Ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2014, India were not the favourites to win the tournament. But the way MS Dhoni and his boys have performed in their first three matches against Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh respectively, it has now given a huge hope to the fans.
India have outshined their opponents in all departments of the game. While Pakistan looked in a panic mode against the Men in Blue, the defending champions West Indies failed to tackle quality Indian spin attack. Bangladesh, being the hosts, were under enormous pressure to do well, but they have had a forgettable tournament so far.
The trio of Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have received massive purchase from the Mirpur wicket, a major reason why India have convincingly won all their three matches. The pitches in Bangladesh have assisted the spinners – something which has helped India a lot. Skipper Dhoni has plenty of options in the spin department, where apart from Ashwin and Mishra, Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh are also capable of getting breakthroughs every now and then. At times, Dhoni can even throw the ball at Suresh Raina or Rohit Sharma, to get through the overs quickly. With so many spin bowling options, India`s concern for a genuine all-rounder has been solved to an extent.
While Ashwin and Jadeja have been the frontline spinners for India for quite some time, India’s star bowler for this series has been Amit Mishra. The leg-spinner, who has always lived under the shadow of his seniors, has impressed everybody with his variation and ability to read the minds of the best of batsmen. Mishra won back-to-back Man of match awards in the two games, and has flummoxed several batsmen who were deceived by the flight, while attempting to hit a big stroke.
In the batting department, key batsmen like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina have been among the runs. Shikhar Dhawan is yet to play a big knock, and as MS Dhoni said during the post match conference after the second win, Indian middle-order is yet to be tested.
One of the major concerns for the Indian think tank at the moment would be the form of Yuvraj Singh. The southpaw has looked extremely low on confidence, and apart from having a poor show with the willow in the series so far, the left-hander has looked out of rhythm in the outfield as well. Yuvraj dropped a sitter at deep midwicket which came off Chris Gayle’s bat, and even though the explosive left-hander couldn’t capitalize on that chance, it was an unpleasant sight for the Indian fans, who have seen Yuvraj take some superb catches over the years.
In the match against West Indies, Dhoni probably wanted Yuvraj to focus on his batting which is why he didn’t throw the ball at him. But even that move didn’t work, as Yuvraj played a scratchy innings where he scored 10 from 19 balls.
Dhoni promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj against Bangladesh, possibly because he wanted the left-hander to start fresh against the Aussies, in their fourth match of the series. In all the ICC tournaments won by India under Dhoni’s captaincy, Yuvraj played a major role. Thus his coming back to form is extremely crucial from India’s perspective.
India will now play their next match against Australia. Even though the George Bailey-led side has had a miserable tournament, complacency would be the last thing in the minds of the Indian players. But the way the Indian spinners are performing, MS Dhoni is expected to add another ICC trophy to his glittering resume.