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World Twenty20: Word war precedes big fight

Sunday, 23 March 2014 - 9:30am IST | Place: DHAKA | Agency: dna
Raina, Sammy have a go at opponents ahead of 'Super Sunday' clash between confident India and Caribbean kings
  • Suresh Raina during training on Saturday. The in-form batsman played some mind games ahead of the clash against West Indies, calling their batsmen mere ‘six hitters’ AP

The International Cricket Council likes to believe that the World Twenty20 is a blockbuster event. All that hype generated ahead of the first Super 10s contest between India and Pakistan came to nought after MS Dhoni & Co. made quick work of Pakistan in a low-scoring tie on Friday.

But Sunday could be different. There's reason to believe so. After all, the Men in Blue will take on the Kings of T20 and defending champions West Indies in their second group stage match at the Sher-e-Bangla.

The Indians may have been choosy with their words about the Pakistan match-up but, on Saturday, they minced none. In fact, they started a fiery little war to hot things up. Call it mind games or whatever you want, but the contest promises to be a keenly contested one.

In-form batsman Suresh Raina fired the first salvo, calling West Indians mere "six hitters". "The West Indies will be a totally different team as they have a lot of players who can hit sixes, but they don't have an idea about how to rotate the strike against spinners by taking singles and twos. Therefore, the more pressure we put on the bigger players, the better it will be for us," Raina said much to the astonishment of the gathering of mediapersons.

Skipper Darren Sammy counter-punched in typical West Indian style. "We don't care much about what Raina thinks. If he thinks we are only six hitters, then stop us from hitting sixes," was his reply. Sammy also let out a hearty smile.

The stage is set for a big-ticket game and, for all you know, this one could turn out to be bigger and better than the Pakistan contest. To put it simply, there are no underdogs or favourites here. India are looking good after registering back-to-back wins against England (warm-up match) and Pakistan.

The West Indies, on the other hand, are unarguably the best T20 unit. With big hitters like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Sammy in the ranks, they look impregnable. And then there's Sunil Narine, the mystery man.

India are on a high, but they need to sort out some issues quickly. The problem starts at the top. Shikhar Dhawan did get some runs against Pakistan, but the left-hander was found wanting against the short-pitched stuff. Also, Dhawan doesn't seem at home on turning wickets. His partner, Rohit Sharma, will have to make sure he doesn't squander away that start he often gets off to.

The biggest worry is, of course, the form of Yuvraj Singh. Once a reliable batsman, the southpaw seems to be low on confidence. He has not looked comfortable against spin and Narine would know that. A good knock here will certainly do a world of good to Yuvraj and India. And remember there's a certain Ajinkya Rahane on the bench.

Spinners will again hold the key and the onus will be again on leg-spinner Amit Mishra who has been in terrific form.




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