With the line-up for the semi-finals already decided, the the teams gear up for the final match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12 stage.
New Zealand’s win against Afghanistan on Sunday meant that India will be knocked out of the tournament, even if they win big in their final match against Namibia.
It is a disappointing finish for one of the pre-tournament favourites. With their coach Ravi Shastri set to retire after the tournament, and Virat Kohli stepping down as T20I captain, they were keen to end an era with a trophy, but it wasn’t to be.
The Kohli-Shastri combination take pride in having built a strong culture for the Indian team, and those values will be tested when they come up against Namibia, knowing that their tournament is over. They, like Namibia, will have to battle mental fatigue from months on the road and living in bubble life for one final push.
While the stakes are low for India, for Namibia it is a treasured opportunity to learn by playing against some of the best and finish the tournament on a high.
“We came here with the expectations, but I think we exceeded that,” said Pierre de Bruyn, the Namibia coach. “The Super 12 for us, it’s been an amazing experience.
“We really want to compete, and I think we’ve done ourselves proud the way we’ve conducted ourselves on the field. Starting with that first win against Scotland and then Afghanistan and then our best match was definitely against Pakistan.
“Facing the best in the world at times can be overwhelming. And it’s all about staying composed. And this team, especially with the ball, has shown that they are willing to wrestle.
“The learnings for us is something that we are going to treasure that. We’re going to hold on very hard to that because those lessons, good or bad, they are going to make you a better team and they’re going to make you a better player.”
- The match: India v Namibia, Match 42
- Time: 6.00pm, Monday 8 November
- Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
Since their qualification hopes have ended, India might rest some of their key players, who have had a busy few months on the road.
Possible India XI: KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli (capt), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar
Namibia, who will be keen to make a final statement in the tournament, could bring back Jan Frylinck. Their focus will be on bowling better at the death.
Probable XI: Stephan Baard, Michael van Lingen, Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (capt), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Zane Green (wk), Karl Birkenstock/Jan Frylinck, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
KL Rahul: As India look to the future, the stylish opener will have a big role to play. He’s coming off two excellent innings against Afghanistan and Scotland, including an 18-ball fifty.
Ruben Trumpelmann: The left-arm pacer has been a star for Namibia this tournament. His left-arm angle could ask some questions of the Indian batting, who have struggled against that kind of bowling early in the tournament. The match might also be a chance for him to audition for franchise cricket.
While the match will not affect the semi-final line-up, a win will confirm third place on the group for India, while Namibia can go up to four points with a win.
What they said
Stephan Baard, Namibia batter: “That’s the big one (India). It’s a big group and every game is a big game, but to finish off with the India team? It’s something to look forward to. It’s something that a couple of months ago, you didn’t even think about, so yes, we’re looking forward to that one … It’s been absolutely massive. We’ve enjoyed every single minute of it. We want to compete, we’re here to compete, but in the same sense, we want to learn as much as possible. We want to see what these guys do on and off the field and up until this point, it’s been surreal.”
Bharat Arun, India bowling coach: “Obviously we are a very good side. We were the tournament favourites when we did start. But it was most unfortunate that we lost the first two games. And that put us in a very precarious situation that we are in today … But again, in sport, sport is all about ups and downs, and you need to accept and move on.”
(Source and courtesy: https://www.t20worldcup.com/)