Today’s winners to get edge in semi-final race

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Today’s winners to get edge in semi-final race

All teams in the Group 2 — India, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia — are quite capable of winning the Twenty20 World Cup, with both the sub-continent rivals clinching it once.

By Adur Pradeep (Reverse Appeal)

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Published: Fri 28 Sep 2012, 9:27 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:43 AM

But only two teams can progress to the semi-finals, making it a ‘Group of Death’. Australia, who are yet to win a Twenty20 World Cup title, are quite determined to make a difference this time.

Despite being placed at a lowly seventh in the ICC T20 rankings, the Australians are a dangerous side, especially during a crunch situation.

They face No 3 ranked India in the second match at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo at 6pm UAE time.

The rankings, however, don’t matter much in a Twenty20 match and both teams have equal chances to go one up in the Super Eight match today.

Shane Watson played match-winning roles in both the matches he played and the all-rounder remains Australia’s trump card against India today.

The Aussies pin a lot of hopes on Watson’s partnership with dashing opener David Warner, who knows the Indian attack too well because of his IPL experience.

As a matter of fact it is the Aussie bowling which will need to pull their socks.

Though the team secured a 17-run victory over an erratic West Indies in a rain-shortened match, Chris Gayle and Co took the Aussie bowlers to the cleaners.

Similarly, the Indian bowlers didn’t inspire confidence in their warm-up games and opening encounter against minnows Afghanistan, but made a strong comeback against England in the second game.

It remains to be seen whether the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners, who made life difficult for England, could make the same impact against the Australians, who play spin better than their English counterparts.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has indicated that he would go with five regular bowlers and it seems to be the best option considering the inconsistent performance of his bowlers.

In that case, he will have to either drop Virender Sehwag or Yuvraj Singh to accommodate a regular bowler.

Sehwag, though struggling now, has a remarkable record against the Aussies, while Yuvraj gives him an option of an all-rounder.

India would be once again looking at their spin duo Harbhajan Singh, who made a come back by demolishing England, and Ravichandran Ashwin, to restrict the Aussies.

With Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma regaining their form and the in-form Virat Kohli in their ranks, India have the batting prowess to upset the Australian ambitions.

Meanwhile, the top-ranked South Africans are pitted against Pakistan in today’s opening match at the same venue at 2pm.

Despite fielding several strong teams, South Africa haven’t yet managed to win a World Cup crown.

This time too they are one of the favourites and have some excellent players like captain AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Richard Levi.

However, the Proteas have a tough opponent in the Super Eight opener.

Pakistan, though ranked five now, have the best record in T20 World Cups as they have reached the finals twice and triumphed once.

Their recent form is also excellent, as they have notched up impressive victories over New Zealand and Bangladesh in league matches.

Pakistan would look to restrict the South Africans through their spinners, led by the impressive Saeed Ajmal.

Their battling also looks settled with Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal in good knick.

Shahid Afridi is yet to fire with his batting, but De Villiers knows the all-rounder is a dangerous player for a crucial Twenty20 encounter.

Both the matches are too close to call, but the winners today will get a definite edge in the semi-final race.-

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