T20 World Cup 2024: Repressed India ready to unleash full wrath in Super 8

If 130 seemed like gold in New York, then a more IPL-style total can be expected in the West Indies. Openers Rohit Sharma and Kohli can bat with freedom in the PowerPlay, and gain maximum reward for their shots.

Updated - June 18, 2024 09:29 pm IST

Published - June 18, 2024 03:58 pm IST - Bridgetown (Barbados)

Captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of the Super 8 match against Afghanistan, in Barbados.

Captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of the Super 8 match against Afghanistan, in Barbados. | Photo Credit: ANI

For the Indian batters, the USA leg of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was a rough ride. Runs did not come easy at New York, as the seamers exploited favourable conditions to the hilt.

Having made it out safely to the West Indies for the Super 8 stage, it is now finally smooth sailing. Smiles were present all around as the players warmed up with light fielding routines at the Kensington Oval. Virat Kohli was all laughs as he showed his football skills to his mates.

A short huddle was followed by a fielding session. The players perhaps wanted a feel of the outfield after heavy rains lashed the city the previous night.

Kohli went in to bat at nets, and the throwdown specialists offered him a few full balls. Crisp drives, and Kohli was on his way. The former captain will feel that he is due to escape a horror run.

At the Kensington Oval, the site of India’s first Super 8 game against Afghanistan, stroke-making is considerably easier. The last match held here, between Australia and England around 10 days ago, was a high-scorer. Australia breached the 200-mark - unthinkable in New York - while England responded with 165 for six. These will seem like joyous numbers for India, which could only manage scores of 97/2, 119, 111/3 in its Group-A matches.

Even better tidings await at Antigua, where India will face Bangladesh on Saturday. The city has been affected by rain, but when play has been held, the big hits and bold swings have come thick and fast. England and Australia have had a great time of it in Antigua, taking apart the minnows ruthlessly.

The Indian team will now have to rethink the par-score. If 130 seemed like gold in New York, then a more IPL-style total can be expected in the West Indies. Openers Rohit Sharma and Kohli can bat with freedom in the PowerPlay, and gain maximum reward for their shots.

This was not the case earlier, when Kohli fell flat when trying to force the pace. Rishabh Pant needs no second invitation to take on the bowlers. He can come good in any part of the world.

The spinners will have a bigger role to play in the Caribbean. Axar Patel kept it tight in the group stage, but Ravindra Jadeja found it hard to extract any purchase. If Jadeja stays in the XI against Afghanistan, expect the southpaw to give the ball a fair rip. The Indian team, restrained thus far, can now go full tilt.

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