The “Men in Blue” know that they have a tough fight ahead of them to reach the semi-finals.

India’s group in the Super 8s to qualify for the semi-finals is a tricky one. Afghanistan have been playing excellent T20 cricket of late and although they were soundly beaten by hosts West Indies in their last match, they are capable of quickly regrouping and causing headaches in the qualifiers for the semi-final spots. Bangladesh are hot on India’s heels, especially in the white-ball format, and they will surely be motivated for their clash as well, so India know they have an uphill battle ahead of them to make it into the top two in their group.

Australia raise their standard of play when they play India in all formats of the game, aware that India are still hurting after their World Cup final defeat last year and are eager to get revenge. India have played three of their four matches on a minefield in New York and then suffered a defeat in Florida, so their batsmen, apart from Rishabh Pant, have yet to really get going.

Barbados has produced some of the biggest names in cricket history and that should serve as an inspiration for India to show that they too are capable of playing cricket at the highest level. To receive the recognition of the Barbados crowd is like a rare prize. Playing here will also give them an idea of ​​what to expect from the pitch if they reach the final.

It will be a battle between Afghanistan’s spin wizards and India’s batting power. Afghanistan will definitely miss Mujeeb Ur Rahman as he is one of the rare spinners who can bowl well in the PowerPlay. However, with Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad in their ranks, they know they can restrict India to a reasonable score.

India could also look to bring in the left-handed wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav, although they are more likely to go with an unchanged starting XI. The bowling led by Jasprit Bumrah and ably supported by Arshdeep Singh can add bounce to the pitch when it is hard and firm. Hardik Pandya has bowled superbly and used the bouncer to good effect.

Given Suryakumar Yadav’s strong form against the USA, concerns about the midfield formation have largely evaporated, as Shivam Dube also showed a good understanding of the playing position and was willing to bide his time on the unpredictable New York pitch.

It is never easy to predict a T20 match, especially against Afghanistan who have many players who play in the T20 leagues around the world and therefore have quite a lot of experience of different situations. Most importantly, the team that holds its nerve should emerge victorious.

(Professional Management Group)

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