India, Australia to lock horns

It's the big one on Saturday, as India and Australia lock horns in the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup in Durban.

updated: September 22, 2007 16:22 IST
  • Total Shares


It's the big one on Saturday, as India and Australia lock horns in the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup in Durban.

For India, the fitness of two key players Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is of great concern.

While Dhoni is expected to be fully fit Yuvraj will undergo a fitness test in the morning. India, who had played just one game coming into this tournament, have surprised the bookies and ripped the formbook, eliminating hosts South Africa in the Super Eights.

But they will know that their toughest test is yet to come.

Dhoni's boys have topped their group when no one expected them to, and are now being considered a force to reckon with.

"The youngsters are playing good, gutsy cricket. I think if they carry on playing the way they have, they have got a good chance," said Graeme Smith, Captain, SA Twenty20 team.

Their demolition of the Lankans notwithstanding, what should worry the Indians is the imposing form of the tournament's top-scorer Matthew Hayden and that of the highest wicket-taker so far Stuart Clark.

But as the old clich goes, youth knows no fear, and Dhoni's young side will certainly not carry the baggage of history, which tells us that India have always struggled to beat Australia in World Cups, especially in crucial encounters.

"We don't fear anybody. We're here to play some good cricket. Win or lose - it all depends on how we play on the day. Obviously we are not just going to look at them as a world champion team, we'll just perform as best as we can," said Irfan Pathan, Member, Indian Twenty20 team.

What should work to India's advantage is the familiarity with the conditions at Kingsmead, where they've played three games so far, compared to none for the Aussies.

"Well the bowlers have been dominating here. Not been the same high scores as Joburg or Cape Town. So whoever bowls first will have a chance to make an instant impact on the game, and whoever bowls second will also see the ball zipping around. So I guess it's a different way of playing the game. Something we will need to get on top of, tomorrow," said Tim Nielsen, Coach, Australian Twenty20 team.

The biggest concern for India will be how fit their two stalwarts Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are, for this encounter.

But cricket fans across the globe can certainly look forward to an epic clash between youth and experience, as an exciting tournament moves towards its climax.