It’s a big game for India but not as big a game as it is for West Indies, in terms of making it to the last eight of this tournament. I continue to believe that all teams who make it to the last eight can beat each other on that particular day and the biggest challenge for West Indies is to make it to the last eight stages and take it from there.
The wicket at Perth gives West Indies the hope and opportunity as they have a good fast bowling attack which is very crucial on that pitch. But just having a good fast bowling attack doesn’t mean success because they will be up against an in-form Indian side. So for the Caribbeans, discipline will be the key if they need to make a mark in this game.
As much as Ashwin’s spell has shown that spinners will get bounce on this pitch, West Indies doesn’t boast of such high quality spin attack in the absence of Sunil Narine. Sulaiman Benn could be an option but he will have to recover from the DeVilliers onslaught. Once again toss will be crucial as the teams batting first have controlled the game and there have been some massive scores which have just out-batted the others.
The Indians have had a remarkable transformation in the World Cup and have looked a very solid team but one must not underestimate the match-winning ability of some of these West Indian batters, who could be very hot one day and ice-frozen the other day.
Chris Gayle will have to get back to the best of his ability if West Indies has to get back into this World Cup just like Shikhar Dhawan has stood up at the crunch for India. Shami could be back in the eleven for India, which will be a huge plus for the team, but if he has even a little niggle I would be in favour of rest because for India the quarterfinal stage is the most crucial at this juncture.
If not for Shami India will go unchanged but West Indies will be looking for Darren Bravo to get fit, as he is a class act in the middle-overs and the conditions in Perth will require quality technique to get runs.