This year’s Holi falls on 6th March 2015 and is set to be one of the most colourful festivals ever. The reason for the same is just not the divine festivities but also India’s scheduled world cup clash with long time arch rivals West Indies. The roads will sport a colourful but deserted look at 12 in the afternoon as all eyes will be glued to the TV screen, when both team walk in to the arena to square off in the highly anticipated encounter.
India has emerged as an unlikely favourite to make it to the world cup semifinals and is looking good to retain the title as well. After comprehensively beating a listless Pakistan and a dominant South Africa, India has rightly taken its place at the helm of its group. In its third match on Saturday, the Men in Blue mauled and routed the minnows UAE. It was a yet another successful outing for Dhoni’s men as UAE came a cropper in all departments, namely, batting, fielding and bowling. Indian bowlers bowled out the clueless UAE batting attack for a meager 102 runs. Every bowler impressed, especially R Ashwin, who took his first four wicket haul ever. And when the Indian batsmen went out to bat, UAE knew that it had no chance in hell of pulling out a miraculous upset. Unbeaten in the tournament thus far, India look good to retain the top spot in their table and thus avoiding the dangerous New Zealand in the semifinal.
West Indies on the other hand looked a rejuvenated unit after its match against Zimbabwe. The mighty Godzilla of cricket, Chris Gayle, came back to form and the team was expected to give South Africa a hard run for their money but ended up failing miserably and well short of its desired performance. Its bowlers were constantly smacked out of the park, catches were frequently dropped, runs were leaked in the outfield and its batsmen failed to fathom the Proteas bowling attack.
If West Indies wants to make it to the knockout stage and beat India in the much awaited match-up then Chris Gayle will definitely have to stand and deliver. Other batsmen will have to work around him and not fall like a house of cards. The bowlers will have to bowl a consistent line and length, in the right areas and the fielding will have to provide ample support as well. It is a do or die game for the Windies and if they go down without a fight then it would be a darn shame.
India has peaked at the correct time and is doing everything right at the moment. The men in blue should just stick to the basics and the rest should be automatically taken care of. The only dilemma in Dhoni’s mind would be whether to play Bhuvneshwar Kumar or not. The bowler has posed many troubling questions to Chris Gayle in the past and tends to get him caught behind early in the innings. But his fitness is still highly questionable and other seamers have done extremely well for themselves and the team. So how Dhoni counters Gayle and which seamers he plays will be interesting to see. India can’t afford to take the Windies lightly as on their day they are very much capable of destroying the opposition. Also a loss will derail their title defense and will be a huge setback for their growing stature and confidence.
The match is expected to be a nail biter and we all will be obviously hoping and praying for an Indian victory. Fingers are crossed and the countdown has begun in anticipation of Holi and India’s clash with the unpredictable and dangerous West Indies.