As two great cricketing nations collide in the 2nd semi final of the ICC World T20’14, one team will look to maintain their consistency of winning matches, which they have displayed right through this tournament, and the other nation will look to remove their tag of “chokers” which has been haunting them for the past 22 years. Yes, you guessed it right; it’s India and South Africa who are going to battle with all spirits at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka, for a place in the final of the World T20.
This tournament has been an unforgettable one for the spinners and if the South African team go into this game with this weak mindset, I don’t think India will have any problem in booking the ticket for the grand finale. We have also seen in this tournament that if a team is mentally ready and pumped up for any particular match, it has easily dominated over its respective opponent.
When India and South Africa met in the 2007 World T20, the Indians knocked out the home team. While in 2012 World Cup, the Proteas returned the favour back to the Indians. On the whole they have met 4 times in T20 World cups having equal share of victories.
The semi-final will display how the South African batsman tackle spin bowling in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and- the most dangerous of them all- Amit Mishra. Hashim Amla did show his magnificent tactics of playing spin when he came to India in 2010 for a test series. He was, by far, the most successful batsman for the Proteas. But the way Hashim has changed his game in the previous two matches; it doesn’t look like he will play the waiting game. And if MS Dhoni brings Bhuvaneshwar Kumar from the 1st over, as he did in the match against the West Indies, then it will be surely a mouth watering contest between him and the opener.
AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and David Miller have got the IPL experience and may well prove handy in the death overs if they have wickets in hand. AB played a blistering knock against England and JP is also enjoying a great run in this tournament. So some homework has to be done by the Indian bowlers, especially Ravindra Jadeja who has really underperformed during the death overs in this world cup. It will be better for MS to stop bowling with Jadeja in the final overs and instead bringing Mohammed Shami and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who now know how to bowl some good yorkers at the end.
Shikar Dhawan is struggling with his form and that is why MS Dhoni allowed Ajinkya Rahane to play against Australia so that Dhawan can “understand his game.” Lets hope that Dhawan has understood where his mistakes were and come back strongly against the Proteas. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina are at their respective best and will look to continue their good run in the semi final as well.
Indian middle order has not been tested much in this tournament as they have enjoyed some comfortable victories involving just the top 4 batsmen. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni were tested against Australia when the top order wickets fell quickly. But it was a blessing in disguise for the Indians as Yuvraj Singh earned his form back playing a brilliant knock of 60 runs.
Imran Tahir didn’t enjoy a good outing the last time he bowled to the Indian batsmen, during the test series in South Africa, but now conditions are equally favourable to both nations’ spinners. So Tahir will look to prove his point in this crucial semi-final as he has performed well so far in this tournament.
Amidst all this, another mouth-watering contest awaits when Rohit Sharma takes on South African speed star Dale Steyn. The world no.1 did enjoy the better of the contest during the 1st one day match at the Wanderers- well it was never a contest exactly. Rohit then challenged Steyn during the Durban test to show his skills in sub continental pitches. Dale Steyn will be fired up and it will be interesting to see if Faf du Plessis gives him the ball in the 1st over. Sharma will also have the chance to prove his capability against the world no.1 and an opportunity to take revenge.
So it will be an exhilarating contest between India and South Africa and cricket lovers will hope that this match lives up to the expectations of a semi-final.