India suffered an embarrassing defeat to New Zealand in the 2016 World T20 opener, after which they won three matches on the trot to reach the semifinals. India were favourites to clinch the World T20 title even before the mega event started, but their performances have not justified the tag. India were strongly tested by Bangladesh and Australia, who lost in a close encounter, which could have gone either way.
It is time for MS Dhoni and his men to showcase their strength against West Indies in the semifinals at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More believes India can defeat West Indies in the semifinals, but warned that the Caribbean nation are playing quality cricket at present. Though India might have defeated teams like Pakistan and Australia en route to the knockouts, their batting has looked wobbly.
India are known for their quality batsmen, but their top order has failed miserably, barring Virat Kohli, who has played an important role in helping India qualify for the semifinals. Kohli has scored 184 runs in the World T20, while the India openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, have failed, scoring 43 and 45 runs respectively in the competition so far. The duo cannot afford another failure against West Indies. Suresh Raina has been another major disappointment, with just 41 runs in four matches.
More feels that India's top order has to click against the West Indies.
"There is a serious need for India's top order batsmen to score runs against West Indies. They have failed to score runs in the World T20. Only Kohli has batted well for India," More told International Business Times, India.
If India's top order fails to perform against West Indies, the home team might suffer a defeat against the West Indies, who have some brilliant players in their camp. The Caribbean side seem to enjoy their cricket like no other, which can be understood from their entertaining celebrations. But, make no mistake, they are serious when it comes to performing on the field.
West Indies have some genuine match-winners in their team like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell. The trio can turn the game on its head and win their country the match from impossible situations.
In Gayle, West Indies have a ferocious hitter of a cricket ball, and the left-hander, when on song, can destroy any bowling attack in the world. Gayle might have only played three T20Is against India, but he has been successful against the Men in Blue, scoring 154 runs in three matches. More believes if Gayle scores big runs in Mumbai, it might get difficult for India.
"If Gayle fires, he can take the game away from any opposition. In case he scores a ton, the West Indies total could be more than 200 runs, which is always going to be a huge task to chase such runs. It is not every day that a team can chase more than 200 runs in a T20 game," More said.
If one looks at the matches that have been played in Mumbai so far in the World T20, they have all been high-scoring affairs. Afghanistan's score of 172 against South Africa is the lowest in the venue during the competition, which shows that it is a batting-friendly pitch.
With India and West Indies possessing quality batsmen, a high scoring semifinal is on the cards and the toss could hold utmost importance.
"The captain who wins the toss in Wankhede should bat second. With the due factor likely to come in to play, it could be better to chase a particular target in Mumbai," More added.