India have been as impressive as Sri Lanka in the first round of the World T20. Both won with relative ease though the Lankans may have been a touch worried by the spirited reply of the West Indies.
The other impressive performance has been from South Africa who defended a smallish total against New Zealand with some superb pace bowling and even better fielding. The tournament has no favourites since the game can turn in a matter of deliveries.
What is noticeable is that the team that fields well is more likely to win than the one that takes it easy. The West Indies are big culprits in the loose fielding category and their catching has been abysmal.
India have stepped up their fielding efforts and that is heartening. They have in the younger lot some truly outstanding fielders who bring the crowd to its feet with their quicksilver tries.
MS Dhoni has also used the spinners well and in Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha have a top-class spin combination. Zaheer Khan’s return to wicket-taking will also ease the burden on the skipper who would have been a touch worried after the first game against Bangladesh but then Zaheer has always liked a bit of bowling under his belt before striking rhythm.
Ishant Sharma was also hostile on a pitch where there was something for the seam bowlers. India will need both the new-ball bowlers to bowl well to West Indies skipper Chris Gayle because, as we saw against the Australians, he can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of overs. The game against the West Indies is crucial, as there is the possibility that the last game of the Super8s against South Africa will in all probability decide the number one team in the group.
The Lankans have been terrific and the alertness that their fielders have shown is an indication of a highly motivated and committed team. Every game in this stage will be important and all teams will be striving every sinew to get in the final four.