Bidgetown: India, battling for survival, need to play out of their skins when they meet hosts West Indies in the Super Eights of the World Twenty20 here Sunday.
After their shattering 49-run defeat against Australia Saturday, India need to bounce back with an emphatic victory against the home team to keep themselves in the hunt for a semi-final berth.
It is easier said then done with the home team also facing a do-or-die battle, having lost the first Super Eight match against Sri Lanka by 57 runs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team was made to look like a bunch of novices by Australia Friday. The defeat of margin was reduced because of Rohit Sharma’s exemplary 79 runs in India’s total of 135. Sharma’s knock was the only positive India can draw from the match. The rest of the batsmen failed to cope up with the pace and bounce extracted by the Australian attack on a lively Kensington Oval wicket.
Dhoni’s team is aware they need a drastic change in their attitude while playing against quality bowlers.
“The adrenalin sometimes gets the better of you,” Dhoni said. “You try to fight fire with fire and it doesn’t always work and this was an example of that.”
Dhoni admitted his batsmen need to be more cautious in their approach while tackling the quicks.
“If somebody bowls 150 kph (93 mph) short stuff, then you have to be really good at pulling which isn’t our natural strength. Most players from India are very good at cutting the ball, but only a few are good pullers against the new ball.”
Patience is what Dhoni is asking his talented bunch of batsmen to show.
“The aggressive approach has worked for us in the past but you just have to be a bit careful.”
And the need of the hour is to cut down on extravagant play as the home team has enough firepower in their bowling attack to wreak havoc.
The West Indies would be looking to follow the Australian ploy of exploiting the weakness of the Indian batsmen and fast bowlers Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor and Dwayne Bravo in their team will be ready with the shorter stuff and toe-crushers for the Sunday’s clash.
“We can use the short ball but at the same we have to be careful because it (the Kensington Oval) is a small ground and they have quality batsmen who can make adjustments. But it’s certainly something we will put into our plans,” said Gayle.
India also need to field the right combination as their relibialty on spinners against Australia on a fast track here proved wrong. Ravindra Jadeja went in for 38 runs in two overs, conceding six sixes. On a wicket that suits pacers, R. Vinay Kumar could make his maiden appearance for the national team.
The West Indies, on the other hand, need to field better as they missed six chances against Sri Lanka who piled 195 runs Friday.
“It’s a disappointing start but we had our chances and we let it slip away. We can’t take away the fact they batted really well but those missed chances hurt us.”
“It’s a must-win for both teams and it should be a good game. We are still confident we can win the two games and move onto the semi-final,” said Gayle.