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ICC World Twenty20: Tonight’s not just about Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle

first_imgThe big night is almost here. The ICC World Twenty20 fervour has spared none and Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan is no exception. A couple of nights ago Bachchan said he would want to see West Indies star Chris Gayle smash a hundred and an Indian win at the same time in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final. Most cricket fans, the ones who will be watching the big clash on television and the lucky ones who get to watch the action live from Wankhede would agree with the legendary actor.  (Live Updates: India vs West Indies semifinal )Gayle is never out of the equation. He lit up the World T20 campaign with a 48-ball ton in West Indies’ opening clash against England. The big guy has the ability to deliver on big occasions. So does the local boy Virat Kohli. The Indian batsman has been single-handedly winning matches for the team in the recent past and the trend has continued in this tournament. With 184 runs from four matches, Kohli doesn’t look like he’s every going to stop scoring runs for the team. (India’s road to semi-finals ) A lot has been said about these two superstars. The previews and the expert opinions on the semi-final clash have centered around Kohli and Gayle. However, there are a few others, highly potent, from both camps who can influence the big game today. Ravichandran Ashwin Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s tactics against the big man from the Caribbean will be straightforward – give Ravichandran Ashwin the new-ball and wait for him to do the trick. The off-spinner has dismissed Gayle four out of the nine times they met in T20s. Ashwin adjusts his pace and line and from what we have seen in the Indian Premier League, the off-spinner is very careful about not giving room for Gayle to hit the big ones. Ashwin has bowled 70 balls at Gayle and 40 of them have been dots. It will be a mouth-watering clash when the two have a go at each other tonight. Every Indian fan would want to see Ashwin and Dhoni celebrating early in the innings at the expense of Gayle.advertisement Andre Russell Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, in an exclusive interview to India Today, stressed on the fact that West Indies lacked a genuine pacer in their ranks. However, he said Andre Russell could prove handy when it came to bowling fast. Russell not only bowls fast, he also has the nack of picking up wickets with the slower ones that bamboozles the batsman. And not surprisingly, he is the leading wicket-taker for West Indies in this tournament. Russell is a difficult bowler to deal with because of his pace variations. He can win matches with his batting skills as well. He can hit the big ones under pressure and he has proved his worth in the Indian Premier League time and again. His IPL strike of 179.72 should tell us a lot about Russell – the batsman’s ability. Jasprit Bumrah Jasprit Bumrah will be itching to perform in front of the Wankhede crowd from where it all started. The Mumbai Indians star has been on top of his game, be it with the new ball or at the death. Dhoni would be hoping his strike bowler does the job once again tonight. Bumrah has the pace to outdo batsmen. He has shown us that he has calm head above his shoulders to buckle up even if he concedes runs in the initial overs. Bumrah would be practising yorkers at the nets to deny the West Indies batsmen too many opportunities to score freely on a belter like Wankhede, which has seen 180+ scores in all the World T20 matches played so far. It will be a big test for Bumrah and the his comeback spell in the match against Bangladesh showed us why experts rate him among the best in business. Dwayne Bravo Dwayne Bravo is a champion material. He is the perfect man to have in your team in this format of the game. He can provide stability to the batting order by rotating the strike, he can hit the big ones in the end overs, bowl the off-cutters to deceive batsmen. Bravo will be relying on his IPL experience to take his team to glory tonight. The IPL star who had previously plied his trade with Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings has shared dressing room with majority of the Indian team members. Bravo has closely followed Dhoni and has been an admirer of his captaincy. In tonight’s clash the West Indies star would not think twice to anticipate the Indian skipper tactics. Watch out for Bravo and his pyrotechnics on the field.   Rohit Sharma It has not been his tournament so far. Rohit Sharma has only scored 45 runs from four matches and along with Shikhar Dhawan has been paltry at the top. If Sharma was looking for inspiration, tonight will be his biggest chance. The crowd at the Wankhede will definitely be behind the captain of their home franchise. Rohit should be well aware of the conditions in Mumbai. On top of that, the explosive opening batsman scored an unbeaten 98 against West Indies in the warm-up match a few weeks ago. Rohit is capable of scoring big. If he can deliver today, Kohli will breathe easy. Marlon SamuelsFour years ago, on a tricky wicket in Colombo, Samuels played the innings of his career. The lanky West Indies batsman smashed 78 off 56 balls in the final against hosts Sri Lanka and lead his team to their first World T20 title. Cut to 2016, once again he delivered against South Africa scoring 43 runs on a tricky Nagpur track in a crucial tie. Whenever the big names have failed, Samuels has stepped up. Samuels’ match awareness will be handy in front of a big crowd against an in-form Indian unit today. This might be Samuels’ last ICC tournament and no wonder he will want to make it memorable.advertisementlast_img read more

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