India’s win over Pakistan was surprisingly their first in a super eight stage after their incredible victory in the first ever T20 World Cup in 2007. The win coming against arch rivals Pakistan, should serve as a big boost to a team looking for some inspiration and drive to go ahead in a format where their players are perhaps the most experienced in the world.
They started by getting their team combination right. Pakistanis are good players of spin so Harbhajan Singh was left out and Balaji brought in. The team selectors also showed that they were not going to be stubborn as they have been in the past, and reversed their decision to drop Virender Sehwag and include him for this crucial game.
It was not just a must win game to stay alive in the competition, but also to believe in themselves as better international players than simply as domestic competition superstars. Sometimes success in domestic competitions can lull a player into staying in that cocoon and not to venture outside that bubble.
It is only the really great players, who want to do well in every match and hate failure. Virat Kohli is on his way to greatness and Yuvraj having already been there once wants to get there again. If more players from the team are hungry to get to that level then India will get better and not just in this format, but in the other demanding versions of the game too.
They have one more hurdle left to qualify for the semis and that is to beat South Africa and they know that it is not going to be easy. The trick is not to let the intensity ebb away after 'the big game' against Pakistan. In fact World Cup clashes between the two have been so one-sided that it really should not be called a big game at least for the Indians.
The earlier big game against Australia was lost and South Africa are another team that has given India a hard time in all forms of the game. They have a fearsome new ball attack and their batting can be destructive. Yes, they will be more circumspect against spin than the teams from the subcontinent, but again it is the athleticism that will be the key. In that department the South Africans have a slight edge.
India though will be on a high after the win and go into the game with loads of confidence. They were not even stretched by Pakistan as they did to them what Australia had done to India. They will also have the advantage of knowing what they need to do if Pakistan come back from the loss and surprise Australia. However like they did against Pakistan they need to just focus on winning the game.
All else will take care of itself.
Professional Management Group