2016 T20 World Cup: India vs West Indies Semi-Final Preview

March 30, 2016 by Posted in Cricket Tips

Chris Gayle

The favourites India will look to take another step towards another home tournament final but they will have to overcome the West Indies in the second semi-final of the 2016 T20 World Cup at Mumbai on March 31st.

India had to wait literally until the last over of the group stage before overcoming Australia and moving into the last four in second place from Group II. The opening day setback against New Zealand was a kick-in-the-back but the hosts were able to rely on the brilliance of Virat Kohli to take them past Pakistan and Australia, making them Kohlify for the last four.

If the brain-freeze of Bangladesh in a one run win for India didn’t happen, the story would have been a lot different. However, all that is past now and India will attempt to make their home advantage count in their quest for glory. Kohli will again be key but the form of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma at the top is a worry that is gaining worrisome proportions already.

For a team that has threatened to walk away from the tournament in the wake of impending contract issues, the West Indies have shown that they are a serious force in this format. Even the absence of Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine did not dampen their spirits. The ‘T20 superstar’ Chris Gayle continued to bamboozle attacks masking the inefficiencies of a middle order that hasn’t looked convincing.

With the ball, it is the frugal Samuel Badree who is showcasing his vast experience and will need to be a key component again. The slower balls of Dwayne Bravo are tough for any player and should be worrisome for the Indians too. Andre Russell is proving a tough nut to crack – armed with his T20 experience in both the Big Bash and IPL. The returning Lendl Simmons could slot in directly in the opener’s position as he did with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

There isn’t any doubt that it will be a Gayle versus Kohli game. The two superstars will feel the burden of their side’s expectations but are adept at excelling in such situations. The Windies must have been rattled by the loss to Afghanistan but one loss doesn’t make them lightweight, especially as they were without Gayle. At odds of $2.90 with Sportsbet, they present a great value bet.

Watch out for Badree with the ball, he could be very difficult to face and he is in contention to be among the leading wicket takers for the Caribbean team. Ravichandran Ashwin received stick from the Aussies but would be itching to get back to his best for the hosts and his tussle with Gayle could be a potential match decider.

The West Indies are one of the most followed teams in this format and it is no exaggeration to say that they would be the second favourites for a lot of cricket fans. Will they ruin it for the locals and make a dash to the finals? Or will the hosts continue to ride on the heroics of Kohli?

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