Attack, attack, attack... way to go for Dhoni's men
It's being described as the most important match in India's cricket history; and even if that's an exaggeration, with such high stakes, nerves will play a big part in deciding the result. Ian Chappell elaborates.india Updated: Mar 30, 2011 01:32 IST
It's being described as the most important match in India's cricket history; and even if that's an exaggeration, with such high stakes, nerves will play a big part in deciding the result.
Consequently, India have to force Pakistan to lose the discipline that has been a rather surprising part of their last two victories. Strength in bowling has been a big reason for Pakistan's steady path to the semifinals but India have the batting power to disrupt that flow. If Pakistan open with a spinner, then Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have to do everything in their power to quickly hit him off his line and length.
No spin worry
This fits perfectly with India's line-up. Nobody has to ask Tendulkar and Sehwag to be aggressive, it's in their nature. And whereas other teams aren't confident against spin early in the innings, most Indian batsmen play slow bowling well.
By attacking Pakistan right from the outset, India could bring on the fumbling fielding and frenetic captaincy that's always only one blunder away from surfacing.
If India can't disrupt Pakistan's bowling and fielding then they're in some trouble, but all is not lost for the hosts.Erratic Pak batting
Pakistan batting is erratic and prone to rash shots and they rely heavily on Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq to provide solidarity in the middle-order. However, neither is a particularly quick scorer, so even if they play well the Pakistan total can be contained. Pakistan depend on the Akmal brothers for quick runs early but they're as error prone as a cheap watch.
In the late overs there's always the twin threat of Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi but these days the captain's batting is so nonsensical it limits him to the category of a bowler who hits the odd six. Now that India have their attack better organised, their weaker skill is still stronger than the comparative facet of Pakistan's game. India's lesser bowlers are quite disciplined and with MS Dhoni's calm assistance, they are more likely to prevail against some of the wild flailing of the Akmal brothers and Afridi.
The real unknown factor will be the Mohali pitch. At times it has reasonable pace and acceptable bounce and in that form it would slightly favour Pakistan.
It's still crucial that India attack the Pakistan bowling right from the outset. In a match where the tension is going to be palpable before a ball is even bowled, India can add to Pakistan's fragility by looking to dominate their strong suite - the visitors' bowling.