India's wishlist for QF
For a change, let’s not analyse each team’s strengths, weaknesses, their key players & strategies. Lets just look at Indian cricket team’s most favoured team to play in the QF. Since the start of this World Cup,Indian cricket fans have been running analysis & calculations – trying to predict the easiest path to the semifinals.We,Indians just love number crunching when it does good to us. Many amongst us began with the belief that the team which ends up being no. 1 in the group stage would hold maximum advantage as the subdued teams at the start of this world cup- West Indies & New Zealand were thought to be the easiest bets to beat in the QF owing to their performance in the recent past.
At least for the next few weeks, I would like to believe that India is not going to end up being no. 4 in group B but if it does happen we could very well be playing Australia in the QF who seem to have peaked at the right time this World Cup. They definitely are acting like the defending champions. India would want to avoid a battle of such intensity in the QF.
If India ends up being no.2 or 3 in Group B, they would most likely play their Asian counterparts -Pakistan or Sri Lanka . Are they any easier to beat than Australia ? Definitely no - Pakistan seems to be a formidable unit minus their one loss to New Zealand, if they could beat Srilanka at their home comfortably then they could do that to India as well unless India decides to remind them of the special history they share at the World Cup. Would India want to avoid Pakistan as well in the QF ?
The Sri Lankan team may not mind playing India in the QF as their class act bowlers might be able to topple the great Indian batting line up & their batsmen may easily tackle the Indian bowling who at the moment seem pretty ordinary also with the added advantage of understanding the subcontinent pitches -the Indian spinners might be in for a beating at the hands of the Sri Lankan batsmen. Can the same be said about the Sri Lankan spinners in the hands of the Indian batsmen? It needs to be seen. Again do we really want a face off with Srilanka in the QF?
Now Assuming the best case scenario with India ending up top of Group B, and say New Zealand at no. 4 in group A. Team India might have wanted to face the Kiwis in the QF until they witnessed Ross Taylor & co maul the Pakistan bowling to an extent that the last 10 overs of the Kiwi innings looked like as if the Hong Kong sixes tournament was taking place and not the World Cup. Are the Kiwis peaking at the right time as well ? Don’t forget New Zealand has always performed well at the World cup and with John Wright as their coach – their subcontinent experience especially India can only be enriched. If New Zealand is not our best case either then who is ?
The answer is pretty straight -irrespective of whichever team, India needs to first tighten its screws in all departments of the game. Neither is 210 for 5 wickets a good chase against Ireland nor getting hit for 338 runs by England in your pitches and settling for a tie a good sign. The idea is to win the World Cup and there has never been an easy route. The time has come to traverse through any kind of route to reach the final destination .