Sunday, August 9, 2020
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Dhoni and Co will be handful in these conditions

India is off to a great start in the tournament. The first match is always crucial and looking at the group India is in, every win will make a difference as there are some strong teams in that group.

Winning the first game takes a lot of nerves away from any team and hopefully, it will calm them down before they take on the other strong contenders of the group. Pakistan has always had a good record in the T-20 World Cup, but they were simply outplayed by India.

There is no shame in being beaten by a good side on that day, but it is still the early days in the tournament and this wake-up call will allow Pakistan to come back stronger. But they will have to look at their batting and need to get stronger there.

India-Pakistan battles are always a test of nerves and India won it there. The Pakistan team looked very charged up and keen to do well and at times, there is a very thin line between being relaxed and over-excited. They were probably 40 minutes before India at the warm-ups and went on for a very long time, which did not help their cause. They also got taken by surprise at the wicket.

The Mirpur deck had an extra bit of bounce and they did not change their game early on in their innings. Their young batters should take a leaf out of Virat Kohli’s book — with the way he played in the second half. Good batting and good performance is not always only about one’s ability, it’s also about accepting the situation and adjusting your game accordingly.

For India, it was a perfect day. I had mentioned that I saw some good signs in the warm-up games and if they continue to play this way they will be a serious contender in the competition.

India take on West Indies on Sunday and with the ball turning, Dhoni and his boys will be a tough opponent to beat. Remember the Champions trophy in England last year where the ball spun and India did not drop a game. The bowling attack becomes a wicket-taking one for India when the ball turns and I somehow have a good feeling about this tournament.

The West Indies will be a stronger opposition then Pakistan. They have done very well in the warm-up games and have a balanced team, but they will also have to play differently if they have to compete with India.

The likes of Sunil Narine and Badree will enjoy the conditions, but it’s the West Indies batting who will have to deliver against Indian bowling. Amit Mishra has been good recently and his variations in this format can once again be a threat to the West Indies.

The only difference would be that he will have to bowl against a few left-handers, a variation that Pakistan did not have. India were really bold enough to go in with three spinners against Pakistan, something that I couldn’t see at the start and if the pitches continue to turn, then they will be a massive threat.

Also, Dhoni as a skipper was very good. Sometimes breaks help and he got an opportunity to re-invent himself. He also enjoys the shorter format and looks a lot more proactive in it.

— The author is a former India skipper