Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Superior spin attack gives Pakistan the edge

The tournament is coming to the end of the group stages, but there is still everything to fight for in the World Twenty20.

The West Indies-Pakistan match is one such and it will be an interesting one on Tuesday.

Both teams have improved after their initial losses to India and played superbly against Australia, who came with a massive reputation at the start of the tournament.

It was a big total for the Caribbeans to chase and Darren Sammy at the end just smashed his way to keep the West Indies in contention for the last four. The celebrations were superb, although a bit different than the normal West Indies style. One never sees the West Indies get angry, the likes of Ambrose and Walsh would give you a hard stare but never utter a word and this celebration showed that the Caribbeans had come out with something to prove.

In this process, they may have realised that if they are determined then they are a better side than perhaps they thought and have the capability to beat anyone in the world in this format. They will need a similar sort of mindset when they play Pakistan but they must also remember that the Pakistan team in these conditions are a lot more dangerous then the Aussies as they have a spin attack that will utilise the conditions far better than the Australians did.

Both sides have some quality spinners and the side that bats better will have an edge in this game.

On paper, the Caribbeans are a better batting side and with the return to form of Chris Gayle and Sammy, they will also fancy their chances. Pakistan, with the century of Shehzad, will also be a bit relieved. They were too dependent on Umar Akmal to provide them with the impetus but support from the other batsman can make them a tough opponent to beat.

India, on the other hand, were once again superb. When everyone thought that Australia would provide the most resistance, the Indian team came out with their best performance. They will be relieved with the return to form of Yuvraj Singh and will go into the semi-finals with most of their batters with runs under their belt. Their spinners once again bowled splendidly and with Ravichandran Ashwin getting better with every outing, the South Africans will have a hard time at Mirpur.

The Australians and the Bangladeshis have disappointed all. The form which they came with after their massive win in South Africa had deserted them. They will also have to look at the combination in the sub-continent. They made the mistake of being too pace-friendly at the start and did not use the conditions.

Spinners are a very important part of the sub-continent and they need to work on it in the future. Bangladesh, on the other hand, need a massive introspection. They looked lacklustre and must admit that their quality has gone down in the last two years. They have talented players but are not thinking on their feet in the middle. Players like Shakib will have to contribute more but they have a very good talent in Anamul and the coaching staff will have to make sure that he doesn’t get lost like a lot of talented players in the past.

— The writer is a former India captain