Chennai, March 20: It goes without saying that this World Cup, Team India is enjoying the luxury of home advantage, with riotous crowds egging them on, with pulsating cheers meeting every run the batsman take and every wicket the bowlers ensnare, and an atmosphere imbued in palpable national pride.
But the stadiums at which each of India's scheduled encounters in the global event will unfold at, hold a certain significance. No, they are more than just the proverbial lucky charm. They carry a history which largely favours the Indian side. Indeed, India has won more matches than it has lost in 3 out of the 5 grounds they will be playing at in the World Cup 2011. And in the other two, they have recorded as many victories as defeats. Such a statistic only augments India's home "advantage", rendering it an aura of near invicibility.
The M A Chidambaram Stadium or "Chepauk" is where India will be facing the West Indies in the final group game of the World Cup 2011. India has a 50-50 chance of pulling off a victory here as they have won three matches on this ground in the past and lost an equal number. Oddly enough the losses came 10 years apart - Australia winning in 1987, Pakistan in 1997 and the West Indies in 2007! Indicidentally, India's most notorious loss here came in the 1987 World Cup when the home side went down to the Aussies by 1 run with Steve Waugh bowling Maninder Singh in the final over.
But India has recently romped home to an emphatic victory at this very stadium, crushing New Zealand in Dec last year by 8 wickets with 173 balls to spare. In that match, India bowled out the Kiwis for a shockingly low 103 in 27 overs, and after losing Gautam Gambhir for a duck and Virat Kohli for 2, saw Yuvraj Singh (42*) and Parthiv Patel (56*) chase down the total with ease.
Hopefully, India will beat the odds at Chepauk and come out on top of the West Indies. It would be nice to consolidate their position at No. 2 in Group B and end the group stages on a winning note against a top-class team. The Windies who are perhaps still smarting from their narrow defeat by England in Thursday's match, will also be eying the second place and scheming and plotting to usurp it when it meets India on Sunday, March 20. It will be India's job to stop them in their tracks.