India vs West Indies | Thursday 30 March | Mumbai | 16:00
The second semi-final of the 2016 World T20 will see India go up against a wildly unpredictable West Indian side in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon / evening.
Can Virat Kohli lead his men to their third World T20 final or will the a star-studded West Indian side send the Mumbai faithful home in stunned silence? Let’s get to it!
To Win Match
India 9/20 | Draw 35/1 | West Indies 18/10
India have Virat Kohli to thank for single-handedly steering them into the semi-finals of this year’s World T20. His match-winning 51-ball 82* against Australia in their final Super 10 game ensured that the hosts avoided what would have been a catastrophic early exit from the showpiece event.
While Kohli has been as his magnificent best of late, there are some serious question marks surrounding Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. The two came into this tournament off the back of some majestic displays against Australia, however, they seem to have crumbled under the pressure of the watching world. The fact that Dhawan in particular has been afforded so many opportunities after extended barren runs points to a lack of depth. We’ve seen the scenario play out numerous times, Dhawan fails to deliver for six or seven games, the pressure builds on him before he plays one or two glorious, match-winning knocks before falling horribly out of form again.
I haven’t really been convinced by their middle order either, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh haven’t really brought much to the table with the bat. They’ve shown glimpses of their undoubted talent, but have thus far failed to make any real impact. That said, Raina has put in a few good showings with the ball while Yuvraj has been used sparingly. I’d love to see Ajinkya Rahane get a game – I know I’ve been harping on about this all tournament – but he offers much more solidity in the middle order than either Raina or Yuvraj. I doubt he will get a look in this late in the tournament, though.
Oddly enough, India’s bowling has been far more effective than their batting in this tournament. Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah have been excellent in in the power play overs, keeping their lines and lengths tight, not allowing opposition batsmen to get on top of them early on. This opens the door for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to strangle batsmen in the middle overs. Their execution will be vital against a big-hitting West Indies side who will be keen to show what they can do on this Mumbai deck.
Much of India’s hopes lie at the feet of Kohli and their two frontline seamers. If Bumrah and Nehra are able to keep the West Indian top order quiet for long enough, they’ll fancy their chances at restricting the Islanders score. As always, Kohli will need to be at his mercurial best, especially if the Indians are made to chase. The Delhi native is at his most dangerous when hunting down big scores and seems to thrive on the pressure that comes with the chase.
The West Indies have blown ferociously hot and wildly cold during the 2016 World T20. Magnificent wins against England, Sri Lanka and South Africa were followed up with a tame display against Afghanistan – a showing that saw them go down by six runs against the associate nation. It is worth mentioning that Chris Gayle sat that particular game out, however, one make does not make a team.
Out of all of the star players that make up the West Indian squad, I’ve been most impressed with Samuel Badree. The leg-spinner came into this tournament with the weight of expectancy on his shoulders. He had been under-performing since his failed stint with the Brisbane Heat in the KFC Big Bash. He’s played in four matches in the tournament and bagged a healthy six wickets. What’s been most impressive, however, is his economy rate. In 15 overs in batsman friendly conditions, Badree has only conceded 5.46 runs an over. He’s been ably supported by Sulieman Benn, who hasn’t claimed as many wickets but conceded fewer than five to the over.
While their bowling has been top-notch so far, their batting has left a bit to be desired. Excellent performances from Chris Gayle against England and Andre Fletcher’s 84 against Sri Lanka were two high points in an otherwise disappointing campaign with bat in hand.
Andre Russell has also been uncharacteristically quiet during this tournament. He’s struggled to make any real impact with the bat, although his chances have been a bit limited. Another who has had a bit of an indifferent tournament is Dwayne Bravo. He’s struggled to make any real impact with the bat. His clever change of pace with the ball though could prove to be key against a belligerent Indian batting line-up.
Verdict: Virat Kohli to top score at 24/10
This is a no brainer, really. Virat Kohli is different class at the moment. His ability with the bat in this form of the game is second to none and he looks excellent value to top score on an excellent batting track. Get on!