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India eyes semis berth

The last time India and West Indies faced off in England turned out to be one of the most memorable days in Indian cricket history. It was June 25, 1983 when India went on to win the World Cup.

Shikhar Dhawan
India’s Shikhar Dhawan holds on to a catch during a training session at the Oval in London yesterday

The match today against the same opponents might not be as significant but with the winner likely to progress through to the semi-finals, it is still a vital game in the context of this “mini” World Cup.

It has been chilly and cloudy here for the last two days and it is expected to stay overcast on match day as well. The same pitch which was used during the Pakistan-West Indies encounter four days ago will be utilised for today’s tie, so rest assured one will witness some good pace and bounce.

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson was quick to state that his bowlers will not get carried away with short -pitched bowling. “The last time we used the short ball tactic, we had Garner, Croft and now we don’t have those tall guys anymore.

You saw the tactic against Pakistan was to pitch it up and bowl in good lengths and the same strategy will apply going forward. “Ideally we would like to have a fresh pitch but the curator believes it could be slightly quicker this time around.”

Indian captain MS Dhoni felt the wicket has a bit of grass but did not rule out the impact of spinners as the game progresses. “It is easy to say — overcast conditions play four seamers — but every time we do that, the captain cops a lot of flak. And since it is a used wicket, the spinners will get some assistance”.

One distinct advantage that the Indian team enjoys is that despite the top-order failing in the warm-up matches, the likes of Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik have still managed to take the team past the 300-mark.

The WI, on the other hand, are more or so a T20 team, still mastering the 50 over format. If the match turns out to be a low scoring affair, their style of play could prove to be a downfall.

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