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India combining well as a bowling unit: Sunil Gavaskar

Melbourne: Impressed with the excellent bowling show by the Indian team so far, former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Thursday said that the bowlers have combined well as a unit to pick all the opposition wickets in the seven wins on the trot in the ongoing cricket World Cup.

India, who thrashed Bangladesh in the quarter-finals here today, are well on course to defend their title as the bowling attack led by Mohammed Shami -- highest wicket-taker (17 scalps in six games) in the tournament so far -- has managed to bundle out the opposition in all the games, and Gavaskar is impressed with the show by the bowlers.

"They are combining well as a bowling unit. The seam bowlers are keeping the pressure on, somebody is getting you early wickets and then there is no leakage of runs. Sometimes the first-change bowlers comes and he leaks a lot of runs, that hasn't happened. The spinners have kept it tight as well. So all told, the bowling unit has been very impressive," Gavaskar told NDTV after India's 109-run win against Bangladesh.

"They have dismissed have every single team they have played against and I think what more can a captain ask for. He gets into a position where he really doesn't have to worry too much about one bowler getting hammered because that can happen in a one-day situation," he added.

Gavaskar also praised Dhoni's handling of his regular and non-regular bowling options.

"What Dhoni is doing is that he is using Suresh Raina very cleverly. He is bringing him in on if (Ravindra) Jadeja or (Ravinchandran) Ashwin go for a few runs in their first couple of overs till they settle down and then Raina comes in and bowls 3-4 quick overs and sometimes more than that, picks up a wicket, keeps it tight and then Dhoni can go back to the spinners and get them to bowl well," he said.

The former captain is also impressed with India's strategy of keeping wickets for the final overs, saying the ploy has certainly worked for the defending champions so far.

"I think India is looking to keep wickets in hand till the 30th over, then look to get maybe the last 18-20 overs where they get the momentum and try and make up for a slightly slow start. So they can score at 8 or 10 runs, today they scored 146 runs in the last 15 overs, which is pretty much scoring 10 runs an over," said the cricketer-turned-analyst.

"This is what India will be looking to do and you can do this if you have wickets in hand and despite the fact that a big hitter like Mahendra Singh Dhoni wasn't able to contribute much to that 146.

"And what Rohit and Jadeja showed is that you don't have to necessarily hit the big sixes to get those runs. Hit the boundaries and get about 10 runs an over. And that is what India have done so far in the tournament," he added.

Australian great Ian Chappell also opined that India's bowling strategy has proved successful thus far but warned Dhoni's side to have a Plan B against stronger teams.

"You have got to be judicious when you use the short-ball and you use it against. It's fine to pepper Bangladesh batsmen with a lot of short-ball but since Australians play here on these pitches a lot of time. I think so far India have used the short-pitched delivery very well. But you need to have a few different options when you get to play against stronger teams and I am sure India have got some other plans," Chappell said.

Praising India for having a lot of match-winners in the side, Chappell said that they are at par with Australia in terms of team strength.

"India have got a lot of match winners and I think Australia are in the same boat. I don't think South Africa have got as many match winners as these two teams," he said.

"India must be over the moon with the draw as they have got SCG as the semifinals venue and I think that venue suits India perfectly," he added.

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