Dismiss Gayle early, simple as that
The world knows what happens when Chris Gayle gets the shackles off. India must prevent that, one way or the other. Gayle likes the ball coming on to his bat. If he isn’t given that privilege, a shot of frustration could follow. R Ashwin is the best candidate to engineer that frustration. India must also remember that Gayle doesn’t like running between the wickets. If West Indies chase, Gayle will be under pressure to keep up with the run rate and it could lead to a run out.
Press West Indies in the last 5 overs
Irrespective of how Gayle bats, West Indies are not the best accumulators in the last five overs. Remember their loss to Afghanistan, where they averaged 6.6 in the last five overs? India must look to exploit that weakness. Get in Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin and maybe even Suresh Raina to bowl wider in the death overs. And put most of the fielders on the boundaries. Singles won’t hurt.
Exploit the Powerplay
India average 5.66 in the Powerplay overs, lowest of any team in the Super 10. That is also because their openers have played the entire quota of Powerplay just once in four matches. If there is any stage to reform, it must be here, at the semi-finals. Rohit Sharma must pace his innings at his home ground. For a change, the pitch too should suit his style of play but Sharma must not get carried away.
Get in Ajinkya Rahane
Whether in place of Shikhar Dhawan or Yuvraj Singh, India must field Ajinkya Rahane simply because it’s unfair to ask Virat Kohli to bail out the team all the time. Rahane has a cool head and is a very good fielder. But his asset is the ability to judge a situation very well and adapt to it quickly. Good at running between the wickets, Rahane is also proficient in playing all the T20 shots.
Promote MS Dhoni
Someone, perhaps team director Ravi Shastri, has to ask MS Dhoni to promote himself up the order, to at least No 5 if not No 4. Dhoni’s mind is like a computer but it doesn’t help India’s cause if he comes in too late when they bat, either while chasing or setting a target. Dhoni is the most accomplished assessor of any situation and perhaps it’s time he demotes good friend Raina to ensure that No 4 position is utilised well.