Australia and West Indies lock horns in a crucial game on Friday and the scenario is such that both teams will have to go all-out for a win.
If Australia win, they will surely keep their hopes of a berth in the semi-finals alive. The Australian batting was exemplary in the last match against Pakistan, especially Glenn Maxwell. He produced some of the cleanest hitting of a cricket ball that I have seen in recent times. It was a game Australia should have won, but the lower order gave it away to the Pakistan bowling attack.
The Australian top four is one of the best suited for the Twenty20 format and this will put huge pressure on West Indies bowling, provided David Warner and Shane Watson take a little bit of time to settle down early on.
Although the Australian pace battery is very strong, once again their success will depend on spin. They might have to add one more spinner against West Indies.
On the other hand, if West Indies don’t win then they will be left to be a mere spectator in the group, as it would be a three-way race between India, Pakistan and Australia for the top two places in the group.
For West Indies, Chris Gayle hasn’t been in the best of form. The nature of the pitch in Mirpur has not allowed him to hit on the up and Gayle will need to do something different to get going. His game in Twenty20 cricket is about looking to bat the 20 overs, but he hasn’t been able to do that. He will probably have to bring out the sweep from his armoury, especially against off-spinners, to minimise risk of getting out and get the scoring rate up.
India will be up against Bangladesh, who have not been playing good cricket for some time and, to be very honest, their out cricket has not been up to international standard. They have been sloppy and, if they continue in that manner against India, they will be in for a drubbing. Bangladesh are a team with talent on paper, but they will need to perform on the ground to do justice to that talent.
India should try to take the opportunity to bowl second in this game because they have bowled in the first half of both matches so far with a drier ball. It would be interesting to try out the bowlers with wet balls due to the heavy dew in the second half. As for their bowling, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was outstanding against the West Indies and hopefully he will carry on the good work.
This is a good opportunity for Yuvaraj Singh to get back to form and it would be nice if the Indian team management allows him to bat higher. With Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli in good form, if Yuvaraj also starts hitting well then the Indian batting will turn out to be even stronger at the important end of the tournament.
— The writer is a former India captain