Nobody has believed that India would lose the tournament opener to New Zealand in the worst way. The 45 run defeat in a low-scoring match at Vidarbha Cricket left India shaken. Nobody has thought that captain MS Dhoni’s team lose the match even after playing good cricket in the last 11 matches. Now, the defeat in the tournament means India may end up not qualifying even in the semifinal. As India are in a group of death and they have to win the remaining four matches to confirm their semifinal berth.
But, the big hurdle is 45 runs defeat. Two teams will reach the semifinal from a group of four strong contenders. Any team can edge India with net run rate after winning the equal number of matches as India may win.
Currently, India stands in the fourth position of the ranking chart with Pakistan top the group and New Zealand and Australia stands second and third.
Pakistan in their opening match at Eden Gardens bludgeoned Bangladesh bowling attack as they scored 201 and have won the match by massive 55 runs. They are far ahead of any team in their group.
After this match, the most anticipated India-Pakistan match Eden Gardens will not be a one-sided game as Pakistan have become familiar with the conditions and expected that will play the with game more confidence.India will be under huge pressure and expectations will also be very high among the fans.
Pakistan got two outstanding pacers-Amir and Irfan- who will make India’s batsmen’s time difficult on March 19. Shahid Afridi’s destructive form is another headache to India.
The host India, who traditionally are known for good batsmen of spin bowling were outplayed by inexperienced New Zealand spinners. So, now if India’s have to play at slow turning wickets that will bemuse MS Dhoni as Pakistan, Australia, and South Africa have better spinners.
However, the Eden Gardens is Rohit Sharma’s favourite ground where he score hundred in every appearance in any format. But, Indian middle order whose weakness exposed by New Zealand spinners will bring a smile to other team’s face.
Hardik Pandya can bat at a flat track, Raina is unpredictable and has a weakness to the short ball, Yuvraj lost his charm, Jadeja has forgotten when he last time made a contribution to the team with the bat. So, Dhoni has only two batsmen, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Now the question is will these two batsmen be enough for Dhoni to win a match by a big margin?. India’s first task will be to win the match against Pakistan by a big margin to squeeze the gap of net run rate. But, given Pakistani batsmen’s performance at the Eden Gardens, it seems the high-octane match will be a close affair.
Australia also have batsmen like Shane Watson, David Warner and Steve Smith who are familiar with the Indian conditions and can hammer Indian spinners and pacers with ease. So India’s hope for big margin win ultimately may be not realized. Moreover, a defeat to any of the three matches will leave India out of the tournament.
But there is a hope
However, in 2007, India lost their first Super eight match to New Zealand and went on win all the following matches to become the champion of the inaugural World T20. This time too, India fell in the same situations. Will India be able to overcome the hurdles mighty teams will pose? Now the responsibilities lie on the MS Dhoni’s team to keep the fans’ confidence in them intact. The March 19 match at Eden Gardens will be a do or die match for India. Coincidentally, India in 2007 also faced Pakistan in their second match and won it.