Cricket: India, England play for bragging rights today

Published: September 23, 2012

England appear upbeat ahead of their match against India, following their victory over minnows Afghanistan on Friday. PHOTO: AFP

After defeating Afghanistan to qualify for the Super Eights, England and India face each other for bragging rights in today’s match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

England captain Stuart Broad was confident about his team’s chances after having won all their warm-ups and the group match against Afghanistan.

“We had some good challenges over the last few weeks,” said Broad. “It’s been a real advantage for us to have a couple of weeks together before this tournament started. We played against South Africa, who are a world-class team. Australia and Pakistan over here (in the warm-up matches) were really good challenges as well.

“We have been performing and competing against top level teams, so it’s not like we are coming against India as our first real challenge in the last few weeks. We do know the dangers they offer. But if we focus on what we did really well today, we can be a challenge for anyone.”

Stars’ poor form a worry for India

Meanwhile, India do not share the same assurance as England about its team’s abilities.

Foremost of the worries plaguing the 2007 T20 champions is the lacklustre performance of openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, and bowler Zaheer Khan. Captain MS Dhoni admitted that the below-par forms of these players are impacting the team.

“It does put a bit of pressure,” said Dhoni. “In this tournament, the system is such that we don’t carry points forward to the next stage. But these players we are talking about are match-winners, who can, on their day, take the game away. So you would like to give them a long rope so that in the knockout stages they really do well and win a few games for us.”

Dhoni confirmed that changes will be made in the team for today’s game against England.

“We are looking at making a few changes to the playing-XI,” he said. “This way most of the 15 players will have had at least one game before the next stage.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012. 

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