The host India takes on the West Indies in the second semi-final today at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. The marquee contest has attracted the attention of the cricket fans from all over the world and this face-off promises to be bigger than the Final.
India came back strongly into the World T20 after the shattering defeat by the Black Caps. In their last three games, Dhoni’s men have been able to register comprehensive victories, save the Bangladesh encounter.
The question that is taking rounds in the cricketing circles is whether the underdogs West Indies be able to beat the power-machine India at their home?
After an introspection of India’s run in the ongoing World T20 I have come up with the three areas where Darren Sammy’s men can hit Dhoni’s men.
Tone down Kohli!
Nothing more is soothing for us Pakistanis than to see India lose. At times it takes priority our own winning. With the strong desire to see Austalia step-over India in the group match-cum-quarter final last Sunday the whole Pakistan tuned into the match. But this legend of a batsman had other aspirations for his team.
With the match still hung in balance after 17 overs Kohli unleashed his repertoire of orthodox strokes – screaming gloriousness – to whip 19 runs off James Faulkner that secured India a berth in the second semi-final.
The phrase as old as better for wines is perfect delineation of Virat Kohli’s 8-year long international career.
Indian batting has revolved around Kohli for quite a while. 36% of India’s 2016 WT20 runs have come from the right-hander’s bat.
His awesomeness with the bat has shielded the underperforming batsmen around him. In the Super 10 thus far the openers and two and three downs have accumulated 193 runs, whereas, Kohli alone has amassed 184 at whopping 92.
Hence, dismissing Kohli tops the Windies’ checklist and Darren Sammy has the resources to do the indispensable.
Kohli, earlier in his innings, gets baffled by the pacy good-length deliveries that target his 6th stump. Uncertain on how to neutralize the ball, on the frontfoot or at backfoot, the right-hander ends up edging the ball in the gully region, when he attempts to guide it to the third-man or play a horizontal bat flick.
Sammy can go to his strike bowler Andre Russel to get the job done.
Keep Suresh Raina on strike
Once posterboy of India’s destructive middle-order batting, Raina has lost his mojo somewhere after the ‘nephew’ incident.
The left-hander has failed to leave a mark on the international T20 stage despite some big knocks in IPL, in recent years.
The ongoing global T20 tournament is somewhat similar to the last edition for Raina in regard to his batting form. He then put just 63 in four matches at 15.75. In the last two week at home the sorry state of Raina’s batting has allowed him to accumulate mere 41 runs at 10.25. In the last seven matches, that include Asia Cup T20, Raina’s scoring rate has been 105.
With Yuvraj Singh out of the tournament, due to an ankle injury, Pawan Negi or Ajinkya Rahane will make it to the playing XI. India has remained unchanged throughout, hence, none of the two has faced a delivery in the tournament.
It would benefit West Indies to keep the wobbling left-hander on the strike, as, it will put pressure on the new man and also on the batters below Raina.
Chris Gayle to score 50 or more
The Wankhede Stadium’s wicket – on which today’s semi-final will be played – has been a belter. The top three highest team totals have come here and the lowest score of the venue in the Super 10s have been Afghanistan’s 172 at staggering 8.20 runs per over.
The pitch is expected to remain the same for today’s contest, therefore, another high-scoring encounter is on the cards.
To post massive, batting first, or to chase such total down, either of the openers need to click. For West Indies, Chris Gayle is the man.
West Indies have been on the winning side on 12 occasions out of 15 when Gayle has scored 50 or more.
In the build up to today’s semi-final, the World Boss expressed his desire to hit his second ton of the tournament, third overall in the T20I.
The West Indies lost when Gayle hit his maiden T20I century in the inaugural World T20 against the hosts South Africa. Hence the Windies’ win/loss ratio stands at 0.50 when the giant goes into the triple digits in the format.