India look to cash in on recent 3-0 T20 international whitewash while Australia aim to rattle shaky host outfit
Mohali: It was the 3-0 whitewash against Australia in the T20I series Down Under earlier this year that served as the catalyst in Team India’s turnaround.
They then won seven matches in a row (two against Sri Lanka and five in the Asia Cup) and came into World T20 as the tournament favourites.
Skipper MS Dhoni on the eve of India’s must-win tie vs Australia at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Saturday. Pic/AFP
However, the script hasn’t gone as expected. MS Dhoni’s men were comprehensively beaten in Nagpur in the opener against New Zealand. Virat Kohli single-handedly steered India to victory against Pakistan at Kolkata. They huffed & puffed to snatch a win against Bangladesh, who came into the Super 10s via a qualifying round.
That leaves India with a must-win situation against Australia at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here today to qualify for the semi-final and take the second spot in Group Two.
Although Kohli takes a lot of pride in beating Australia in their backyard last January, the No 3 India batsman is well aware what kind of focus the team needs to maintain for the big match today.
“If you look at how we have played through this season, that’s been the catalyst for our performances in this Twenty20 season so far. So, obviously we can focus on the positive things we did there against Australia. But we can’t take anything for granted.
‘A virtual quarter-final’
“It’s a virtual quarter-final for us. And it’s very important to stay in the moment, focus on what we have to do, why we were able to beat them in Australia is very important to remember,” said Kohli in the pre-match conference.
At the same time, Kohli does not want the Indian team to focus too much on the last series with Australia. “Not so much that we have beaten them and we can go out and do it again. It’s why we did it is what we need to focus on. If we play to our potential, we have the ability to repeat that. But as I said, to play to your potential, you need to focus on why that happened and not the feeling we had that afterwards,” explained Kohli.
Meanwhile, Shane Watson said the Australian team has improved a lot since the drubbing at home against India. “We’ve got a very different team to those games we played. We went through quite a few players throughout those three games.
Now we are a bit more settled as a unit. That’s a great starting point for us compared to India, who have been just about the same team all the way through, so they certainly know their roles very well within the batting unit and the bowling unit. For us, to be able to click as a batting and bowling unit (against Pakistan on Friday) that’s a great thing and the most important thing going into a knockout game, so I’ve got no doubt India are going to be very wary of what we do,” said Watson.