2014 World T20: Stage Set for Battle Between the Champions
After India’s win over Pakistan in the first Group 1 encounter, the stage is set for a block buster Sunday. After the opening match between Pakistan and Australia, a gruelling battle between two Champion sides is on the cards. The reigning ODI champions India will take on the defending T20 champions West Indies, the game in which a victory for the men in blue will put them a step closer to the semi-finals. West Indies go into this tournament as one of the title contenders and they have the squad to successfully defend their World T20 crown.
On the other hand, India would be pumped up after their victory against Pakistan in their opening encounter and will look to continue their good run against the West Indies as well. The spinners from both the sides will be crucial to the outcome of the match. Instead of terming this as the “Battle between Champions”, it will be apt to term the match as the “Battle between India’s Spin Trio and West Indies’ Spin twins”. Here is what we have in store ahead of the battle.
Head-to-Head in T20’s:
In the past, India and West Indies have faced each other thrice with the windies coming out victorious in two of them, both in the previous editions of World T20. India has managed to get the better of the Caribbean men only once and they are yet to defeat windies in a World T20 match.
Pitch Report: As the wicket in the Sher-E-Bangla stadium is assisting the spinners in the qualifying matches and the warm-up matches, the wicket is expected to remain the same throughout the tournament. Both the team has some quality spinners in their side and will look to extract the maximum help from the pitch.
Weather Report: The weather might be a concern for the game as the meteorological department has predicted a thunder storm in Dhaka tonight and there are possibilities for rain on the afternoon of the match day.
After a long gap of four months, the Indian cricket team managed to win an International match against the top eight teams. They will be very confident going into the match against West Indies after their thumping victory over their arch rivals Pakistan. Everything might have seemed to go India’s way in their previous match but against West Indies, the Indians will have to begin it from the scratch. Even the bowling which is said to be India’s weakness in the past delivered against Pakistan, an improvement that will surely please the skipper MS Dhoni. The batsmen played sensibly and most importantly, the openers spent a brief time at the crease. Once again, India depends on their spinners for a good show against the defending champions as well.
The form of Yuvraj Singh and the fielding must be a headache for the team management. Yuvraj had a rather poor outing against Pakistan and he needs just a matter of balls to get himself in the groove. Although India restricted Pakistan for a below par 130, they committed a lot of mistakes in the field that might have worried the skipper. India will look to get things right in the place before taking the field against the West Indies. Indians have tackled Narine well in the past, but they are yet to face his fellow spinner Samuel Badree, who has the knack of troubling the opening batsmen with his skidding deliveries. While bowling, India will look to pick some early wickets and put the opposition on the backfoot straight away as they have some quality batsmen throughout their batting order. Once the start is good, windies will cash it in with some big hitting. Seeing the back of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith early will be the key to India’s success.
On the other hand, West Indies will look to defend their crown successfully and add another World T20 title in their trophy cabinet. They have a very strong batting line-up which is complemented well by the bowlers. Presence of seven All- Rounders in their side, gives them some extra dimension in the field. Apart from their wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, all the members of the side can bowl, which is considered to be a blessing in disguise for the captain Darren Sammy. After winning both the games in the warm-ups, West Indies will look to continue their good run in the tournament as well. Their batting line-up is destructive with the likes of Gayle, Smith, Samuels, Bravo, Sammy and Russell, all are batsmen who are capable of clearing the ground with ease. Chris Gayle remains key to West Indies’ fortunes in the tournament as the batsmen is capable of turning the match in favour of them in just a matter of balls. If the opposition fails to get the scalp of Gayle early, then a carnage can be expected from the Jamaican as the innings goes on.
West Indies go into the World T20 with only one frontline Pacer in Ravi Paul and two world class spinners in Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine. Badree partners Rampaul with the new ball and the leggie has been successful with the role in the past as he owns an impressive T20 strike rate of just over 5 at the top level. He not only pick some early wickets, but also set the stage for Sunil Narine to trouble the opposition. The remaining overs will be bowled by Sammy, Bravo, Russell etc. With the Indians known as the best players of spin, the windies’ spin twins will have a tough time in the field against the Indians. The men in Caribbean are also live wire on the field, which might prove to be the difference between the two sides. Inspite of having a strong side, West Indies are set to miss the services of Kieron Pollard badly as the Trinidadian is ruled out of the tournament because of a knee injury.
India has lost both their matches against West Indies in the World T20. Both the matches took place in England and West Indies. With the wickets in Bangladesh set to aid spinners, India may well have a chance to pull one back against the defending T20 Champions.
West Indies’ star batsman Chris Gayle has had a torrid time against R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Amit Mishra in the past. So I’ll put my money on a possible failure of Chris Gayle.
Sunil Narine might have been a mystery bowler for the batsmen all over the world. But for Indian batsmen, he is just another spinner who gets whacked time and time again. So it’ll be a safer option to be against Narine when he plays against India.
And at the same time, if people think that the windies are dependant only on Gayle and Narine, they are surely underestimating them as they have depth in the squad to win against any opposition.
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