India have set their eyes on becoming the first team to win the World T20 twice in the competition's history. But, MS Dhoni's team need to take their game to another level to achieve the feat as they prepare to face West Indies in the semifinals of the World T20 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
India's journey in the 2016 World T20 has been less than satisfactory, with one loss against New Zealand and somehow managing to defeat Bangladesh in a last-ball thriller. Their victories against Pakistan and Australia were only made possible by Virat Kohli's individual brilliance with the willow.
If India play to their full potential, Dhoni's team should reach the semifinals of the World T20, but West Indies cannot be taken lightly. The Caribbean nation have defeated teams like England, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and lost only to Afghanistan. So West Indies will be a confident unit for the World T20 semifinals.
With both teams possessing incredible batsmen like Chris Gayle and Kohli, a run-feast is expected in Mumbai.
Here is a look at some key players from both sides.
The Mumbai batsman has been poor in the World T20, failing to provide India the much-needed start. With scores of 5, 10, 18 and 12 runs in the competition so far, there is a huge need for the opener to fire on all cylinders. With Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan failing at the top, rest of the India batsmen have been thrown in the firing line. If Rohit gets his bat to do the talking, other batsmen can also consolidate on the start. However, Rohit should consider himself lucky to face West Indies in Mumbai, where the pitch has assisted the batsmen. This is a golden chance for Rohit to get back to form.
Words cannot describe Kohli's performance in the World T20 so far. It would not be wrong to say Kohli single-handedly defeated Australia in the must-win encounter in Mohali, to help India reach the semis. Kohli has scored 184 runs so far, with an average of 92, and is expected to show similar form against West Indies as well. Kohli is not a big six hitter, but he plays normal cricket shots to score runs at a brisk rate. Even when he is not able to hit boundaries, he runs extremely well between the wickets, and in turn pressurises the opponent.
India captain, Dhoni has thrown the new ball to Ashwin a number of times, and the same can be expected in Mumbai as well. The whole of India will want Ashwin to dismiss the dangerous left-hander, Chris Gayle in the first few overs. Ashwin, with his variety, will also look to contain the West Indies batsmen from scoring runs freely during the powerplays. To be fair, Ashwin has not shown his brilliance in the competition as he has just taken four wickets. One hopes that he has reserved his best for the knockout stages.
The left-hander is the most dangerous power-hitter in world cricket, and if it is his day in Mumbai, God save India, as he can attack both the seamers as well as the pacers with ridiculous ease. Gayle can score quick runs and make the contest more challenging for India. Gayle has already enjoyed good success in Mumbai earlier in the competition, scoring 48-ball 100. He knows the conditions well and another similar Gayle storm could power West Indies to the final.
The right-hander has huge experience of playing in India via IPL, and has learned about the importance of bowling the slower balls. Bravo has mastered the art of bowling those deadly slow off-cutters, which has bamboozled the batsmen. West Indies primarily uses the bowler during the death overs as the batsmen have failed to read his bowling when they are looking to slog each and every ball. He has taken six wickets in the competition. He might have bowled well, but is yet to hit the straps with the willow in his hand. Make no mistake, he can be a lethal batsmen when required in the middle order.
India are said to be quality players of spin, but their performances against the New Zealand spinners in the first game was below par. Badree, who recently became the top ranked bolwer in the T20, can use his variety, and trouble the India batsmen. The leg-spinner has opened the bowling in all the matches for West Indies in the World T20, and the trend is set to be followed against India as well. Not only does the bowler takes wickets, he also pressurises the batsmen by not giving much freebies as well.