Rejuvenated on the back of an emphatic victory over Afghanistan, the Virat Kohli-led Indian side will take on Scotland in Dubai on Friday in what will be a do-or-die contest for the Men in Blue.
India looked down and out after the defeat against New Zealand, but a handsome 66-run win over Afghanistan means that they could still realistically qualify for the semis, provided a couple of results go their way. That being said, India would not only have to win their remaining two matches but do so in a domineering fashion. Collecting six points without boosting NRR will not do much good to the Men in Blue’s chances of qualification.
Scotland are yet to pick up a point in the Super 12 stage, but they will enter the contest confident, after having put up a spirited showing against the Kiwis.
Head to Head
Friday will be the first instance of India playing Scotland in a T20 International. The two sides were drawn to play each other in the inaugural World T20 in 2007, but rain played spoilsport and washed out that particular encounter.
India will clash with Scotland at the Dubai International Stadium, and the game is scheduled to be played at night. Something crucial to be noted is that of the six night games played in Dubai in this T20 World Cup, all six have been won by the team chasing.
India have played two night matches in Dubai so far, and they have lost both encounters. And yes, they were put in to bat in those games.
It is a clear win-toss-and-chase wicket, but what will be interesting to see is if India will look to bat first anyway. Remember, NRR is key, and India would be better off putting up a total and restricting Scotland if they are to gain on the net run rate front.
In terms of what type of bowling will be the most effective, the answer undoubtedly is spin. Spinners have boasted an ER of just 6.4 in Dubai, the lowest tally among all venues - even lower than Sharjah. Along the same lines, the pacers have also conceded at 8.1 in Dubai; in no other venue have the quicker bowlers been so expensive.
Expect early swing on offer for the pacers, but it will be spin that will eventually prove to be king.
The team we've picked has a good mix of world-class batters and bowlers. But remember, while you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
KL Rahul did not quite get going in the first two games, but against Afghanistan, the generational batter was at his sublime best. Rahul flayed the Afghanistan bowlers to post his first fifty of the tournament and batted with the kind of freedom and intent that puts the fear of god into the bowlers. With the right-hander having rediscovered his mojo, it is a no-brainer to appoint him the captain of your fantasy side.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Rahul to score between 29-43 runs in Friday’s encounter.
Ravichandran Ashwin made his comeback to T20I cricket after four years, against Afghanistan, and the veteran was sensational in his first game back. Ashwin not only picked two wickets, but also conceded just 14 off the 4 overs he bowled. And the performance was not surprising really, for he was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the warm-up games.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Ashwin to take 1-2 wickets
Rohit Sharma, like his partner Rahul, went into the Afghanistan clash under severe pressure, but he too brought out his best with his back against the wall. Rohit took just 47 balls to score 74, and was rightly named the Man of the Match for his match-winning contribution. He should definitely enjoy the medium-pace that Scotland have to offer, particularly on a wicket like Dubai.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Rohit to score between 25-37 runs
With 123 runs to his name, Richie Berrington is the second-highest run-getter in this World Cup for Scotland, and he’s looked good in almost every match he’s played. The most technically-correct batsman in the Scottish side, Berrington is almost due for a big one, having not quite contributed as he would have liked, since the match-winning showings against Oman and PNG.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Berrington to score between 16-24 runs
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Scotland: George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (c), Matthew Cross (wk), Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans, Bradley Wheal