World T20: India aim to defuse explosive WI

  • Nilankur Das, Hindustan Times, Mirpur
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2014 18:09 IST

Pakistan done, defending champions West Indies and Australia are India's next targets. Of course, hosts Bangladesh play India in a match sandwiched between the two big draws. But if India win on Sunday, the 'momentum' from consecutive victories could see them brush aside their lesser opponents.

However, it's easier said than done. For, here's what India are up against - Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith at the top of the order, followed by Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell. Add to that the experienced Marlon Samuels, if picked, and the batting lineup can give sleepless nights to any bowling attack in the T20 format.

Then, Sunil Narine's mystery bowling and Samuel Badree's leg-spin in these conditions can be a handful. Narine, who doesn't need much assistance from the wicket, will be licking his lips after how the India spinners relished the conditions at the Sher-e Bangla National Stadium on Friday.

Spinners key
Ahmed Shehzad was halfway down the wicket when Mahendra Singh Dhoni stumped him off Amit Mishra. Most of the Pakistan batsmen were out trying to hit the ball out of the park, the ball doing enough to beat the bat. Captains have accepted that spinners will play a crucial role in the tournament, and seeing the turn generated in the opening matches, the slow bowlers' role has gained significance.

At the nets, R Ashwin, who was tossed the new ball on Friday, bowled round the wicket to Dhoni, sneaking in leg-breaks once in a while. That would be his line of attack on Sunday, but it will be interesting to see what happens when Mishra is introduced in the attack, especially if the left-handed Gayle is at the crease.

The good thing is India play the second game of the double header here, after the Australia and Pakistan game. So the wicket might get slower and reading spinners off the wicket should not be a problem. However, scoring at a brisk pace on a surface where the ball won't come on unless dew plays a part will take some doing.

Coach Duncan Fletcher spotted something in Yuvraj Singh's batting. He was dismissed cheaply on Friday, playing all over an incoming delivery. As Joe Dawes gave him throw downs, the Zimbabwean watched closely standing behind the nets at the Bangladesh Cricket Academy ground. A correction was suggested immediately, Yuvraj's front shoulder was falling early and so the face of his bat was closing.

The music from an iPod at the India nets summed up the mood in the camp. There was relief more than anything else, now that they have beaten Pakistan. A win on Sunday will make them strong contenders for the title.

Now that would be some turnaround.

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