent bowling, this team is showing that they have the knack to pick each other up.
Even with their strong early showing, India has a tough road ahead. However, it's become clear quickly that this group entered this event with expectations that were far too low.