Colombo, Sep 27: There is still suspense over whether Virender Sehwag will play in Friday's game and also whether India will opt for five bowlers. These two are key questions as India gear up for their first big test in Super Eights of ICC World Twenty20 2012 against Australia here at the R Premadasa Stadium.
India, Australia, Pakistan and South Africa have been drawn together in Group 2 for the Super Eight stage. On paper, all these four sides are very strong. And they all topped their respective groups.
Friday's clash will should be a close one for India. They are likely to rely on spin more to get it past Australia. But the Aussies might be better than England while playing India's slow bowlers.
India have to be wary of "W" factor. David Warner and Shane Watson are in fine form and if they get going, there is trouble for Indian bowlers.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, captain MS Dhoni said he might go in with five bowlers and added it was a tough decision to make on the team combination.
"We would most likely go in with five bowlers but I still don't know what will be the combination. It will be a fresh wicket and we have to take into consideration how it will be before the start of the match," Dhoni said.
"It is one of the toughest decisions I have taken so far. We will have to see what fits the combinations. Just wait and watch. Ultimately the decision we take has to be a good one that benefits the team," he added.
If India are to go in with five bowlers, then Virender Sehwag might have to sit out again. Or else they have to think of dropping some other batsmen. But on current form, Sehwag looks the man to warm the benches.
Dhoni said it was important for India that top-four batsmen score enough runs.
"If you look at the sub-continental tracks, the ball comes onto bat for the first eight overs. Then from 8th-12th, the game slows down as wickets fall. That's why it is important for the top four batsmen of any side to score as many runs as possible till the time the ball comes onto the bat. We have good openers who are fabulous runners between the wickets."
Harbhajan Singh, after that Man-of-the-match performance against England last Sunday, is a certainty in the playing XI. R Ashwin who was rest for that match will also return.
Australia have heavily relied on their top order batsmen to deliver big runs. It will be a test for the middle and lower order if Warner and Watson are dismissed early.
In head-to-head World T20 record between these two sides, it is 1-1. India won the semi-final in 2007 edition while Australia levelled in 2010 in a Super Eight contest in the Caribbean.
It should be an exciting game on Friday and there are no clear favourites.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.
Australia: George Bailey (captain), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Richard Kettleborough (England)
Third umpire: Ian Gould (England)
Fourth umpire: Rod Tucker (Australia)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Match starts at 7.30 PM IST
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