Undefeated India take on Dutch challenge

Updated: Mar 09, 2011, 09:25 AM IST

Mumbai: An unbeaten Indian team will look to find a few answers to their bowling woes when they meet a hot and cold Netherlands in their World Cup Group B match at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Wednesday.

Co-hosts India are leading the group with wins against Bangladesh and Ireland and a nerve-wrangling tied match against England.

While the batting has shown depth and maturity with the team crossing the 300-run mark twice, the bowling has lacked punch.

India has vowed to play seven batsmen in their team with the part-time spinners handling the fifth bowler`s job and it has meant that there has been a lack of wicket-taking options.

But the hard-fought victory against Ireland on Sunday has only made captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni more determined in playing seven specialist batsmen.

"The most important thing was everyone got a chance to bat and we were batting under pressure. It was very good exposure for all the batsmen," captain Dhoni said after their five-wicket victory against Ireland.

"These are the games where you feel it`s always good to have a batsman at number seven."

Although Yuvraj Singh will occasionally silence the critics with his part-time spin, India will need their regular spinners to fire more often.

Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, while showing a lot of variation, has been expensive and there has been talk of bringing in off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for Chawla.

"We are showing signs of improvement," Dhoni said about his team`s bowling.

"I think it`s important to peak at the right time since it`s a long tournament. What we have seen is slow and gradual improvement in the bowling side."

Netherlands, for their part, started the tournament on a high, racking up 292 for six against England in their first match.

But their form has declined ever since as they got shot out for 115 against West Indies and 120 against South Africa in their next two matches.

They are lying at the bottom of Group B with three straight losses.

Bureau Report