Chris Gayle. Virat Kohli. Dwayne Bravo. MS Dhoni. The Wankhede stadium will be screening an ensemble-driven action movie as much it hosts a cricket match on Thursday night. Those individuals and their styles of play contribute to a lot of the interest surrounding this game, and also typify there are various ways to establish T20 batting dominance.
India’s has been to simply extend their Test and one-day game into the Twenty20s arena, and when all goes well, they get the bulk of their runs through orthodox cricket. West Indies, ideally, wouldn’t want their long-format form anywhere near them right now. Helpfully, this format has a tight cap on the number of overs so the big-hitters can keep hitting big without worrying about consequences.
Case in point are the methods that their marquee players use. Gayle likes to “beat” the ball. No wonder it rockets as far away from him as it can, hoping to be lost somewhere in the rings of Saturn. Kohli is kinder in assisting with the ball’s travels, and even throws in a few surprises – patrons waiting in the off stump line could end up at midwicket almost as often as they do in the covers.Both teams clearly have lots of cream at the top, but the middle looks a bit squishy. It’s been over two years since Denesh Ramdin or Suresh Raina have hit a T20 fifty. Dwayne Bravo, at No. 5, has looked unsure whether he needs to be the aggressor or the anchor. Yuvraj Singh has been similarly jittery, but an ankle injury ruled him out of the World T20. That leads West Indies to the prospect of bowling at a player – one of Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey or Pawan Negi – who hasn’t faced a ball in this tournament. But Mumbai is just about the perfect venue for the out-of-form and brand new batsmen to get into the swing of things – the lowest total in the tournament here has been Afghanistan’s 172 against South Africa.
Quite apart from tactics and strategy, there are players from both sides who may be playing their last World Cup, so the incentive to make it to Eden Gardens – for the final – for one more match will be very strong.
2015 Kashmir Despatch