Mirpur: Their sagging morale lifted after a thumping win over Pakistan, Indian spinners will now have to brace up for the ever-dangerous Chris Gayle when the team squares off against defending champions West Indies in their second match of the ICC World Twenty20 here on Sunday.
A victory against Pakistan was just the kind of shot in the arm that was required before facing a team that has world's most devastating T20 batsman in Gayle. While a rampaging Gayle can take away the game at any point of time with his blazing bat, the Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja will definitely pose a few problems for the 'Jamaican Marauder'.
Gayle has minimum footwork as he believes in stand and hit technique. With Ashwin successfully employing a round the wicket technique to bottle up batsman and Mishra inviting him to come out by flighting his deliveries, it will be a challenge for Gayle to devise a counter strategy. (Also read: Sammy hits back at Raina's 'sixes' remark, says stop us if you can)
While spinners will hold the key, Dhoni would also expect that Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami don't bowl length balls to Gayle as it has a chance of consistently landing in the stands.
However, Indian bowlers will also have to deal with an attacking batsman like Dwayne Smith, who has the ability to hit over the in-field consistently during Powerplay overs.
Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels are also capable enough to destroy any bowling attack on their day. While Samuels might take some time to settle down, he can effortlessly shift gears as he had shown some 18 months ago during the last edition's final at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The Indian batsmen had an easy day in office against Pakistan with a smaller target to chase. But both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma would also do well to get a big score under their belt. The two openers got good starts Friday but failed to convert them into big scores.
Dhawan's perennial problem against the short ball was again exposed as Gul got him with a well-directed bouncer. The left-hander's habit of not having proper balance while playing the hook shot has been causing his downfall.
Rohit, on the other hand, had played some fantastic shots including a six over long on off Umar Gul. But as has been his problem, he wasted a good start trying to play a cut shot to a sharp off-break from Saeed Ajmal.
But Dhoni would be pleased with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina's form which has really been good so far. It is now expected that Kohli will perform in crunch situations but Raina's form has been a revelation for India
No one would be happier than skipper Dhoni, who had to cop a lot of flak for persisting with Raina during is prolonged poor patch in one day internationals.
Raina's form has been red hot in the tournament so far as he has scored runs in both the practice games and also played a crucial role during yesterday's match against Pakistan. Scores of 41, 54 and 35 not out will certainly boost Raina's confidence.
That he can also roll his arms over on this slow track at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium is an added advantage. Yuvraj Singh's form in the last match stuck out like sore thumb in what was a good collective team performance.
He bowled one over and was hammered for 13 runs. But the most disappointing aspect was the manner in which he was bowled by unheralded Bilawal Bhatti when he couldn't get his bat down in time.
Yuvraj is certainly a shadow of his old self but can still generate enough spark to singlehandedly torment any opposition. Thousands of Yuvraj fans are certainly eagerly waiting for him to fire as there is no better sight than to watch him bat in full flow.
If one follows Dhoni's pattern of selecting playing XI, one would know that he doesn't believe in changing his playing XI readily. Therefore one can expect Yuvraj to play the whole tournament unless something goes horribly wrong. It also doesn't make sense to select a senior like him and not play him.
It will be interesting as to how Indians will counter Sunil Narine. But it will probably be 'attack is best defence' policy. It was Dhawan who gave Ajmal the charge hitting three boundaries in one over and Mohammed Hafeez had to take him out of the attack.
Ravi Rampaul, Krishmar Santomie, Bravo and Narine make up for a good line up and one can expect an engaging contest between bat and ball.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
Match starts 7pm IST