The second semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament in Dhaka promises to be one of the games of the tournament so far. India who won their Super10 group with four wins out of four, and relatively comfortable wins at that, face a South African side which has squeezed through as the runners up in the other pool.
In fact South Africa recorded three very narrow victories to make it to this stage of the competition.
With the pitch in Dhaka likely to once more favour the slower bowlers, India just might have the edge, with their spin trio of Ashwin, Mishra and Jadeja all having been in fine form throughout the tournament so far, and having played a huge role in their team’s comfortable passage to the last four.
However, T20 cricket is notorious for being all about the way that players handle high pressure situations. The Proteas will be hoping that the close finishes in which they have been involved already in the tournament, will stand them in good stead, when they enter the pressure cooker of a semi-final on Friday.
MS Dhoni will have been pleased that his middle order batting had some valuable time in the middle against Australia in their last pool match, as India had won their previous games easily enough to render the middle and lower order redundant to all intents and purposes. But there was never much suspicion that their batting line up was amongst the most powerful in the tournament.
However, the Indian skipper knows that the area that his side really does need to tighten up on, is the fielding, They dropped a number of catches during the pool stage, and similar misses now, might cost them the chance of winning the title for the first time since 2007.
While South Africa haven’t looked as formidable a team as their Indian opponents, what they do have are individual match winners in their ranks. AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn have already effectively won a game each for their country in the current tournament, added to which they have their trump card, the young Pakistan born leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, who might just outsmart the Indian batsmen.