Himanshu Dubey

JPN: The first half of the cricket extravaganza is coming to a conclusion but we hardly know a thing more than we already knew regarding the fate of the teams in the World Cup, some thirty days back. More categorically Group B is filling in great excitement and thrill among the fans as there is still uncertainty as to which side will end up grabbing what spot in the group.

The last match in the group stages sees India-West Indies face-off on Sunday and the match holds much salience to both sides as to the rest of the teams in the group. Though the result will be inconsequential regarding the teams’ progress to the next round, both of them will look to gain the momentum going to the business part of the mega event.

India, currently placed at No.2 in Group B standings, will stay at that spot even if they win on Sunday and in all probabilities, will lock horns against the Black Caps in top-eight stage. A loss would mean, Team India finishing third in their group and playing tougher and more competitive sides- Australia or Sri Lanka, in the quarters. Though New Zealanders are having a good tournament but their susceptibility to spin gives India an edge over the Kiwis.

West Indies, on the other hand, has six points in the kitty and a win will shoot them to second best in the table right from the bottom. However, the Caribbean side has been over dependent on devastating Chris Gayle and fearsome Kierron Pollard. Their bowling looks out of touch with the exception of lanky pacer Kemar Roach. Already a hat-trick in this WC, Roach had been outstanding on the slow-low tracks in the sub-continent and his pace had been the Achilles heel for many batters.

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni has to get the combination right. He tried and tested lot of options but unfortunately for him majority of them have backfired, earning him widespread criticism. Non-inclusion of young tweaker R Ashwin right through the league matches and playing Piyush Chawla instead did not help the team’s cause.

As if it was not enough, Dhoni went on make things worse for himself. Dhoni handed over the ball to Ashish Nehra in the final over against the proteas and that one wrong move cost India the match and two vital points that could have sealed their position at the top of the table.

But it is past now and Dhoni must keep the episode out of the mind and should make sure that from now on his strategic risks on the field pay off because one mistake can leave Team running for cover from the over emotional cricket fans in the country.

When the two sides will take the field on Sunday, all Indians will look for another Tendulkar special, who is mere hundred runs away from thumping century of centuries and Chepauk will be anticipating a sparkling ton from his bat to write itself to history. So fasten your seat belts to witness something magical from the GOD himself.