India need a miracle to survive
India go into their crucial Champions Trophy match against an under-strength West Indies in Johannesburg on Wednesday requiring little short of a miracle to avoid elimination. Listen to podcastcricket Updated: Sep 30, 2009 11:40 IST
India go into their crucial Champions Trophy match against an under-strength West Indies in Johannesburg on Wednesday requiring little short of a miracle to avoid elimination.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team are forced to rely as much on other sides' performances as their own after having earned just one point in two matches in the four-team Group A.
India's slim hopes rest first on a Pakistan victory over formidable Australia in a day match at Centurion on Wednesday and then beating the West Indies in a day-night game in Johannesburg just hours later.
Australia have lost just one of their last nine one-dayers.
Pakistan have already made it to the semi-finals after securing four points from two wins, while defending champions Australia are strongly placed to join them in the last-four with three points from two games.
The West Indies are already out of the competition with no points after two matches. The top two sides advance to the semi-finals.
Even if Australia lose to Pakistan and India beat the West Indies, the second semi-finalist will be decided on net run-rate. Australia (+1.000) are currently well ahead of India (-1.080) on net run-rate.
Dhoni said India would be keeping an eye on the Pakistan-Australia match before deciding the team combination.
"They are playing a day game and we are playing a day-nighter. By the time we start our game, we will be knowing where we stand and what we actually need to do. Accordingly, we will decide the playing eleven," said Dhoni.
"This is one of those games where you have to achieve everything. First of all, you want Pakistan to win and Australia to lose. Then you want to win against the West Indies and you have to better your run-rate."
India can blame a below-par bowling performance, especially against Pakistan in the opening match, for their present plight. Their batsmen were always under pressure after the bowlers had conceded 302 runs.
After losing to Pakistan by 54 runs, India shared points with Australia in the second match which was abandoned due to rain at Centurion on Monday, but their bowlers again performed much below expectations.
Australia were on course for a big total before the play was called off, having posted 234-4 in 42.3 overs following impressive half-centuries from Michael Hussey (67), skipper Ricky Ponting (65) and Tim Paine (56).
"Overall, I think we have not bowled that well. That's one thing we need to admit. We have bowled twice and what we have seen is that we are not bowling that well," said Dhoni.
"But in the last game, I was happy with the performance. Of course, one or two bowlers will have an off-day, but overall it was much better compared to the first game."
India (from): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Rudra Pratap Singh, Amit Mishra, Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar.
West Indies (from): Floyd Reifer (capt), Darren Sammy, David Bernard, Tino Best, Royston Crandon, Travis Dowlin, Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Kevin McLean, Kieran Powell, Dale Richards, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge, Chadwick Walton.
Umpires: Simon Taufel (AUS) and Aleem Dar (PAK)
TV umpire: Daryl Harper (AUS)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)