Dhoni brigade aim to halt Pakistan's run

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Dhaka: Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Team India has virtually captured every frontier in the recent past including the mighty Australia and aim to continue the good run while arch-rival Pakistan is eager to extend its 12-match winning streak when the two sides lock horns in the second match of the tri-series here on Tuesday.

Pakistan drubbed minnows Bangladesh by 70 runs here on Sunday and its coach Geoff Lawson believes his team is capable of forcing India to surrender and that too by a bigger margin.

However, Lawson's Indian counterpart Gary Kirsten says his team is confident and its good run will continue the way it has in the recent past.

Pakistan team, which is on a roll after winning 12 successive matches has its tails up. Its winning spree which started against India was followed by 11 wins but all of them came against minnows Bangladesh (6) and Zimbabwe (5).

Dhoni's boys are raring to go and keen to settle scores despite the fact that energy-sapping marathon 44-day IPL Twenty20 event did not allowed them any breathing space before the tri-series here.

Lawson believes his side will look to play their natural game and will not allow pressure to affect his players' performance.

''We do not want to treat the match as a must-win one and put ourselves under pressure. We want to play our own game,'' Lawson said about the match, a win in which would assure Pak a place in the finals.

However, he did not reveal his team's strategy which would obviously change drastically against India in comparison to the whipping boys of the event Bangla.

''I would prefer to discuss strategies against India with my players rather than telling the media. I would like to score a 150-run win over India 'morrow,'' he said.

While Pakistani players were a sure shot flop in the recently concluded IPL, Sohail Tanvir stood out with his exceptional bowling efforts in the tournament and emerged the highest wicket-taker. His team would look up to him to provide some early wickets.

In his side's victory against Bangladesh, Lawson was particularly pleased with an out-of-form Shahid Afridi's all-round effort. Afridi scored 20 runs off 17 balls and was spinning the bowl a great deal as he picked up three wickets in his eight overs conceding a mere 19 runs.

''He is obviously an experienced player. Every team has its own targets and they do have their strategies against rival teams,'' he said.

Meanwhile, India have already played some competitive and tough cricket thro' the last summer but with Kirsten as coach and Dhoni as captain would not be complacent against Pakistan who have played some good amount of cricket but with some lowely ranked teams.

Kirsten said shifting from the Twenty20 mode to One-day cricket would not be a difficult task for his boys and added that their strategies are ready for Tuesday's encounter.

''It is something we have given some considerations and thoughts too. We need to make sure that our gameplan and strategies are designed for 50-over cricket. It is different to what they did in IPL. So, we worked hard during the last two days to get things right.''

After finishing their IPL assignments, Indian team did not get a huge break but Kirten said his boys hdo not complain about it. He further added that too much of cricket could be a blessing in disguise for young and upcoming players.

''It is important in our long-term plan that we have a group of 15 to 20 players equally good enough to play for India, because we have got to give enough rest to the players. I have been thinking very carefully about how we do that,'' he said.

S Sreesanth's replacement Manpreet Gony could well get a nod while Yusuf Pathan, a revelation for India in the IPL, is also set to make his debut.

With South West mansoon gathering the steady strength weather could well play a spoilsport here.

Teams (Probables):

India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma.

Pakistan: Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal (wk), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik (capt), Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Fawad Alam, Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul.


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