Millennium Post

India aim to add colour to Holi

India aim to add colour to Holi
Defending champions India are on a roll, having won all three of their cricket World Cup matches, and are favourites to make it four out of four when they take on two-times former champions West Indies in a Pool B contest on the fast, bouncy WACA wicket here on Friday.

For the West Indies, who have won two and lost two, it is a crucial game. A win will certainly put Jason Holder’s men on course for the quarter-finals while a loss will put heavy dependence on their last group match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Napier on March 15. The inconsistent Windies started the tournament on a poor note, losing their opener to minnows Ireland but came back well to defeat Pakistan and Zimbabwe. However, they received a heavy drubbing at the hands of South Africa in their last fixture in Sydney on February 27.

The advantage for the Windies players is they know their Indian counterparts well, thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Caribbean side have several players who play in the cash-rich Twenty20 league and will be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Indians.

As unpredictable as they have been in this World Cup, the West Indies have racked up 300-plus totals all the three times they batted first, including their loss to Ireland. But they also gave away 408 runs when the South Africans batted first. However, in India, they will face the most economical attack of the tournament.

How they tackle spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be significant as the duo are regular at lowering the run-rate of the opposition. Ashwin has been in form, being India’s leading wicket taker in the tournament so far. Indian pacers will have to keep explosive opener Chris Gayle in check because if the tall left-hander gets going, he can rip apart any bowling attack. The same goes for the squad which is totally unpredictable. India on the other hand are familiar with the conditions having been in Australia for three months. Also, they played their last match against the UAE here and will be fine-tuned to the conditions.

The Indian batsmen are in good knick with almost all of them being among the runs lately. However, they could be tested by the Windies quickies on the pacy wicket. Mohammed Shami who was ruled out of the previous game against UAE with a knee issue, has bowled at the nets and would be back in the playing XI. It will be interesting to see what combination Dhoni goes with for the bowling line-up with the probable return of Shami as the batting order is likely to remain the same.

India match must-win for Windies: Holder

West Indies captain Jason Holder has labelled Friday’s World Cup Pool B encounter against defending champions India as a must-win match. The two-time former champions are in a precarious position going in to Friday’s game, having won two and lost two from their four outings so far. A win against India here will put the Caribbean side on course for the knockouts while a loss will put them in more than a spot of bother.

“They have good players who are in form. Virat has been phenomenal for them over the last few years. They have Shikhar Dhawan who has been in some form and then you have players like Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. But cricket is played on a day and I back my bowlers to execute their plans, putting them back and setting them on the back foot. We have planned for them and are just looking to execute our plans on Friday. We have got quality batsmen. On the whole, it is important we beat India first and move into our last preliminary game against UAE,” Holder was quoted as saying by
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