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India eye Super Eight berth in clash against USA

1 month ago 383

Game against co-hosts offers Rohit Sharma's team chance to smooth out some rough edges
NEW YORK: The difficult part has been dealt with. India's first hurdle - qualification to the Super8s - looks like a formality now.
The win against

Pakistan

on Sunday at the

Nassau County ground

underlined the depth that this Indian team has, and on paper, the Wednesday game against minnows USA shouldn't be a matter of concern.
T20 WORLD CUP: SCHEDULE | POINTS TABLE
But is it that straight-forward? There's a little bit more to this United States team that we knew of. It's a group built around players who might have dreamt that one day they would play for India. For the likes of

Saurabh Netrawalkar

, Monank Patel, Nitish Kumar or Harmeet Singh, their primary goal might not have been successful. But the land of opportunities has given them a second chance and it seems all of them are determined to make the most of it.

A USA victory against Pakistan in Dallas a few days ago was one of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far and now there's suddenly a bit more in the offing. When the tournament started, they wouldn't have given themselves a chance to make the Super-8s, but now it is a realistic possibility. Two more points will help them seal that trip to West Indies, but for a team that is not used to winning, the fear of the finish line sometimes becomes the biggest impediment.

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Against India though, they're not supposed to win and that should unshackle them just a little bit. Add to that the pitch at the Nassau County ground, where anything is possible.
After the low-scoring rollercoaster that was the India-Pakistan game, the drop-in pitch at the new venue made Bangladesh on Monday appear way more threatening against South Africa than they would have seemed in flatter conditions, even though the Proteas were finally able to deal with the challenge.

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For the likes of USA pacers Ali Khan, a former Kolkata Knight Riders player,

Nosthush Kenjige

or Netravalkar, winning the toss may open up a great chance to test the Indian greats.
USA's biggest test will come if the toss goes against them. The Indian pace quartet - led by the magnificent

Jasprit Bumrah

- has too much variety and quality in its arsenal for the hosts, especially on a helpful pitch. "USA looked very well-organised and the way they stood up to that Pakistan attack in Dallas, one of the best bowling units at the World Cup, you have to give them huge kudos. They will now look to cash in on this result and they can absolutely reach the Super 8s," former West Indian opener Chris Gayle wrote in his column for ICC.

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But all this talk around the USA shouldn't really worry the Indian team, who took a deserved break on Monday and turned up for an optional training session on match eve. The team would ideally prefer Virat Kohli and Shivam Dube to hit a bit of form. While Kohli has batted in both games so far at the most difficult times and the practice sessions suggest that it is a matter of time before he comes good, time might be running out for Dube.
India have come here with certain plans and now that the Pakistan game is out of the way, skipper Rohit Sharma's aim will be to fine-tune those rough edges so that the machine runs smoothly when it matters most.

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