The ICC Champions Trophy is such a compressed event that teams know there is very little margin for error. Since there are only three group matches,
a loss in one means it is a must to win both the others to give yourself the chance to qualify for the semifinals.
On the other hand, those who have won their first game know that they only have to win one more, and they are virtually through to the knockouts.
The India-West Indies game thus assumes importance since the team that wins can pat itself on the back and prepare for their opponents in the semis which will be from the other group.
India played Sri Lanka and Australia from the other group and beat both of them rather convincingly, so if they have to meet one of them, they will be pretty confident. They have not played England and New Zealand who have won their first games in their group, and so both are in a good position to qualify.
India have a good recent record against the West Indies, but they would do well not to underestimate the boys from the Caribbean Isles. The calypso
boys are looking good and showed great character in getting through a low scoring encounter against a spirited Pakistani team. This is a bit different from their approach a few years back when they would have succumbed to pressure and then looked to blame everybody else excepting themselves.
The win in the ICC World T20 has made the Windies believe in themselves more. They have tasted the fruits of a win and how it changes the people’s perceptions about them, and so they are now giving it a greater shot than in the last few competitions where they just made fleeting appearances.
They have a good bowling attack for the conditions in England, and Kemar Roach’s extra pace will not be easy to negotiate if the Oval pitch stays like it has for the two games, including the warm up game, that have been played there so far. It has given the pacers some bounce and also has afforded seam movement as well as turn for the spinners.
The even bounce it has, means that good batsmen will enjoy the ball coming through and after settling down, can play on the up confident that the bounce won’t let them down. What they need to watch out for is the English conditions, where the ball can swing late and also move off the pitch, and that is why it is essential that they get close to the ball at the start of their innings.
India have won all their games in England so far and are looking good. The Windies lost to Australia in the warm up and made heavy weather of getting past a small target against Pakistan, so the Indians start as the favourites. But watch out for the Caribbean flair; that can upset the best laid plans.
Professional Management Group