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Aussies strong, WI have power

Chris Gayle, Brian Lara and their team must enjoy the game and not bother about the result.

Harish Dimote |Cricketnext.com |September 23, 2006, 10:10 PM IST
Aussies strong, WI have power

Mumbai: Few years ago, Steve Waugh had attempted to diagnose why the South Africans choke against Australia. He contended that Hansie Cronje's army did not enjoy the game as much.

When Monica Seles was on the upswing, she held the same about her archrival Steffi Graf. Seles believed that Graf’s devotion lay in winning, not in tennis.

The yoga of sport is to take the field with a clutter-free mind. It can lead to amazing results. West Indies don't have to jog their memories too far.

In the last ICC tournament, Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Browne showed how sound mind and common sense are as critical to the plot as having godsends like Sachin Tendulkar and Brain Lara.

On Friday, Indians had lugged along excess baggage to the park and faltered. Release of burden is a catharsis few sportsmen are capable of.

Winning intensifies sports. True, without the zest to prevail there would be no contest. But when the mind forgets enjoying, and stays muddied by the apprehension of disasters, it loses the capacity of laser-point concentration.

We would love if Lara’s forces tickle their Caribbean flair as they take on Australia in the finals of the DLF Cup.

Play as if they have nothing to lose; not bother about the outcome or fear being hauled over the coals; ask Chris Gayle and Lara to have a blast. Therein lies their best chance.

The middle overs could assume centrality once again. Batting collapses have wrenched all the three sides in the tournament, particularly the West Indies.

Brad Hogg's and Andrew Symonds' spells between the 20th and 35th over have been as crucial to Australia as the all-consuming fire of Brett Lee.

Lara, astute that he is, would not be unmindful of the specks conspicuous in Australia's batting line up.

Only Matthew Hayden and Brad Haddin have had commendable treks with the bat. It is one area Lara would look to exploit.

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West Indies' new-ball slingers Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards have not been special. On the other hand, Dwayne Smith has been virile opening the bowling, and Chris Gayle more than handy in the middle overs.

In all likelihood, Dwayne should open the bowling.

Ricky Ponting and Symonds haven't fired as yet. But Ponting comes onto his own in the big occasions - something that would knit Lara's brows. If West Indies can script early inroads and scalp the big ticket players, who knows?

All in all, it would be foolish if we put it beyond West Indies to pull off a win. Australia would go in as favourites, but if Gayle's eyes smoulder and Lara's concentration summon that gaze of intensity, anything is possible.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
see more