Ind vs Zim preview: Will India steamroll Zimbabwe? Can minnows stage another upset in T20 World Cup

India will need a win to enter the semifinals as the topper from Group 2

G UnnikrishnanUpdated: Saturday, November 05, 2022, 03:03 PM IST
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Melbourne: Usually, the result is a rather forgone conclusion when India takes on Zimbabwe, and often the intensity level matches that general atmosphere of ennui too.

While India are favourites to emerge winner when they face Zimbabwe in the final Super 12 match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday, there is a lot more riding on it than meets the eye.

For beginners, India will need a win to enter the semifinals of the cricket carnival as the topper from Group 2. Currently, they have 6 points from 4 matches.

That might be the primary focus of the match, but India will be wary of the David toppling Goliath trend in this World Cup, and Zimbabwe have contributed by shocking Pakistan.

When veteran off-spinner R Ashwin said taking Zimbabwe lightly could prove unwise, he was just underlining a reality of this World Cup. Un-summer weather, strong winds and balanced pitches have made the contests in this tournament rather unpredictable, and Ashwin did not miss the point either.

Cautious approach

“We can’t take them lightly. Zimbabwe have bowled well and batted well in this tournament. We have seen that the T20 is a format of small margins and we must ensure that we get out there and play at our best to be on the right side of the result.

“None of our wins have come easily whether it is Pakistan or Bangladesh, so we can’t go out there with any different mindset,” said Ashwin.

India might also grapple with the question of giving a break to some front-line players after a hectic phase but they might not be inclined to do so because of the layer of significance around this match.

Having said that, it looked as if wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant may get a look-in on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as he spent some extended time honing his stumping and catching skills during the net session.

Dinesh Karthik may get a break before the knockout games that starts with the semifinals on November 11. Beyond that, there should not be any changes in the 11 for Sunday.

Surprise factor

Zimbabwe too were banking on that surprise factor that helped the greenhorns to subjugate or stretch the seasoned teams in this World Cup.

“This is a great opportunity to bowl against some of the best guys in the world, so there's no reason why guys would not want to get out there and produce the goods.

“How often do you get the opportunity to put Virat Kohli in your pocket? I'm pretty sure that our fast bowlers will be raring to go,” said Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine.

“I think, obviously, with the win against Pakistan, it's given us a huge amount of belief that we can beat any side in the tournament. I don't think that will change going into tomorrow's game,” Ervine added.

So, India is confident but cautious and Zimbabwe is upbeat without being unrealistic. Who will execute their game better on Sunday? We might just be in for a treat.

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