Unpredictable Windies a big test for India

Champions look to make winning start in their Super Eights match

One team is the defending champion and riding high on confidence and the other is more unpredictable than the weather here. But India and the West Indies have a common point — a clutch of explosive cricketers who can enthral the spectators, and precisely that factor will add lustre to the Group E Super Eight match at Lord’s on Friday.

A glance at the batting line-up of the teams will show a clutch of players who are perfectly suited for the Twenty20 format. West Indies have the ammunition to reply to the firepower of Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina in Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons and Andre Fletcher.

In the bowling department too the Caribbeans can stand up to the Indians – under the stewardship of Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan – with Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards spearheading the attack. You don’t need to search further for the recipe of excitement.

Definite edge

Having said that, India have a definite edge over the West Indies as the men in blue are more a consistent side and have more options at their disposal. Whereas the West Indians mainly rely on their skipper Gayle’s awesome hitting powers, the Indians have multiple matchwinners in their ranks, probably more than any team in this competition.
The champs bat deep down the order and their rivals cannot boast of such a luxury with their fortunes revolving around a top-heavy batting line-up. The absence of a good all-rounder too might come to haunt them, and the four-wicket haul of Simmons against Sri Lanka can only be seen as the day’s success than a long-term solution.

In this department also India is served well with Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar giving Mahendra Singh Dhoni more options and add to that the abilities of Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan with the ball, the Indian line-up has a complete look about it.

The Indians are also a step ahead in the spin section with Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha leading the duty. Ojha has been in exemplary form in this tournament so far taking six wickets from two matches and the Hyderabad youngster has flummoxed all comers with his subtle changes in the angle and fearlessness to engage batsmen in a duel. His spin-mate has not taken a bundle of wickets but he has been parsimonious with the ball in the group stage matches.

In contrast, the West Indians have only one quality spinner in Sulemain Benn and the strapping tweaker has yet to make an impact in this format of the game. The other worrying factor for the West Indies is the fitness of Gayle, who had suffered a knee injury in the game against Australia and had to sit out of the match against Sri Lanka.
The West Indian team officials expressed confidence that the Jamaican, still under the physio’s care, can play in the match against India and then against South Africa.
Don’t blink your eyes then, for this match could prove to be one of the rockers of the tournament!

DH News Service

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