The Unacademy Road Safety World Series is nearing the culmination of a jaw-dropping first season. Drama, domination, heartbreak, comebacks, we have witnessed it all. And now, it is time to see who makes the first step into the finalist bracket.
Table-topping India Legends will go up against comeback kings West Indies Legends in the first semifinal here at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur today.
India Legends have made one thing clear right from the start - they're here with deadly instinct and intent. They've been dominant in every game sans the loss against England Legends, and have already established themselves as the favourites for this tie. The batting department is regarded amongst the strongest, with the likes of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar leading the top order. They've got Yuvraj, Yusuf Pathan and Naman Ojha coming right after, and Irfan Pathan and Manpreet Gony come next. It's not a matter of how you get them, it's a matter of if you get them. They bat deep, and they bat hard. Almost every batsman in the teams revels in six-hitting and has a penchant to pick to hit multiple biggies in an over.
The West Indies bowling attack is actually well equipped to deal with the terrifying batting unit they're facing. Suliemann Benn in particular uses his stature to great effect and he can generate some lift on the turn to surprise the batsmen. Tino Best, Adam Sanford and Ryan Austin need to step up their game as well, while Dwayne Smith is also a handy option.
On the other hand, West Indies Legends themselves bat deep. However, they do not have as many hard-hitters as India Legends. Dwayne Smith, Kirk Edwards and Suliemann Benn can hit it high and long and will look to do so in this game as well. Brian Lara and Narsingh Deonarine will be the ones to hold fort and support these big hitters and give them the license to go after the Indian bowling attack.
India Legends have a balanced bowling attack. Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan are the strike bowlers, while Manpreet Gony is an economical pacer with a wicked bouncer. Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and Pragyan Ojha will be looked upon to pick off the batsmen in the middle overs. Vinay Kumar may also come in as a replacement for one of the quicks owing to his own ability with the new ball.
About two weeks ago, this game would've been a no-brainer for most of us. India Legends were in superior form, while the West Indies were reeling at the bottom of the table. But today, the Calypso Kings stand on equal ground. They have been resilient, persistent and determined. India Legends will also be fired up and well-rested but will also be careful. West Indies are an impressive outfit and a win against them demands something special.
A huge semifinal here, so make sure to watch this space.