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Pad up India, it’s time to get serious

cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2011 01:55 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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There are no more ifs and buts in Group B as far as qualification is concerned. South Africa's annihilation of Bangladesh has made sure India and England are in the quarter-finals. The West Indies should be there too even if they lose to India here on Sunday because of their far superior net run rate, leaving Bangladesh down in the dumps.

What makes the last match in this group interesting and important still is the impact the outcome will have on the quarterfinals pairings.

If India win, they will finish second behind South Africa and face champions Australia — the third-placed team from group A. If they lose, the second placed team in the other group — Sri Lanka — will take them on in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

These possibilities, however, didn't seem to be playing too much on the mind of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The India skipper gets the last chance to check all his resources ahead of the knockout stage and said on Saturday he wants all his 15 players to get at least one game before the shootout begins.

Raina, Ashwin likely

This means good news for Suresh Raina and R Ashwin, the two players yet to make an appearance in this World Cup so far. Going by what Dhoni said, it seems their wait is going to end, although it is not clear who they will replace.

If Ashwin comes in, he should take the place of either Ashish Nehra or Munaf Patel, since playing two spinners in this game looks certain. West Indies captain Darren Sammy expected the ball to turn more in the second half.

"That's what happened in our match against England (on Thursday) and the pitch to be used for tomorrow's match looks similar," said Sammy. This brightens Ashwin's chances of making his World Cup debut.

Sehwag doubtful

Even though Virender Sehwag did some knocking at the nets, he still looked uncomfortable in his movements and Dhoni said a call on him would be taken before the match. "He has some allergic reaction on his right knee. We will decide on him either this evening or tomorrow morning," he said.

Ton of tons

Until Sachin Tendulkar gets another century and becomes the first man in history to notch 100 three-figure knocks in international cricket, the landmark will be talked before every match featuring India.

It was no different on Saturday but Dhoni didn't dwell on it, saying Tendulkar never looks bothered about milestones.