It's do or die for Team India

Win over England must to keep Dhonis men afloat

England at Lord’s on Sunday offer India a chance to rediscover winning ways before they run into the marauding South Africans in their final fixture on Tuesday. Defeat against the hosts will effectively end India’s campaign while victory will keep them afloat, but no more.
It’s a situation India have been confronted with in the past, and conquered too.

Indeed, India’s path to the inaugural T20 World Cup title in South Africa two years ago included a defeat in their opening Super Eight fixture (to New Zealand), and victories in their two subsequent ties -- against England, then South Africa. How’s that for an omen!
Dhoni, however, doesn’t have time for such mundane things as omens. The Indian captain has repeatedly stressed the importance of backing one’s abilities and playing to potential, both facets conspicuously absent against the Caribbeans.

Having made his reputation as a crisis-man who leads from the front, the stage is set for Dhoni Mark 1, fearless and flamboyant, the destroyer of bowling attacks as opposed to the gentle accumulator of recent times, to make a reappearance.

If a team takes its cue from the skipper, that perhaps explains India’s diffidence with the bat on Friday; after all, Dhoni consumed 23 deliveries and contributed 11. Not even in the 50-over game will that pass muster!

Dhoni must also rejig his bowling options. Clearly, for all his fire, Ishant Sharma is hardly the finished product in T20 cricket. His length too predictable and his variations minimal, the Delhi pacer has been a perceptible weak link. A return to the playing eleven of Praveen Kumar or Rudra Pratap Singh, swing kings in their own right, can’t be ruled out.

England find themselves in the same predicament after going down to South Africa in their opener. The T20 inventors against the World Cup champions, with all to play for.

Can’t get better than that!

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