India face NZ in a do-or-die match tomorrow | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India face NZ in a do-or-die match tomorrow

Bruised and battered in their previous outing, India go into the do-or-die encounter against a gritty New Zealand with concerns about the continuing poor form of their batsmen in the cricket tri-series on Wednesday.

cricket Updated: Aug 24, 2010 13:15 IST

Bruised and battered in their previous outing, India go into the do-or-die encounter against a gritty New Zealand with concerns about the continuing poor form of their batsmen in the cricket tri-series in Dambulla on Wednesday.

Languishing at the bottom of the points table, India will hope that rain does not play spoilsport as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men need an outright over the Kiwis to progress to Saturday's final against Sri Lanka.

But going into the match, Dhoni would be a worried man as his famed top-order line-up has struggled throughout the series, the proof of which was the 103-run surrender to Sri Lanka in the last match.

Barring Virender Sehwag, all other Indian top-order batsmen have found the going tough on the tricky Rangagiri Dambulla wicket.

Sehwag will have to shoulder the responsibility of guiding the Indian innings against the pace-heavy Kiwi attack.

India's main worry, however, will be the form of youngsters who have failed to rise to the occasion in the absence of seniors such as Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh.

Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have failed miserably in the earlier matches. To add to it, Dhoni himself has very little to show in the tournament.

But Yuvraj Singh's return to runs in the last match might give Dhoni something to cheer about.

Yuvraj, who came back to the playing eleven against Sri Lanka in the last match after recovering from dengue, managed the only knock of substance for India with a fighting 38 off 64 balls.

"Next game is like a semi-final now. We have to do well in that match or we have to pack up and go back home," Dhoni had said after the humiliating eight-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka, which was also India's biggest loss in terms of balls remaining.

"Yuvraj batted well (in the last match). That was the positive thing. He is a crucial man at the middle order. He is the kind of guy who can graft for runs and also hit big shots," the Indian skipper said of the left-hander.

On the bowling front, the Indian attack has done a fine job so far, except for the last match where they had very little to defend.