India's chance to fine-tune their game

Important to win before Super 8 campaign, says skipper Dhoni

The defending champions have already qualified for the Super Eight as the numero uno side from Group A, but they will have to be on guard against a side capable of exploiting the weakness of the giants.

A win against the Irishmen has one more advantage as a favourable result could come handy for India if a situation arises in the Super Eight when the overall wins in the tournament at that point have to be taken into account.

However, a win against Ireland might not come with ease as the green brigade is high on confidence after its entry into the Super Eight following a win over Bangladesh. Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was well aware of that fact and it came as no surprise when he ruled out any major shake-up in the squad.

“I don’t think we will experiment too much against Ireland. We will try to play with the strongest side available provided there are no injuries. I think that if any team takes the other team lightly, especially in this format, it will be the biggest mistake.

“This is a very different format. In every team, you have two or three big hitters who can turn the game on their own, or two or three bowlers. I think there is not much difference between the teams in this format. All the teams are quite close and it all depends on how they perform on the day,” Dhoni said

Dhoni and his wards will also be eager to start their Super Eight campaign with a clean sheet against their name, and that they have to face England, South Africa and West Indies in the next three matches increases the importance of sustaining the momentum.
Still the team management might be tempted to give a hit to Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar and Rudra Pratap Singh. The in-form RP Singh, the highest wicket-taker in the IPL, had to make way for left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the game against Bangladesh as the team management thought an extra spinner would be useful considering the longer mid-wicket boundaries.

Dhoni said the match would offer the players a chance to work on certain areas of their games. “If there are any areas that you need to work on, especially as a bowler, this can be the match where you can be a bit relaxed and work on it. It is very important to be serious on the field and give your 100 percent at the same time,” he said.
Explaining the rationale behind optional practice sessions in the tournament, Dhoni said, “It is not like you will see all the 16 guys in practice. If the players think they need a bit of rest, they opt for it. That is the good part because you know your body more than anyone else. That is helping and hopefully we won’t have more injuries in this tournament. It is a short tournament but at the same time it is very demanding. It is just 20 overs but the intensity level is quite high,” he added

Ireland will have a few anxious moments as their main batsman Niall O’Brien is yet to recover from an ankle strain, a grade 1 injury according to skipper William Porterfield. If the older of the O’Brien brothers does not make it, that can seriously undermine their ability to challenge India.

Their bowlers too will have to once again show immense character to check the awesome firepower of the Indian batsmen. The men in blue’s batting line-up could be an altogether different proposition from Bangladesh, and Porterfield was stating the obvious that it will be a hard work for his bowlers.
Porterfield said they would try to register another victory under their belt. “It’s going to be tough against Indians. They have some fantastic players, especially their batsmen keep coming at you all the time. So we need to stick to the basics.”

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