India’s performance in the ongoing World T20 has been something special. They have hardly put a foot wrong en route to making their way to the final. This effort has been in stark contrast to the results they delivered in South Africa and New Zealand and, more recently, even in the Asia Cup. But then, T20 seems to bring out the best in Indian cricketers more often than not. Of course, they have struggled to perform in the previous editions of the World T20, but going into the final, fans will have no such complaints from the Men in Blue.
The good thing for India is that both their batsmen and bowlers have put their hands up and delivered at different stages of the game. If one area has suffered, the other has made up for it. In the first couple of matches, the bowlers were brilliant. Amit Mishra started off things on a bright not for India, delivering match-winning performances against Pakistan and West Indies. He was not afraid to give the ball air and entice the batsman. He did have an off day against South Africa, but team India would hope that nervousness doesn’t get the better of him against the Lankans.
The other spinner in the side, Ravichandran Ashwin, has been equally brilliant. He began the series low on confidence, and thus was restricted to playing a supporting role to Mishra. However, as the tournament has progressed, he has come into his own, and in the last two games against Australia and South Africa, he has been unplayable. Mishra’s dismissal of Hashim Amla from around the wickets will be etched in memory for a while. Sri Lanka would be a tougher challenge for the offie since the opponents are great players of slow bowling.
As for the team combination, India made a brave decision by playing Ajinkya Rahane ahead of the struggling Shikhar Dhawan. And, the manner in which he batted, there should be no reason why the opening combination must be altered with. Rahane doesn’t look like some who would tear into attacks, but does the job of getting the runs quickly early on. Along with his Mumbai mate Rohit Sharma, Rahane’s performance would be key to India’s result in the final. The one spot that they would ponder upon is that of Mohit Sharma. For the big day, India might go in for the experience of Mohammed Shami ahead of the rookie.
It goes without saying that, in case of a chase, much would depend on the magnificent Virat Kohli. He delivered yet another scintillating win for the side in the semis at a stage when things were getting tough. India would be pinning a lot of hopes on him. At the same time, they would be pleased that the experienced duo of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh has hit form. Both have played crucial roles in India’s wins over the last two games. India have not lost a single game in the event so far, and if they want to lift the crown, they will need to maintain that unbeaten record.
--By A Cricket Analyst