They have the license to thrill in cash-rich T20 leagues but the likes of Andre Russell will feel “situational pressure” in their World Cup game against India, feels leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
West Indies are all but out of semi-final contention having lost four out of their six games and Russell’s hamstring issues have compounded their problems further.
Chahal, who has had a good World Cup so far with seven wickets from four games at a decent economy rate of 5.45, will be ready to ask questions along with wrist spin partner Kuldeep Yadav, who has given less than five runs per over.
“We would obviously have a plan. He (Russell) is a hard-hitter but we have bowled to him enough,” Chahal replied when asked about the possible gameplan for Russell and the other big-hitters in their line-up.
The wiry leg-spinner, who is ready with his bag of tricks for the June 27 battle, is certain that the Caribbean batsmen will be under severe pressure as they are desperate for a win.
“Playing for your country is very different from playing IPL. The pressure to win games is as much on them as it is on us. Look they are desperate to win. They are also trying to get some form back. So the conditions will be different and so will be the situation,” Chahal had a word of caution for the opposition.
Nursing a hamstring injury, Russell didn’t play in West Indies’ five-run defeat against New Zealand in their last game. However with all his pyrotechnics, the Jamaican marauder may come to the crease when the Windies might be four out for next to nothing and he would need to play as per situation, reckoned Chahal.
“If Russell comes in after four have got out, then he would also be conscious that he would like to play himself in. So we would also be changing our tactics as per game situation,” he said.
The Afghanistan game has been a reassurance for the bowling unit that they can deliver even when the margins are lesser due to a low total.
“This was one occasion when we scored below 230 (224). There would be some negative points that would come up and also a few positive points. When you win these types of games, you are confident that even scores less than 250 can be defended,” he said.
For Chahal, the big positive in a not so impressive batting performance was Kedar Jadhav’s half-century at a time when the pitch was difficult for batting.
“In the first innings, the positive was the manner in which Kedar batted when the pitch was offering turn. At the onset, we had thought of a score of around 270 but they bowled so well, then we readjusted the target in our minds. We were confident even 30 runs less would have done the job,” he sounded assured.
The idea was to test themselves while defending a low total as skipper Virat Kohli had also mentioned. The primary aim for him and Kuldeep Yadav was to bowl as many dot balls as possible during the middle overs.
“From the start, the intent was to keep up the pressure and bowl more dot balls, so that during the final overs, their asking rate should be 6 or 6.5, which at least bring the bowlers back in the game.
“If it’s an asking rate of 4 or 5 per over, and the field is open and the ball is a bit old, it won’t swing. The aim was to increase the dot ball percentage in the first 25 overs. Sometimes you can’t even defend 350 and sometimes, you can defend even 250. It’s all about mindset,” he said.