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ICC World Twenty20: Dangerous Australia stand between India and semi-finals

first_imgForget the net run rate. Forget the pre-tournament hype. Forget New Zealand’s domination so far. It’s India vs Australia in Mohali and it’s a must-win for either team if they have to enter the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20.India, despite the home conditions and their superb form in the run-up to the tournament, have not had it easy. They lost to New Zealand before carving out victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh to stay alive. Despite the twin victories, it’s easy to see that not everything is okay with the Indian team. (India vs Australia will be an open game, says Sachin Tendulkar)The openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, are in desperate need of runs. Their poor form has haunted India right through the World T20. Rohit was in outstanding form in Australia and he was splendid against Sri Lanka. But back-to-back failures in this tournament has rendered India helpless. Dhawan, Rohit’s opening partner, has not set the stage on fire either with scores of 1 (vs New Zealand), 6 (vs Pakistan) and 23 (vs Bangladesh). (Australia and India would be ready for each other, says Steve Waugh)Suresh Raina’s indifferent form has been a cause for concern as well but he has the firm backing of Mahendra Singh Dhoni to continue at No.4 even with Ajinkya Rahane waiting in the sidelines. Yuvraj Singh, the World T20 specialist, expected to make a splash in this edition, has so far managed 4, 24 and 3 from the three matches. (Australia ready for ‘massive game’ against India, says James Faulkner)advertisementVirat Kohli has once again been the lone bright spark for India but the team cannot be so reliant on one man in such a big, high-pressure tournament. What happens if he gets a peach of a delivery early on in the innings against Australia? The rest of the batting line-up has to stand up. (Also read: Pre-tournament favourites India not really good enough yet) But Rohit, Dhawan, Raina and Yuvraj can cheer up a little. The conditions in Mohali will suit them just fine. The last two matches there, New Zealand vs Pakistan and Australia vs Pakistan, produced high-scoring classics. Pakistan chased on both occasions and they were in with a chance before their late-order found a way to blow it up. (This is how MS Dhoni is chilling ahead of crucial game vs Australia) Dhoni does not need to really worry about his bowling resources. Ashish Nehra has been slightly expensive but he has enough experience to deliver under pressure. Jasprit Bumrah has been impressive with his yorkers; his penultimate over against Bangladesh really turned the game on its head. Hardik Pandya will be persisted and he will be high on confidence after his manic last over in Bangalore on Wednesday.Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have done what they were expected to do on three turning pitches. They will be lethal in Mohali as well, because they know what to do on flat decks. India will be a dangerous side in batting friendly conditions and Australia will remember that from their encounters in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in January.Australia, however, will be high on confidence after their loss to New Zealand in Dharamsala in their tournament opener. They came back to defeat Bangladesh and then overcame a desperate Pakistan. Steve Smith was in belligerent mood, slamming an unbeaten 61 while James Faulkner picked 5/27.It won’t be easy for India on Sunday. A confident Australian unit is always dangerous. They included Aaron Finch and he is likely to retain his place in the XI against India. Several experts feel David Warner should move up the order to partner Finch but Australia will persist with Usman Khawaja.It will be an emotional moment for Shane Watson, who has announced his retirement from international cricket after the World T20. He would not want to bow out without a fight and his unbeaten 44 against Pakistan on Friday showed the veteran all-rounder still has plenty of fight left in him.This will be big game. India had knocked Australia out of the 2011 World Cup and Australia had returned the favour to Dhoni’s defending champions last year. India now have the chance to avenge that defeat and storm into the last-four.last_img read more