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World Cup 2015: Spin is India's key weapon to land the knockout punches

WorldCup2015 Updated: Mar 16, 2015 08:35 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
India at World Cup


Why do you think India will win this World Cup?

Let’s take a look at the quarterfinal line-up. New Zealand play West Indies, Sri Lanka are up against South Africa, Australia face Pakistan and India are playing Bangladesh. If India get into the semifinals beating Bangladesh, the odds are 1.16 to 5.00 in favour of the defending champions, there is a possibility that after Adelaide, Sydney which hosts the second semifinal, has the possibility of showcasing another IndiaPakistan match.

The odds for that are not as high with hosts Australia tipped favourites but if Pakistan manage to topple Australia, and the whole of India might just pray for that, the Men in Blue could just have better odds to go through to the final. Of course the confidence stems from the fact that counting Adelaide India have beaten Pakistan all the six times they have met in the World Cup.

Pakistan have settled down after their opening loss to India, the bad press that followed and the controversy over chairman of selectors Moin Khan being sent back home for visiting a casino. Their four wins in the group have come against Ireland, UAE, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the last one significant because going into the competition they were tipped as contenders and the odds still favour them to go all the way.

That is not all, if Sri Lanka beat South Africa and New Zealand in the other half of the draw, it could once again be an India-Sri Lanka World Cup final. Wishful thinking. But there is a possibility, however small, that all this might happen. There is also an overwhelming chance of heartbreak, but then cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties.

The lineup for the final on everyone’s wishlist in this part of the world though is Australia versus New Zealand but no matter what the experts say, the co-hosts have shown signs of vulnerability. Australia’s fragility in batting was exposed against New Zealand who in turn have been run close by both Scotland and Bangladesh.

Considering the fact that India will play all their knockout matches in Australia, if they keep winning, other than Michael Clarke’s boys it is the team of Mahendra Singh Dhoni which has dominated in all the matches.

They have the ideal spin attack to exploit the big grounds at MCG and SCG, their pace attack have consistently given them early breakthroughs and apart from Ravindra Jadeja whose services with the bat would be needed only at No 7, all the top six have scored runs in some match or the other, the latest being the most dreaded pair while chasing --- Dhoni and Suresh Raina.

New Zealand is the other team with an all-win record. But India have bundled out every single team they have played, something unique to this event and that which speaks of a turnaround not many really thought to be possible at the start of the World Cup.

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