Preview: India and West Indies aim for higher spot in the group

Indian team will look to go a spot higher against West Indies

India and West Indies aim for higher spot in the group

By Jamie Alter

Chennai: Mar 20, 2011

Though India and West Indies have progressed to the quarter-finals, don’t expect either side to treat the 42nd game of the tournament as just another fixture. The final trial of the league phase will determine who faces who in the knockouts, and besides both teams have issues to address, with India sure to experiment for the more intense days ahead.

India have one final opportunity to put together a win where all their disciplines click, having struggled during their two matches against top-quality teams. On both occasions India combusted after a platform had been set, with the second occasion nine wickets for 29 runs – resulting in defeat.

India have been carried by their top openers – Virender Sehwag (327 runs) and Sachin Tendulkar (324 runs) while Gautam Gambhir (197 runs) and Yuvraj Singh (171 runs) have weighed in. However, the team needs runs from MS Dhoni, who will also have to decide whether to play Suresh Raina or Yusuf Pathan. R Ashwin is finally poised to make his World Cup debut, meaning India will have to pick one of Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel to partner Zaheer Khan.

West Indies looked on course to seal their place in the knock-out stage when they were trotting towards victory against England before contrived to lose by 18 runs. Bangladesh s loss to South Africa has confirmed West Indies promotion, but they would know all too well that they have been far from convincing.

The batting looks far from settled, and once again West Indies look to veterans like Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan to show them the way. India would certainly have not forgotten the impact the pair has had on them down the years; Gayle has four centuries against India, while Sarwan averages 65 against them. Sarwan hasn t hit his straps in the tournament but he loves this attack, and the sight of India will surely stir him. Gayle is West Indies biggest star, but he has not set the tournament alight yet as his captain Darren Sammy predicted he would. Gayle has rarely let other factors inhibit him and West Indies will hope he comes out blazing tomorrow.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul s omission raised eyebrows and he could slot back into the middle order, with Darren Bravo failing to impress since he started the tournament with a fluent 80 against Netherlands. Against England, West Indies reshuffled their line-up with chalky results. However, the success of spin in Thursday s game will ensure West Indies go in with Suleiman Benn and Devendra Bishoo, and there is a good chance Gayle will be called on to bowl his offspin.

The last time India met West Indies in a World Cup was back in 1996 at Gwalior, where Tendulkar s 70 sealed victory for the hosts. Tendulkar is currently on 99 international centuries, and fans in Chennai, the maestro s most profitable venue, would love nothing more than the landmark to come during an Indian win. If Ashwin plays, it will make them all the happier.

India (Probable): Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina/Yusuf Pathan, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra/Munaf Patel.

West Indies (Probable): Chris Gayle, Devon Smith, Darren Bravo/Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kieron Pollard, Devon Thomas (wk), Darren Sammy (c), Andre Russell, Sulieman Benn, Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo.

Umpires: Steve Davis (Australia) and Simon Taufel (Australia)

Time: 14.30 local (09.00 GMT)

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)

By Jamie Alter

Chennai: Mar 20, 2011

Though India and West Indies have progressed to the quarter-finals, don’t expect either side to treat the 42nd game of the tournament as just another fixture. The final trial of the league phase will determine who faces who in the knockouts, and besides both teams have issues to address, with India sure to experiment for the more intense days ahead. Australia’s defeat to Pakistan in Colombo means that should India win against West Indies, they will face Australia in the quarter-finals. If West Indies triumph, then India will end up meeting Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals

India have one final opportunity to put together a win where all their disciplines click, having struggled during their two matches against top-quality teams. On both occasions India combusted after a platform had been set, with the second occasion nine wickets for 29 runs – resulting in defeat.

India have been carried by their top openers – Virender Sehwag (327 runs) and Sachin Tendulkar (324 runs) while Gautam Gambhir (197 runs) and Yuvraj Singh (171 runs) have weighed in. However, the team needs runs from MS Dhoni, who will also have to decide whether to play Suresh Raina or Yusuf Pathan. R Ashwin is finally poised to make his World Cup debut, meaning India will have to pick one of Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel to partner Zaheer Khan.

West Indies looked on course to seal their place in the knock-out stage when they were trotting towards victory against England before contrived to lose by 18 runs. Bangladesh s loss to South Africa has confirmed West Indies promotion, but they would know all too well that they have been far from convincing.

The batting looks far from settled, and once again West Indies look to veterans like Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan to show them the way. India would certainly have not forgotten the impact the pair has had on them down the years; Gayle has four centuries against India, while Sarwan averages 65 against them.

Sarwan hasn t hit his straps in the tournament but he loves this attack, and the sight of India will surely stir him. Gayle is West Indies biggest star, but he has not set the tournament alight yet as his captain Darren Sammy predicted he would. Gayle has rarely let other factors inhibit him and West Indies will hope he comes out blazing tomorrow.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul s omission raised eyebrows and he could slot back into the middle order, with Darren Bravo failing to impress since he started the tournament with a fluent 80 against Netherlands. Against England, West Indies reshuffled their line-up with chalky results. However, the success of spin in Thursday s game will ensure West Indies go in with Suleiman Benn and Devendra Bishoo, and there is a good chance Gayle will be called on to bowl his offspin.

The last time India met West Indies in a World Cup was back in 1996 at Gwalior, where Tendulkar s 70 sealed victory for the hosts. Tendulkar is currently on 99 international centuries, and fans in Chennai, the maestro s most profitable venue, would love nothing more than the landmark to come during an Indian win. If Ashwin plays, it will make them all the happier.

Teams:

India (Probable): Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Suresh Raina/Yusuf Pathan, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra/Munaf Patel.

West Indies (Probable): Chris Gayle, Devon Smith, Darren Bravo/Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kieron Pollard, Devon Thomas (wk), Darren Sammy (c), Andre Russell, Sulieman Benn, Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo.

Umpires: Steve Davis (Australia) and Simon Taufel (Australia)

Time: 14.30 local (09.00 GMT)

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)

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