India in a do-or-die battle against England

Updated: 14 June 2009 06:50 IST

Jolted by the defeat against West Indies, India take on an equally desperate England in a do-or-die Super Eight match on Sunday.

India in a do-or-die battle against England

London:

Jolted by the defeat against West Indies, India take on an equally desperate England in a do-or-die Super Eight match here on Sunday, fully aware that a slip-up would all but end their hopes of retaining the World T20 trophy.

The unexpected seven-wicket drubbing at the hands of West Indies has left Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men in a must-win situation in the remaining two matches, the second of which is against title contenders South Africa on June 16.

The road to semifinals seems tough but the Indians can draw inspiration from their campaign in the 2007 edition where they were in a similar situation.

Their backs against the wall after a loss to New Zealand, India bounced back brilliantly to stun top teams like Australia, South Africa and Pakistan and clinch the inaugural title.

Skipper Dhoni is aiming for an encore but it is easier said than done as they have two tough opponents to deal with in the remaining matches.

The Indian top order, sans injured opener Virender Sehwag, collapsed at the Lord's when faced with its first big test against the West Indies after ripping apart the hapless attacks of minnows Bangladesh and Ireland.

Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina would be aiming to make amends for their flop-show on Friday. Dhoni, himself, has not been much of a success with the bat.

England, on the other hand, are also facing a similar do-or-die situation after losing to South Africa in their Super Eight opener.

The hosts had earlier suffered a shocking loss at the hands of The Netherlands in the preliminaries before beating Pakistan in the next game to barely make the Super Eight stage.

But Dhoni is expecting a tough contest from the hosts. "It's going to be an exciting game. They have a good side but I think they will be under pressure because it's home ground for them. Hopefully we would not collapse again and put a big score on the board," Dhoni said.

The batting might have been a let-down on Friday but the bowlers have done well all through with the pace trio of Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan making good use of the seaming conditions here.

Dhoni's opposite number Paul Collingwood acknowledges the enormity of the task ahead but insists that his team has what it takes to upstage India.

"It is not going to be easy against India. We are in a very tough group but we have the guys to win the next few games and win the tournament," he said.

England's over-reliance on Kevin Pietersen has been a concern for a while and Collingwood would be hoping that the likes of Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara also chip in.

The bowling is also fragile with pace spearhead Stuart Broad being inconsistent at best.

Both the teams are in a desperate situation but Dhoni says being under pressure only motivates his side to do well. "This brings the best out of us. We'll be under pressure to perform in the next game but that was the story in the last World Cup", he said.

"After the first (Super Eights) game, every other game was a do-or-die situation for us and we played some of the toughest teams and got through to the finals to win the Cup so it's not like we can't do it again," the Indian skipper said.

Teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar.

England: Paul Collingwood (captain), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, James Foster, Robert Key, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Napier, Kevin Pietersen, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright. Match starts at 10 pm IST.



Topics : Cricket India
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