The first over David Warner faced at the Waca, on way to a 178 against Afghanistan on Wednesday, the left-hander was early into his shot on four occasions and twice the ball hit the bottom of the bat. Then, he decided to settle down and work the ball around.
It definitely was not good advertisement for the Waca wicket, which its curator Mathew Page says will again become the quickest in the world ahead of the Gabba.
Slow and low bounce are not the two qualities the Waca is known for and while the Australians did not complain posting the World Cup’s highest-ever total of 417 for six, beating India’s 413 for five against Bermuda in 2007, India, who will play the West Indies on the same strip on Friday, will definitely not mind.
Unlike the tri-series match India played against England, where the wicket behaved somewhat like a sub-continent wicket with variable bounce, this one promises to be consistent and hence a run feast looks likely on the cards.
India need to win this match to ensure they finish top of Group B and a win for the West Indies will take them closer to a quarterfinal berth. There is a joke already doing the rounds in the West Indies camp.
“Somehow get to the knockout stages and then Chris Gayle plays one good knock and we are in the semifinals and Marlon Samuels then plays a good one and we are in the finals.”
It is a dig at the format of the tournament where the top-eight Test-playing nations can treat the group league matches to try out different combinations and brace up for the three knockout matches that can win them the trophy.
But the joke also speaks volumes about the match-winners in the West Indian line-up who can singlehandedly turn a game on its head.
Good so far
India’s batting has come good so far and they have gone past 300 in both the matches they batted first. Virat Kohli has been in good touch and so are Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina. This makes Friday’s match a duel between two batting line-ups.
With Mohammed Shami back to full fitness and raring to go, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will have a problem of plenty after Bhuvneshwar Kumar proved in the last match against the UAE that he too is back. Mohit Sharma did take a hit on the right arm during the nets session, but according to team sources he is okay and available for selection.
Finishing top of the group will ensure India do not meet New Zealand before the final and can avoid Australia at least till the semifinals.
With Ireland breathing down their neck and just one match against the UAE after this, West Indies cannot afford to slip.
If they lose on Friday, they will have to beat UAE by a huge margin and then wait for Ireland’s net run-rate after they finish their campaign against India in New Zealand. So India hold the key to West Indies’ entry into the last-eight stage.