India’s top order batsmen have not performed well enough at the World Twenty20, with the exception of Virat Kohli, and must improve against a dangerous West Indies side in Thursday’s semi-final, team director Ravi Shastri said on Wednesday.
“You need it (a performance) in a big game like the semi-finals,” Shastri told reporters on Wednesday. “I still believe we have played to 70% of our ability in this tournament so there’s 30% where we can improve.
“So let’s hope it happens tomorrow because in a semi-final you have to get your ‘A’ game.”
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have failed to build a solid foundation for India and their opening stands of five, 14, 42 and 23 have put pressure on the middle and lower order to provide the bulk of the scoring.
Left-hander Suresh Raina’s scores of one, zero, 30 and 10 have not been that helpful either, and calls for the number four batsman’s omission from the team have gained momentum.
Kohli has scored most of the runs for the world’s top-ranked team, with two half-centuries in the tournament, and almost single-handedly guided India to victory in their steep run chase against 50-overs champions Australia on Sunday.
“You can’t depend on one or two players, you need six to seven players to step up. It has not happened really in this tournament, let’s hope tomorrow it’s a start.”
West Indies, the 2012 champions, boast powerful hitters who can clear the relatively shorter boundaries at the Wankhede Stadium, including opener Chris Gayle who smashed 11 sixes and five boundaries in an unbeaten 100 in their win against England.
The pitch again offered no help to the bowlers when England chased down a 230-run target against South Africa but Shastri said India will be ready for their Caribbean opponents.
“They are one of the most dangerous sides in this format,” the former India all-rounder said. “They have got explosive players. They have got match winners. So we know what we are up against. But we are up and ready as well.”