There’s a semifinal spot up for grabs at the Oval today when India lock horns with the West Indies, and on the evidence so far, MS Dhoni’s men look better equipped to secure it.
Both sides got the maximum two points from their opening fixtures, but India were certainly more impressive in their win over South Africa than the Windies were in their contest against Pakistan.
That match exposed the chinks in the West Indies’ batting as they made a meal out of chasing a pretty modest target. India, on the other hand, will be brimming with confidence after producing a convincing display against the Proteas.
For the third successive outing, if you take into account the two warm up games, the Indian batsmen flexed their muscle as they notched up a total of over 300.
We will have to see what conditions await the two teams in this one. The Windies hold a slight edge in this regard having already played the
Pakistanis at this venue, and the Indians can expect there to be a bit more bounce at the Oval than the wicket at Cardiff.
The match could well be dictated by how the Windies bowlers combat the threat of the Indian batsmen, but in all honesty, I don’t see the latter having too many problems.
The West Indies don’t exactly possess an all-out top class bowling unit. True, Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul are both decent pace bowlers, but the likes of Kohli, Karthik, Dhawan and Sharma have each shown they are more than able players of fast bowling.
Being naturally good players of spin means you can also expect them to deal with Sunil Narine without too much trouble. Plus, I rate the Indians as a better side than Pakistan which is why I don’t see their batters stumbling in the same way as the Pakistanis did.
This game should be a true indication of each team’s chances in this competition, and, as I’ve said, India look the stronger team. Perhaps,
their bowling is a slight weakness, and as impressive as Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were against South Africa, they will be hoping to avoid catching Chris Gayle or Kieron Pollard on the wrong day.
Still, while Indian cricket owes a lot to the Tendulkars, Dravids, Gangulys and Laxmans, it sure is refreshing to see a lot of these fresh faces coming in and showcasing the depth that exists in the Indian game.
Professional Management Group