Will India enter the World T20 semi-final tonight?

india t 20i


By Kersi Meher-Homji

I have two predictions for this must win ”˜quarter final’ World T20 match between India and Australia at Mohali tonight.

First prediction is that India will win narrowly and I’ll give reasons for this soon. My second prediction is that a majority of Indians in Australia will stay awake till 4 am on Easter Monday.

The victor of this vital match will qualify for the semi-final in Group 2 as Pakistan and Bangladesh are out and New Zealand is already in.

Below are the reasons for my prediction that it will be close but India will win. Firstly because it is played in India and they have spinners to exploit the conditions. And take my word, the surface will be a spinners’ heaven.

I will never understand why Australian selectors dropped their ace off-spinner Nathan Lyon. Their leg-spinner / googly bowler Adam Zampa bowled well against Pakistan on Friday. But he lacks the experience of Lyon and the Indian turners.

Besides he will create less problems for Indian batsmen, especially openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan and the in-form batsman Virat Kohli who keeps his best against arch-rival Australia.

Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin will open the attack and restrict the flow of runs from Australian top order. Another Ravi, left-arm spinner, Jadeja, could be a danger man as he is a mighty slogger and an acrobatic fielder.

Here are the reasons for my prediction:

  • India is ranked no. 1 in T20 Internationals, Australia is ranked no. 4.
  • India has won World T20 title once and were runners up to Sri Lanka last time (2014), Australia has still to win one.
  • Australia’s record against India in India is shockingly poor.
  • Even in Australia this January India had whitewashed Australia 3-0 in T20 Internationals.
  • India is confident after winning the T20 Asia Cup earlier this month in Bangladesh.

Coming back to the current World T20:

Although both Australia and India have won two of their three matches and both have lost to New Zealand, Australia’s net run rate (+ 0.440) is much superior to India’s (- 0.546).

Australia must be feeling very confident after defeating Pakistan on Friday with aggressive unbeaten knocks by skipper Steven Smith and Shane Watson and a match-winning spell of 5 for 27 by left-arm medium-pacer James Faulkner, the best by an Australian in T20 Internationals.

Also India was lucky beating a panicky Bangladesh team who lost their nerve and three wickets in the last three balls.

To quote Virat Kohli on this heart-stopping match in  CricInfo, “It is very difficult to be very consistent as a team in this format. I think you need to come to terms with that. Sometimes you need character from a few people to get you over the line and that’s exactly what happened in the last game. Spinners bowled beautifully, then Hardik [Pandya] holding his nerve in the end was brilliant for us. All the things we needed to do in the end, we did, pulling the game back. That’s a big positive for us… Adaptability is very important.

“The World Cup is a very big tournament. Every team that plays, its skill levels are different from the other teams. In the Asia Cup, you need to focus only on three or four teams. In the World Cup, there are so many teams against whom you can play at any time, against whom you haven’t played the entire year. I think that is a challenge, how you adapt on the spot.”

Anything can happen in T20 cricket. But a capacity crowd in Mohali will see spectacular hitting by Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja, Yuvraj Singh, Kohli, skipper MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and by Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell ”“ if the sharply turning surface allows.

Good luck and good Monday morning, may the better team win.

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